Sunday, September 23, 2012

Alzheimer's Month - Dr.Jekyll

September is World Alzheimer's Month and it would be remiss of me not to post something.

Since David died, I have not been keen on thinking about the disease. I am on a break.  Somewhere within me, however, is an ambition to do something for Davids honor. He was treated professionally by the hospital, as though he were an experiment. It would be incredible if I could assist in saving others from this, and perhaps for his pain to eventually become part of the reason others do not suffer.
Sounds grandiose I know. I bet they said the same about Clara Barton, or Christiaan Barnard or Dr Jekyll. Well perhaps not Jekyll, though wasn't he the good personality? Actually he was fictional, (kind of) so best not to think about Jekyll.
Anyway, main purpose for this posting is to share the reminder that personal caregivers for an Alzheimer's patient - remain in love with their loved ones.
It is the hardest challenge for patience, tolerance and strength, both emotional and physical.
Last year Sandy, my inspiration of a friend, whose husband had passed away from cancer in 2011, once said to me, no matter how hard the care giving had been, that the grief was so much harder.
I was so fortunate that she told me that, as I knew to enjoy the time I had, no matter what was going on. Sadly I was not perfect - that's right everyone not even me! My biggest regrets are all connected to not supporting myself well, and hence I had bad days. The exhaustion and fear did not serve David and I and I'm left feeling that I let us both down.

If you know a caregiver - reach out to them. Do something to assist. Even a little thing like an email or phone call. A pint of milk and a bucket of ice cream. Well, not that if they are lactose intolerant, that really would not help. Anything good, really counts.
Remember that if you witness bad times between the couple, at some point, they will sit quietly together and smile. I would watch David sleeping knowing there would be the day that I couldn't do that. Within this post I include all caregivers who are relatives. I recognize that taking care of a non spouse has issues that a husband and wife do not encounter.
My heart pours for all the caregivers who give and love fiercely. I feel responsible somehow to support those who I know personally. It is an honor not a duty. They all should/could/would be treated with compassion.
The fear of the unknown can make us unknown. Don't be like that when we have so many other choices. Jekyll or Hyde is a choice - I knew I could reference that again!



Christiaan Barnard

1 comment:

  1. Just wonderful, Jayne. It is an honor to take of the people we adore.Having said that,exhaustion is great humanizer. I don't believe you let yourself or David down.Remember, you had nothing to compare your experience to. You had never had any experience in care taking someone with cancer and early onset Alzheimer's.You did the best you could with the tools you had, at that time.Just sayin'. xo!

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