Monday, April 09, 2012

Lots to Say

This post is going to be long and it is going to jump around a lot, so hang in there with me. I've been making notes about some of the things I wanted to write about and the topics are all over the place. I can't come up with a way to string them all together, so I'll try to at least group my thoughts. This is one of those instances where I can't get everything to flow smoothly in my brain, so I'm doing the best I can today. Most of the time I just put it off because I can't get it to come out like I want -- but this time I'm going for it!

I've been to two funerals in the past three weeks. Both lives cut way too short. The services were unique in their own way. But both services brought home to me that there is never enough time to be with your family and friends. One minister said "Death ends a life, not a relationship". But when I think of Alzheimer's I think just the opposite -- Alzheimer's ends a relationship, not a life. As the disease progresses it is harder and harder to have a "normal" relationship with those you love. It's constantly changing and much sooner than you would like -- the relationship becomes one sided with those afflicted inching away. I guess that is why I've always said "I have the easy part".

The last funeral I attened was for a friend that had a terminal illness and knew she was dying. She had given her pastor instructions on what she wanted her memorial service to be like -- the hymns to be sung, the prayers to be said. As I was sitting there I couldn't help but think of my own family. We've talked about what we want to happen to us when we die but never about any type of service. After this particular service I was laughing with some friends about the fact that when I die no one will probably know. They asked me why and I told them that these days it costs money to put an obituary in the paper and anyone who knows my husband knows that he would never spend money like that! So, I've told them if they don't hear from me one way or another for a month or so they might want to check! In all seriousness, I'm going to give it some thought and try to steer my family in the right direction anyway. We've given a lot of other things thought. We've gotten all of our legal "stuff" worked out. And, as bad as this may sound to you, I've even selected photos and items I would like to have in my room if and when the time comes to place me in a home. I have to believe that if some things are important to me now that they will be then. Although I won't be able to communicate it.

Friends -- I've talked a lot about firends and alzheimr's. How it was difficult for some of my friends after I was first diagnosed. Many just walked away. Some have retured and others have not. That's o.k. I'm meeting new friends and at this stage of my life I'm kind of surprised by that. You usully think of friends as being those life long friends from elementary, high school or college. But since I've been out of school for so long and live far away from my home town, I suppose its only right that my friends are somewhat local and easy to find time to visit with. My new friends intrigue me because some are much younger and some I have met by happenstance.

It saddens me that several of my friendships I thought were pretty solid have gone by the wayside. I've tried to reach out to them on numerous occasions with no response. I would really like to know what happeneed. If I did something wrong I want to apologize even if the friendship is beyond repair. I want to know because I don't want to make the same mistake with others. It's o.k. if they don't want to be friends any longer -- I'd just like to know why. The thing that probably gets to me the most is I didn't see it coming. Sometimes you do. Sometimes you just drift apart. I didn't realize there was a problem with these friends. I hope some day I'll know and I hope in some way some of these people will work themselves back into my life -- before I can't remember them.

Major meltdown -- A few weeks ago I was out at our local Target store. I hadn't been in there for awhile and it looked as if they were in the middle of a makeover. At first it didn't bother me, but after about fifteen minutes in the store and a cart half full -- I started to panic. I didn't know where things were, everything looked different and I just got disoriented. I literally froze in place. I knew I needed some help. My husband was out playing tennis so I couldn't call him. I checked my phone for my one number dialing and everyone on there didn't live in Athens (I have since changed my dialing numbers). Finally someone who knew me walked by and realized I was having some problems. I just needed to get out of the building and she helped me. I haven't been back since. After telling this story to several people they all asked me the same thing. When you are traveling and go into a store that is unfamiliar to you how does that affect you? My answer probably doesn't make a lot of sense to them -- but usually I am with someone and I'm not expecting merchandise to be in a certain place or on a certain shelf. The things that catch me off guard seems to be a trigger point for me.

Money -- You would think by now I would just stop trying to make change. But every now and then I try to test myself on it -- it's simple right? A few days ago I was buying something and it came to a total of $26.10. It took me awhile to get the $26 counted out. I was so proud of myself. Then came the $.10. Although I could hear the clerk tell me I was ten cents short, I couldn't physically take the dime out of my wallet. I knew what I was suppose to do -- but the whole process couldn't make it from my brain to my fingers. This is just so frustrating -- I need to just stop testing myself. By the way -- I asked the clerk if he minded just taking the dime out of my wallet. Yes, he looked at me pretty strange and he did it....but hey....welcome to my world.


Anonymous said...

Great blog. Keep testing yourself and using your brain as much as you can. You are an inspiration to those with Alzheimer's.

Samantha Inng said...

This is a great post.

The point you make about Alzheimer's ending not only a life but a relationship really strikes at the core of what most families face with Alzheimer's Disease.

Unknown said...

Kris you are in my thoughts every day. Keep keeping on! We need to meet for coffee..Bill

Carol Baird said...

I want you to know that I will always be your friend, even when you don't remember me. We'll just keep getting reacquainted over and over again. I treasure the gift of your friendship and it has enriched my life. Benol enchist

cedrict said...

Kris, you are a inspiration. I am a caregiver for my father who has had this disease for 15 years.Even though he doesn't speak, my relationship still remain strong.