Memories

31 Mar

Some people have the genes and physical constitution to see 100 years of age without health and memory issues. I had a great uncle who at age 104 was hit by a car as he made his 1 mile walk to the store to buy his daily beer. I honestly don’t remember how sharp he was about other things but he did live on his own until that point. Other people are not in that same group. My mother had diabetes but died from complications from Alzheimer’s in her late 80’s. The Alzheimer’s took her long before her death.

Eighteen months after suffering his third stroke,  my husband Harry was given an MMSE evaluation today. I thought I was prepared for what I knew the exam would show but seeing it on the paperwork the doctor provided still hit hard. “Dementia, unspecified, without behavior disturbance.” Watching him unable to answer so many of the questions, broke my heart. Some were items he has struggled with since the stroke like the name of our city or street. We have joked about that one with me asking for his wallet when we were out of town so he wouldn’t be able to follow me home. It is not a funny joke but just a way to deal with the reality.  We made similar jokes well before the 1st stroke so I’m not being mean.

I knew he had difficulty repeating four things in a series but he could not do three today. He could repeat the objects one at a time but not but the three together.  He didn’t get frustrated during the test (that behavioral disturbance item) but did turn to me looking for repeats on the questions and/or the answers. I realized how much he depends on me to help him that way. I don’t know if that is good or bad but at least he is able to often share what he is thinking.  I know the man I married is still in there somewhere. Between the difficulty he has getting words out and now the memory loss, it is getting much harder to communicate. Hopefully we can still find bad jokes to help us smile. That seems very important right now.

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2 Responses to “Memories”

  1. Janice Clark March 31, 2015 at 5:45 PM #

    You and Harry have my sympathy. I went through the final stages with my mom, and it was a painful experience. My brother and I often made jokes behind her back, not, as you say, to be mean, but because it was a coping mechanism. Humor helps.

    • compterteach March 31, 2015 at 6:13 PM #

      Thank you. I know I’m not alone but it is still hard and will get harder I’m sure. One day at a time, right?

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