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Friday, February 1, 2013

Searching for WHY February 1, 2013

In my reading about Alzheimer's disease and about caregiving, I and others are searching for ways to help-- to manage symptoms, to improve quality of life, to offer support and encouragement. We offer assistance with the "how" of life.We don't offer medical advice and we leave it to the scientists to fugure out why Alzheimer's disease begins, why it destroys brain cells that control memory, decision-making,sense of time and direction in space as well as changes in personality.

As I watch the process unfold in my husband, I am generally more amazed at what memory he retains and how his formerly sweet self turned into an angry fearful agitated person and has now returned to this polite, loving man he used to be.

I see that my husband's language skills have gone; he can no longer respond to a question or carry on a conversation, but he can articulate clearly a sentence that is important to him. He asks for food and can say he would like an apple, for example. He can choose between a cup of coffee and a glass of milk. He tells clearly when he doesn't like something or wants "to get out of here."

But yesterday, my scientist-husband surprised me again. He sat me down on his bed next to him and said, "I know why I am here. I am a soldier and this is a facility that treats soldiers. That's why we cannot get out of here."

In amongst all those plaques and tangles still remains a part of Bob that thinks like the scientist who is always trying to understand "why."

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