Holidays are normally a bit stressful and an illness can crank up the stress levels. That’s what happened to us this holiday season. Continue reading “Over the holidays, the little caregiver who could cries “Uncle!”” »
Angie, family caregiver
Angie’s husband John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008. This is their story.
We are driving to an early morning doctor’s appointment. John is nervous because the appointment is with a new physician and he knows his memory is going to be tested. Getting dressed he asked me “what day is it” over and over again. I would answer as calmly as possible November 10, 2010, until I didn’t think I could stand it. I tried to have him look at the perpetual calendar that he is in charge of changing daily. Didn’t work. I had him look at his Day-Timer. Nada. Finally I handed him the newspaper and said, “Bring it with you.”
I have traveled extensively throughout the United States and have often looked in wonder at the vastness of the mountains, forests, plains and deserts that early settlers had to navigate as they pushed west. I realize in the area of Alzheimer’s treatment my husband and I are pioneers. We are pushing forward, hoping for a better life.
I recently found myself overwhelmed by paperwork. I had scrambled to get benefits from Social Security and long term disability insurers. I thought I was doing pretty well until an insurance company sent me a letter saying that they had overpaid us by more than $2,000! Luckily John’s lifelong habit of making copies of checks eventually allowed me to verify this debt. However, it took me three days of combing through every box, stack of paper, file drawer, back pack and briefcase to find all the file copies of those deposited checks. Once I had them in chronological order, I saw immediately that yes, they had indeed overpaid us. It taught me a lesson, actually two.
Just the other day John and I were taking a drive to the Golden Gate Railroad Museum. We planned on having a quick lunch and then board a train powered by a restored steam engine for a scenic, two hour trip complete with wine and cheese. John loves trains and this is part of my 21st wedding anniversary gift to him. As we drove, John kissed my hand and said, “We have a pretty good life.” I smiled at him and agreed. Two years ago, I wasn’t smiling.
Did you know my friend Patty is raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk in honor of me and John? Donate here: http://memorywalk.kintera.org/sf10/pattyguinto
John and I are planning to attend the event on September 11 at Mission Creek Park in San Francisco. Walk starts at 9:30 a.m. Join us if you can!