I would be lying if I said the past week and a half were a breeze and wonderful. As I mentioned in my update post last week, my family is going through really trying times with my grandpa, who, in the past month, has developed full-blown, severe Alzheimer's. He requires 24/7 family support, and gets really angry and aggressive when people he doesn't know are around. Because of the stroke he had a few weeks back (and many since), he's unable to do a lot of things, so needs quite a bit of help.
My husband and I spent Thursday night with him. We arrived at the care center at 8:00pm and left the following morning at 9:00am. During that time, my grandpa needed to be comforted or moved every five to twenty seconds. He'd forget that he'd just asked to be moved, and would get uncomfortable. Incidentally, I got two twenty-minute naps, and my husband an hour. Of course, I got really sick over the weekend, and am still trying to get over whatever it is I caught. But seeing my grandpa like that was really difficult. Even just two months ago, he was still walking five miles a day. He's turning 93 this year.
The poor guy recognized how much stress he was causing. He kept apologizing and saying how terrible of a man he was. I told him over and over that we love him and this wasn't a choice of his. That helped. To keep his mind off things, I asked lots of questions. "Grandpa, you were on a troop transport in the Navy, right?" "Yes. Yes, I was." "How did that go?" "Well, we couldn't be on deck most days because the Japanese subs and planes would see us." Then he'd enter his story telling world. After ten or so minutes, he'd get frustrated because he couldn't sleep, and back to the questioning I'd go. "Grandpa, you were on a troop transport, right?"
Anyway. There are other things going on in my life, but I'll wait to mention them. My emotions are shot.
The doctor has given him two weeks to a month. He said my grandpa might even live up to six months, but it's very unlikely. He's in such a state where he isn't sleeping at all, he's not eating, and is so confused and aggressive that they can't really do anything for him. The doctor said that what usually happens in cases this severe, is they'll give the individual medications to help them calm down, and when they get the much needed rest, they stop fighting and slip away.
We're praying whichever way he leaves us will be peaceful for him.
Many, many thanks to you all for your support and love. I've felt a great deal of it over the past while. And thanks to Len for handling the queue last Friday, and Connie for checking in with me.
I need the prompt today and for the next week or so to be unstructured. I don't have a lot to give, and I apologize for that. Please take this opportunity to write about whatever my experiences bring to mind. What was it like when you went through similar things with your grandparents? Or have you yet to experience it? When did you first encounter Alzheimer's or dementia? You could even talk about memories of your grandparents. Whatever you'd like.
You have until Thursday, April 12, 2012 at midnight to write and post, and it can be in any format.
I will read, comment on, and feature your responses a week from today.
* Have your title say FWE or Friday Writing Essential, and have the initials "WWAW" (Whew, What a Week) in it.
* Make sure to post to the Writing Essential Group.
* Put FWE or Friday Writing Essentials and the initials "WWAW" in your tags. (I won't find your post without these tags.)