Alzheimer’s Patients Can Fool Us!
In the very earliest stages, our loved one can really fool us. They are so normal in so many ways we don’t realize the subtle changes. Looking back, although I didn’t really think about it at the time, Karen changed her behavior in very small ways.
For example, she gradually stopped cooking. I think she had a hard time selecting the right ingredients. We started eating out a lot — not fancy places — just quick food restaurants like Taco Bell, MdDonald’s and Village Inn, — places like that. Also, Karen got to where she would not order her own food. She would always say “I just have what you’re having” or “why don’t we just share”.
One of her favorite expressions became “I may have told you this before ….”. I’m sure she realized she may be repeating a statement or question. I have been told the more intelligent a person is the more creative they can be in concealing their forgetfulness.
In her book, UNTANGLING ALZHEIMER’S: THE GUIDE FOR FAMILIES AND PROFESSIONALS (A Conversation in Caregiving) by Tam Cummings, PhD, Gerontologist), Dr. Cummings states that the brain is – “an organ whose estimated 100 billion brain cells perform trillions of activities each nanosecond.” The brain’s complexity helps explain why the disease of dementia can take so long to be noticed. Even losing a few hundred thousand brain cells a day wouldn’t be noticed!!
If it’s any consolation, I’m not sure our loved ones realize a change is taking place, at least I hope not! On only three occasions did Karen mention her concerns. Once with our daughter, Robin, when she said, “I don’t want to be a burden to you and your dad!” after Robin wrote a note to help her remember where to meet me. On another occasion, she started crying and said to me, “Why don’t I know things!” When the Doctor at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ told us Karen had Alzheimer’s, Karen started crying. Even now, with her in the Seventh Stage, we try to be careful what we say around her because I’m not sure what will ‘get through’ and she will understand. Remember, our loved ones cannot change, only we can change!!