Some people believe you are alive but dead when you live with Alzheimer's dementia. Not Dotty, she was very much alive and living her life. Still living her life right up until the day she entered "terminal drop.
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
|Joanne and Dotty|
I have been patiently waiting for the emotions and dreams. The time has come.
Some of you caught my hint that I had been hit with the first "monster" sized wave of emotion when I wrote the article, IViG Keeps Alzheimer's at Bay for a Decade for This Man.
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In that article I wrote:
As I started reading this story about Jason and Karen Marder I felt elated. As I read on, a wave of emotions filled my body. I couldn't tell what I was feeling. There were too many emotions to sort out.
I stood up and started pacing. I tried to sort out each emotion.
I couldn't help but think about Dotty. I started thinking about all the Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers all over the world.
I wondered what it would be like if an effective treatment for Alzheimer's became available?
As I started to type this article an enormous amount of emotion was unleashed from within me. I suppose it had to happen sooner or later, I was thinking about Dotty. It hasn't stopped.
Emotion hasn't stopped. It comes in waves, it comes out of me like an emotional Tsunami.
This might sound odd, it doesn't make me feel completely sad. At first I feel sad, then the pouring out of emotion reminds me I am alive, thinking, and feeling. I think about Dotty. I get this image of little impish Dotty, with that cute little smile on her face.
Dotty looks happy and content.
Just so you know, this is the Dotty that was deeply forgetful in the image. She started making that little impish, happy, satisfied look more and more often beginning in 2010. It got stronger and stronger. I suppose that is why people started saying, "she looks really good".
Dotty looked a lot better in 2012 then she did way back in 2004-2008. Go figure, huh?
You can live your live after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's dementia. We proved it. You can do it. I know you can. I have no doubts.
Life is all about thinking and feeling. As far as Alzheimer's goes its about the choice between burden and Joy. You get to decide. This is my belief.
I had to get up and starting pacing for a couple of minutes, I'm back. The emotions are running strong within me, and coming out of me.
I'm starting to get a recurring thought. I think Dotty is trying to tell me, "get up off your ass and go do something".
One thing for certain. If I can ever get back the determination and goal orientation I had while caring for Dotty, I'll be able to do what she wants me to do.
Last night I had a rather vivid but short dream about Dotty. There were 3 players in the dream, Dotty, my sister Joanne, and me.
Basically we were in this well lite place that was not recognizable to me. The walls were light beige and the wood work was a very nice color of brown. Very comfortable looking place.
Dotty was sitting at a table eating. That impish, happy, satisfied look on her face while she ate.
Joanne and I walked down to the end of the room and stepped into to an adjacent room. Joanne looked at me and said, "I'm scared". I responded, "I'm scared too". We then started crying and hugged each other.
The dream was strong and vivid. I tried to go back to sleep but I was wide awake at 3:20 AM. So I got up, had a soda, and started thinking about the dream. Its meaning.
I was not bent out of shape. I was just thinking about the dream.
Was I scared? Was I scared the entire time?
I don't think so.
I was definitely scared back in the beginning. The first couple of years.
I was scared because I didn't know enough about Alzheimer's disease. I was scared because I thought, pretty soon Dotty wouldn't know me. I was scared because I thought it would happen fast, in a year or two, and I was scared because I was thinking Dotty would be alive but dead.
The stigma attached to Alzheimer's is heartbreaking. So is all the misinformation.
Gradually I learned that Dotty was capable of more than I could ever have imagined. My brain finally got a grip on that.
After I decided something had to change and that something was me; and then, we had to get out of our "cave like existence" and start living our lives, then everything started to slowly but surely change for the better.
Dotty was not alive but dead. Instead, she was very much alive and living her life. Still living her life right up until the day she entered "terminal drop. The drop took 21 days to unfold.
I am doing more and more each day. I am having very good conversations with people around the country. I am going out more and more. Even to the pool. I am no longer getting those big waves of sleepiness coming over me.
I did stop three times while typing this article to gather my emotions.
Pretty soon I will decide not what I can do, but what I must do.
Hopefully I 'll get a clear vision of the next step in my life.
In the meantime, I'll keep imagining that little impish, satisfied, happy look on Dotty's face. That is the one I keep getting.
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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room