My mom and dad (Sue and Dick) have been married since August 9, 1969. After 42 years, their love has never been stronger. They have three great children. My oldest sister Debi lives in Florida with her husband Bryan and daughters (Ashley and Cara). The middle sister Dawn lives in Ohio with her boyfriend Kevin and sons (Ty and Austin). I’m the youngest and my name is Rich, I will be 39 on April 2nd. I live again with my parents in Temperance, MI (outside of Toledo, Ohio).
We noticed changes in 2008 with my mom forgetting little things. She had a surgery in 2008, her surgeon completed a couple other procedures during the surgery; the additional procedures were not necessary and she was under several hours longer. After this surgery, we noticed a significant change in her memory loss.
In 2010, my mom called me a week early for my birthday. This was the first time that it really hit me; my mom was losing her memory. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2010.
Last September, I had a career opportunity to return to Michigan. I was consulting on my own for more than a year and things were going great. My parents were in Florida helping my Uncle Bob. During this time, my mom and dad were under extreme pressure (mentally and physically). My Dad was a caregiver for my Uncle Bob and my mother. The stress of this caused him to have a mental breakdown.
My dad is doing much better after a year of treatment. My dad’s brother was in and out of hospitals and long-term care for the last year. He has finally decided to go into a long-term care facility in February 2011.
Earlier this year, we changed my mom’s medication and she had a negative reaction during the first two weeks of taking the new drug. We stopped treatment! It took several weeks and she got better; but never returned back to her previous condition.
My mom’s memory continued to get worse over the course of 2011 and into 2012. My mother’s short-term memory is almost non-existent now. When she ends a conversation with someone, she does not remember the conversation.
I recently changed jobs and now work from home. I still have a house in Minnesota and do not think that I will return to Minnesota. I currently have my house up for sale and have been living with my parents for the last year. Once I sell my house, I will buy or build a house near my parents in Michigan.
A few weeks ago, my mom lost her oldest sister. We were able to visit with my mom’s sister before she passed away and my mom does not remember this visit. A few days later, my mom’s sister passed away. The family attended the showing and service for my mom’s sister. This was a very difficult week for my mom and everyone in the family.
At the same time, my dad’s brother (Uncle Bob) went back into the hospital. I traveled to Florida to take care of long-term care arrangements for my Uncle Bob.
A couple weeks ago, my mom took a drastic turn for the worse. She was paranoid about being in the house. She did not know why she was being held hostage in this house. My mom had several days where she thought my father was not her husband and wanted me to take her to her husband. Every day, it seemed to get worse. During the week, there were points when she did not know that she had kids or being married.
This was the first time that I called the Alzheimer’s Association for help. I’m so glad that I made the call. During one of my conversations on the toll-free number, one of the representatives thought that she might have a urinary track infection (UTI). This was the first time that I heard about this causing the extreme change in my mom’s condition. We went to the doctor the next morning. They were right, she had a UTI and we started her on antibiotics.
That same week, I woke up to my mom walking the halls. She mentioned that she fell outside the house. I looked at her clothes and noticed grass stains and the doors to the house were unlocked. This was the first time that I know of, were she left the house. The next day, we added temporary door alarms and just had an alarm system installed.
My mom has been on the antibiotics for a week now and is improving. She still has short-term memory problems, but she is not paranoid about being in the house. She also recognizes her husband and all of her kids.
Thanks for reading!