I arrived home after dropping off my brother and Mom at the condo. I felt like I had been hit in the stomach. I slowly walked into my apartment and called Mark (my life partner) and told him the news. I cried and said I couldn’t handle this, he said that we would handle this together. I honestly felt like putting out an S.O.S. signal to anyone who would listen, and help.
The next few days I kept replaying the ‘exam’ in my head. I had already forgotten what had played out and only remembered the doctor’s words, ‘I am almost 100% sure your Mom has early on-set Alzheimer’s’. Almost 100% sure Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s, what the hell was this disease and what would happen? All those times I yelled, was impatient with Mom, now guilt dug in its claws. In addition with the guilt, I felt anger. Why Mom? Why Me? Why? The one comfort was that Dad was not here to see and experience this awful disease, but the question was… did he know there was a problem years ago? Is that why he told me before he died to look after Mom? I couldn’t keep torturing myself with these thoughts, but it seemed beyond my control. I began to feel sick to my stomach.
Weeks went by and I called the social worker at the Alzheimer Society again. I told her that the neurologist was almost 100% sure Mom had early on-set Alzheimer’s. I gambled on the ‘almost’ word, hoping maybe, by some small chance, it wasn’t. The social worker (Andrea), arranged a meeting at my apartment to discuss the next steps. There were steps? What the heck was I being thrown into? What was Mom being thrown into? The word ‘terminal’ entered my mind, although no one ever said the word. Everything I read indicated there was no cure; therefore, it must be terminal. A voice inside told me I couldn’t cope, but there was that other voice that said ‘you have no choice’.