About me...

Pop the lid on my Mason Jar and meet my family. Jim {Jimma} and I have four kids, Creston (Ashley), Jami (Matt), Brandon and Chance. Our grandkids, Cade, Kirby, Eisley, Beck and Reed bring us more joy than any Mason Jar could ever hold. I am counting my blessings over and over and thanking God for His amazing love and grace.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dad's Diagnosis

My dad has Alzheimers. I found out Friday night when Mom called to give me the test results of his MRI. This came as no big surprise to me, but it’s still unsettling to say the least. It’s one thing to suspect something, but once it’s confirmed, you lose all hope that your suspicions were wrong and then you have to face the reality of the situation. My initial thought was “one thing at a time Lord. This is bad timing on your part. I have enough going on in my life right now. I don’t want to go down this path you're taking me.” I am more aware than ever that of such options, we have no choices.

Dad will be celebrating his 84th birthday the end of this month. Physically he is in great shape. Dad is a very high energy person for someone his age. He might take a nap during the day, but the rest of his time is spent doing busy work. Rare is the time you go to their house that he is not outside working in the yard, pulling weeds or mowing. And if he’s not outside, more than likely he’s in his workshop, painting pictures or making picture frames. If you’re a first time guest at my parent’s house, you can bet you won’t leave without one of dad’s pictures that he’s so very proud of.

Mom just celebrated her 83rd birthday last month. She is also in excellent physical health for her age. Where Dad stays busy all the time, mom does what little housework and cooking there is for two people then spends the remainder of her time sitting in a chair reading or watching TV. Rare is the time I have gone to visit and not found her sitting in "her" chair. When we're there for family gatherings, Mom will supervise what is going on in the kitchen from her chair, calling out to us, asking if we need help and telling us where the pots and pans are, etc. There's one thing you can always bet on, Mom is keeping a close eye on Dad. She checks on him constantly, worrying and fretting over him.

Physically I have not noticed any changes in Mom or Dad, but have gradually seen changes in their state of mind. Where Mom has become very forgetful, Dad seems to imagine things that just aren’t happening. The Saturday before Mother’s Day I called Mom that morning to tell her I wanted to come spend the afternoon with her and bring her dinner. I wanted to make sure she would be home and not planning to cook. I asked if she needed me to bring anything. She needed her prescription picked up in Palatka, but said she had plenty to last a few days and would pick it up Monday when doing errands.

When I arrived at Mom’s the truck was gone and the house was locked. I was a little concerned, knowing she was expecting me. I called Creston to see if he knew where Mom and Dad were, but he had no clue. I was fixing to go to my brother’s house to see if he knew where they might be when they drove up. They had gone to Palatka to pick up her medicine. She didn’t remember me telling her that I was coming to her house or that I had offered to pick up her prescription. Dad asked me how the little boy was doing that came with me. I was by myself.

I have suspected Dad has Dementia for a while now, but was hoping that Dementia would be all there was to his confusion. The results are in and the questions play out in my mind. When Mom told me about Dad’s diagnosis, she seemed amazingly calm, especially since she’s such a worrier. I have to wonder, "Does she have any comprehension of what this means?" I ache for her. I know how much she loves him and even more how much she needs him in her life. Does Mom realize that as things progress she won’t have him? It will get to the point he won’t know her or his surroundings. She will have him in her life, yet not have him. She will lose this person that she so desperately needs in her life.

How long do we have before Dad is entombed in a state of confusion? Does this vary from person to person. Will the medicine they gave him make a difference, or could this escalate rapidly? Jami and Matt are coming home for Thanksgiving. Knowing the uncertainty of the situation, she’s thankful they made plans to come home. Surely we have a few months? Dad cries every time he sees a picture of Chance in his uniform or there is something said about him being in the war. Will he know Chance in January when he comes home? Even more, will Mom’s state of mind be where she can continue to keep a watch over Dad?

Where is this journey taking me? My mind goes in all different directions and is filled with endless questions. Then I remind myself that the uncertainty of a future is not for me to worry about. I have to put the questions to rest. As with everything else in my life, I’m to let go and trust God, knowing His ways are not my ways., but His ways are always right. He sees the big picture and everything will unfold according to His master plan and what will bring Him glory. It is through adversity that I will become dependent on God and that’s right where He wants me.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8

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