It was a Friday afternoon when I received the call from Mom while I was at work,
‘I can’t find the thing and it doesn’t work’ she said hysterically.
‘What?’ I said a little perturbed that she would call me at work and not make any sense.
‘You know, the thing is not here’.
‘I don’t know what the thing is’ I said defensively, yet quietly.
‘I can’t do anything, you know…’ she began to say fiercely.
‘Mom, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ I said as I was going to continue the conversation when Mom said angrily…
‘Never mind’, and hung up.
I understood that!!! But, I still had no idea what she was talking about and I didn’t have time to decipher the encryption. I was at work and was extremely angry, that once again, she had disrupted my day. I could not concentrate any longer on work as I kept replaying the conversation back and still could not figure out what the hell she was talking about.
I was exhausted. I was frustrated. I had just about had it with her. What I did not realize at the time was that her word finding abilities were fading fast. Everything that existed were ‘things’, and I was supposed to know what they were. English was my first language, yet now I had to become bilingual in the ‘Alzheimer’ dialect.
I called Andrea at the Alzheimer Society to confirm the visit for the next day. I explained to her that I had hoped Mom would snap out of whatever was happening to her, but realized that I was fooling myself. Once more, I felt we were at the ‘critical’ stage, as neither Mom nor myself could endure this much longer. Andrea asked if I wanted her to see Mom sooner, which I answered, ‘No, tomorrow afternoon is fine’. We said our goodbyes, as I began pack up my items at work and leave for the weekend. Why I never explained my situation to my employers at the time was bewildering. I guess I still had no idea what was occurring, and to put into words for someone else to understand was overwhelming.
I sat in my car and began to cry tears of frustration and hopelessness. I had to ‘snap myself out of this’, I had to be strong, I had to cope, I had to… take control.
I found myself becoming angrier with Mom, with Alzheimer’s disease, at Dad for leaving me with all of this, at my brother who went along with all my decisions without having any of his own, my Baba who didn’t believe there really was a problem, and the Doctor who, although tests had not come back said, ‘I’m almost 100% certain your Mom has Alzheimer’s disease’. But most of all, I became angry with myself. Why was this happening to Mom and I? Why couldn’t I cope? Why didn’t I have more patience? Why was I making Mom angry? Why couldn’t I understand what she was saying? Why was I creating more chaos? Why couldn’t I help her through this? Why did I feel so alone? Why?