Not sure I can deal with this.

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On Christmas Day, my Mom went into the hospital for a short stay and had a CT scan. We didn't find out the results of the scan until a few weeks later at her PC dr visit, when the report was given to me. The dr didn't say anything, except to note that Mom had a sinus infection, but it stated that she had moderate atrophy of the brain. Today Mom went in again, and I had the opportunity to speak the dr privately, as Mom's memory and confusion has been getting progressively worse. She confirmed for me that this is most likely Alzheimer's, and that she has forwarded the report to her neurologist, and that she would likely benefit from Aricept or something similar. Mom doesn't see the neurologist until Feb 26th (soonest available appt) and still doesn't know what the CT scan said.

Frankly, this diagnosis scares the heck out of me. I've been with Mom for 4 yrs now, and it's worked out well. But Mom has always been Mom - basically the sweetest woman in the world. I love her more than anything - I don't know that I can stand to watch her turn into something or someone else, or to watch myself become impatient with her because she isn't the mother I've loved.

How did you learn to accept the diagnosis when you first learned of it if it was someone you were especially close to? Next to my husband, Mom is my best friend. I know it's the natural order that parents die. I was prepared to accept that. I guess I wasn't really prepared to accept Alzheimer's.


eguillot, my boss' wife had Alzheimer's for 15 years, and he said his wife continued to be the sweetest most loving person in the world even up to her final week. And he had been an angel to her, watching out for her, kissing her hand, you could see how much he adored her.

I know we read about grown children dealing with a parent who has memory issues and the different things that are happening, so that in itself can be quite scary. But it also tells me that each case might be different.
I understand your predicament so well Eguillot. Your circumstances sound so muc h like mine. My mum and I are very close and she is the sweetest, most gentle, kind hearted woman. My mum was diagnosed 18 months ago, (after 12months of denial). Like you, i didnt mention Alzheimers to her. Its been about 3 years now and although she is deteriorating in that her memory is virtually gone and she gets confused, she doesnt do anything odd, like wandering or delusional (occasionally mild). Hold in there and enjoy as much of ur mum as you can. You may have a few good years, admittedly spoilt by anticipation of whats to come. But try to accept what you've got. People say it's worse than cancer, but i dont think watching my mother wither away with cancer would be easier. As you say its the natural order of things, something has to happen someday. Good luck to you and your mum. I hope you have lots of happy(ish) times
Something else to consider, equillot, is that the brain of elders do get smaller. The cells die. It is a natural order of things. It may be that your mother won't have all the symptoms of Alzheimer's. Maybe she will have some memory loss and confusion, but will stay the same sweet friend she is now. All we can do is take it a day at a time. And if she starts having mental lapses, maybe it will be all that they are. Doctors really can't diagnose Alzheimer's very well. Some people with the damage that looks like Alzheimer's have no symptoms at all, beyond those associated with age.
Thank you, all of you. Some days Mom seems fine. Well, not really. But pretty much. She can't take her medication on her own anymore. It used to be that I'd put it in her boxes, and she'd get it out at the required times. She always wrote down whatever time she took one of the narcotic medications for her pain. Now, she can't remember to either a) write it down or b) she'll write it down, but forget to take the pill. Each day it's something else. Today she asked me to look at her pill box (she has 1 box for each day) and figure out what she was supposed to take. She was having breakfast. She was supposed to have her breakfast pills. But she needed me to tell her that and give them to her. That's new. She will also overdose herself on laxative (she suffers chronic constipation, and has already had 18" of colon removed, so is preoccupied with not being constipated) because now she doesn't remember having already taken it. Then we have a problem with diarrhea and being weak. I think I'm going to have to take control of the laxatives, and she's not going to be happy over losing control of that. So far we've maintained the facade that I'm just helping out, and she's maintained her role of "Mom" for the most part. Every now and then she complains a little bit that I'm getting bossy, and I have to pull back and look at how I'm doing things. I don't want to run over Mom's sense of independence too much, yet I don't want to let her endanger herself, either. There's such a fine line, here. Mom gave me so much growing up - I truly am one of the lucky ones to have such a good relationship with my Mom.
I also totally cannot deal with this. Even though I've been doing it for 6 years. My mom who is 89 has only been seen by her gp and nephrologist. Kaiser has to be pushed and we didn't push for a neurologist. At the last visit the gp said it was better to die of kidney failure than dementia. I was taken aback but afterward felt grateful for her frank opinion. We never went down the aricept route due to side effects and my mother was never the sweet type (though outsiders think so, ha!) but we plug along and just do the daily work that needs to be done as I know you will equillot.
I know about feeling taken aback, anne. About a week before my father died (which was a surprise to all of us), his cardiologist, who was also my cardiologist, said to me during one of MY appointments, "Does it seem to you that your dad is winding down?" I sputtered an outraged, "NO!!!" and he left it at that, but a week later was dead, and he was the dr who helped us through it. I never forgot that. He was seeing something in Dad no one else was, and while we didn't want to hear it, he was right.
equillot, I have the same problem with my mother when it comes to medicines. What I do is to get each pill session ready right before time. I put the pills in a bottle that she can take for herself. That gives her the sense that she is still in charge, while I can make sure how much (and when) she is taking.

She has Ativan and Tylenol 3 she can take as needed. I put the pills for the day in bottles and she can take them as she wants. That has certainly saved a lot of trouble for both of us. So far she has managed these two PRN drugs well.

There are little things we can do when handling medicines that let them feel that they are still in control of things. I think that is important.
Aricept and Donazapril doesn't cure it, it calms it, or slows it down, from my experience. Hosptice took mom off aricept another drug for body to absorb.... make things fun, walks, fun foods, music. Love each moment with her, and start early to understand she is MOM, smile a lot, and accept.... Take Care....
Serequel for Sundowners, and maybe walks if she can. Donenzapril was very expensive and not hlepful either.
Keep close eye on the meds, all extras somewhere safe. My Mom was diagnosed nearly 10 years ago. At this point I have to fill the pill minder and remind her to take them at breakfast and dinner. There is quite a selection in the morning, and every freaking morning the same quesstion "all of that?" Yes Mom, all of that. But when she is in some sort of pain, I will usually give her an Aleve, this is my cue to be on the lookout. Because the pain med does not work instantaneouly she will be in the bathroom looking for aspirin (this is where she always kept it). She would overdose on aspirin if I had not removed all med from the bathroom long ago. There is absolutely no memory of taking anything, memory span is about five seconds, seriouly, these days.

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