November 03, 2012

The "Long Good-bye"

That's what they call Alzheimer's/dementia.  And...I have to say that it's a true statement.

I shared with you back in September the 90th birthday party that our family held in my grandma's honor.  She had a fabulous time!  While she's had dementia/Alzheimer's (it's so hard to give an absolute diagnosis - the symptoms of many types of dementia are the same/similar) for over five years, we've been so blessed that she stayed lucid and "with it" for so long.  We got some great pictures of her and she got to celebrate her birthday in a way that she's been looking forward to for YEARS!

No one knows for sure what triggered it, but we are rapidly descending into her living in her own little world. The past week and a half have provided my aunt and my mom with two trips to the ER with her following extended periods of delusions, agitation and sleeplessness.  Seriously...when I went on "duty" Thursday at noon, she hadn't slept in over 30 hours.  She and I had an afternoon of talking to kids, her husband, and seeing rain/snow in the house and seeing the house on fire.  This prompted our most recent trip to the ER as her delusions became progressively less than benign.

As much as I hate to see her this way - I'm so grateful that she has no idea that she has Alzheimer's.  I'm pretty sure she thinks she's in the hospital for leg pain.  I also take great peace in knowing that while she doesn't always recognize me - she knows that I'm family (I've been her mom, her aunt, and her daughter) and lets me feed her, shift her for the nurses, etc.  Other than a birthday party this weekend, I'll be by her side.

While I know that the doctors are advising my mom and aunt based on my grandma's medical needs - the emotional side of me HATES that she's going to have to go in a nursing home when she's released from the hospital!  It breaks my heart.  (The rational side of me knows that she's a fall risk, a flight risk and needs 24/7 supervision.) She's my last grandparent and we are really close.  It may sound dumb, but I really miss our inside jokes...

OK.  End of pity party.  I just needed to get that out!  I'll be a happier person tomorrow.



  1. My nan is in the very early stages of dementia where she kinda just spaces out. I hope she can stay there for awhile.

    I'm so sorry to hear this about your gram and I'll be praying for you and your fam.

  2. Its ok to be sad about losing your loved one - even if its just mentally. Your in my thoughts!

  3. Oh Cole, I'm so sorry to hear your Grandma is going to a nursing home. It was rough having to visit my grandparents in the nursing home the first few times, but it really was what was best for them. Sounds like she's okay in her own little world, and knows you love her.

  4. I can't imagine. We've been through similar things, but it's been a while. Thinking of your family!

  5. So sorry! Dementia is such a terrible disease and I feel so bad for the people and their families. It will be a good choice to place her someplace where she will be safe. Your family is making a good choice.

  6. I'm sorry to hear about this :( I've never had to deal with this personally but I can only imagine how you are feeling about all of it. Stay strong, girl. Even if she doesn't always remember you, something inside is telling her that it's okay to let you in and love you. And she's probably so grateful for you even if she can't express it :)

  7. Sweetheart I feel for you. My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimers probably 10 years ago now. We have been lucky that her decline has been very slow. It started out as mostly repeating the same questions, it is getting more intense because she gets upset over little things. It really breaks my heart because she's no longer the person she used to be. I can still remember how affected I was as a kid when my great-grandmother didn't remember me and we had been super close. I know that day isn't far away with my grandmother now and it breaks my heart. Now I just try to remember the good times together and I always remember that someday she will be in heaven and she will remember everything as it was before and her memory will be complete and whole.

  8. I'm so sorry, friend. I can't imagine what that's like as I've never had a family member with that diagnosis. You're an amazing granddaughter for staying by her side and even if she doesn't know exactly who you are, I'm sure she knows that you're someone who loves her a lot! :) I'm here whenever you need to talk, don't forget that. xoxo

  9. I'm so sorry :(. I lost my great grandma in May of last year, and she went from knowing who I was, to thinking I was my Mom, to thinking I was her daughter to thinking I was a robber :( Hugs to you!

  10. i'm so sorry. sending you and your grandma my thoughts and prayers!


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