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I find Myself, part one
July 15 2010
[ Non-fiction : Health/ ]

I have once again found myself in the situation of dealing with a patient whom I shall not name. She has either alzheimers or very bad dementia. The doctors won't give a complete diagnosis yet. She is a very old family friend, one that I dearly loved. As I stand by and watch, helping as much as I can at her daughter's request, I have found myself doing more and more research on this baffling disease. IT is scary to think that perhaps I might one day be traveling that path, also. The paranoia alone is unnerving, and the extreme anger they experience is unbelieveable. One minute they can be talking about what happened 50 years ago and 5 minutes later they are asking what year it is. What is even more exasperating is that no one in the family knows what to do, or how to handle it. I know that feeling well, since I experienced it within my own family as well. Each and every second is so precious, even the bad ones. I am sure the opinions on this subject vary, especially as to the treatment. Should they be left at home, with 24 hour care? Should they be put in an assisted living situation, even if they fight it? What if their health is otherwise really good? Exactly what is it going to take for the doctor's to recognize the correct symptoms. Is wandering around lost in one's home a symptom? To me it is. Especially if the person was such a vital member of the community, and one who was well educated, etc. However, I am quickly finding out that this disease has no preferences when it comes to that kind of thing. It doesn't discriminate in racial or religion values either. It just appears out of no where and can go one for years, before anyone recognizes it as something more than "OLD AGE". This situation is a very different one tho, than the last one I was in. My aunt went from being a sweet calm lady who had several medical issues to being paranoid, hateful and abusive in barely 2 weeks. Then one night, she got up, wandering around, while all the people in the family who had come to help slept. She fell, hitting her head, on the corner of the washing machine and a short later, crossed. I am now grateful she didn't go thru years of this.
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Comments from Our Readers

  "It's so painful to see a personality of someone one knew for years being slowly wiped out by the Alzheimer's. Living around and trying to help those who suffer from the disease is exhausting." - Stan, July 15 2010 - reply

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