Oct 25, 2013

Reflecting on Life with Dotty, the 8 Year Anniversary

It is my belief that Alzheimer's caregivers operate at a very high station in life. How else can you explain the enormous Joy that comes from the experience?

By Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

I came to Delray Beach on November 17, 2003 and I took care of my mother, Dotty, until she went to Heaven on May 25, 2012.

I wrote the article that appears below on November 17, 2011, eight years to the day after I started caring for her.

Dotty and I traveled a path only caregivers can really understand.

The first period - deep burden and deep sadness. The second period - understanding, coping and acceptance. And for Dotty and me, the third period traveling the path called Joy.

I have written extensively here about our journey, what I learned, and how I coped with the problems that are all a part of caregiver life.

As I reread the article below I experienced sadness, I miss Dotty. I can recall vividly that morning, and the look of confusion on her face. I also remember the look of contentment on her face later that day.

I am a bit sad, but at the same time I am feeling the Joy that comes with caring, and this feeling does stay with you after the fact.

Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room

Dotty Said, I Want to Get Out of Here, I Want to Go Home

November 17, 2011

I have to admit. At times, I forget that Dotty has Alzheimer's. Its just the way my brain works.

This morning at 5 AM the light came on in my bedroom. Before I even opened my eyes I heard it,

"oh there you are".

I looked up and there stood Dotty. I asked, what are you doing? She answered,

"I was lost, I don't know where I am".

I got up, went over and put my arm around her.

I asked what is wrong? She answered, I want to get out of here.

I asked, where are you going? She said,

I want to go home.

I walked Dotty down the hallway toward her bedroom. I gently said, you are home.

Dotty responded, I am?

We made it to the door of her bedroom. I said, look this is your room, we're home. She more or less made a noise of surprise.

After a visit to the toilet, I put Dotty in bed. She wasn't complaining. This did surprise me.

Several minutes later she was asleep.

I went back to bed.

I was wondering what was going to happen the rest of that day.

All started off as usual.

Before I started writing this  I took Dotty for a ride. It is so bright and sunny here today you wouldn't believe it. There are no clouds, just blue. The sun is hot hot hot.

When we came home I put Dotty out front with her lunch, a cup of coffee, and Harvey. I left them there.

After a while, I went to get her.

I said, I came to get my peeps. Dotty said, what peeps? I said my people, you and Harvey.

Dotty looked up and smiled. She seems very happy and content at that moment.

Right now Dotty is eating a mound bar and yakking away with Harvey in the kitchen.

So far everything is going well today.

Last night reminded me what Alzheimer's is like, what it is all about.

I have to admit. At times, I forget that Dotty has Alzheimer's.

Its just the way my brain works. I have difficulty retaining the negative. The negative is there, and I know its there. I just choose to ignore it when I can.

Today is my eight year anniversary as a caregiver.

Today things are much better than there were 8 years ago from my perspective.

I didn't expect to be at it this long. I'm surprised.

One thing for sure, I didn't get bent out of shape this time like I would have many years ago.

I'm not really sure why I see things the way I do.

Someday I guess I'll be able to write about it, and put some real perspective around my thoughts and feelings.


Related Articles
Bob DeMarco is the Founder and Editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
You are reading original content +Bob DeMarco , the Alzheimer's Reading Room