What Alzheimer’s Teaches – Part 2

In the first post of this series, we considered how Alzheimer’s Disease teaches us about patience. Another lesson to learn is one we may know, but don’t always keep in the forefront of our minds. Number 2

Each Day Counts.

Although most of us aspire to the philosophy of carpe diem, do we really live every 24 hours to its fullest?

A few years ago, Mom seemed fine. She paid her bills, drove her car all over town and maintained the care of her house. She remembered birthdays, called me often where we carried on long conversations. She competed with the rest of us when we played board games. She knew how to balance her checking account.

Gradually, we noticed the differences in Mom – the forgetfulness, the questions asked over and over, the fear about losing her way when she drove home. Still, she seemed to be dealing with life and able to stay in her own home.

Then she was admitted into the hospital for a pacemaker procedure and overnight – everything triggered. The symptoms of her Alzheimer’s diagnosis intensified, and the doctor said, “She can’t live alone.”

Fortunately, my siblings and I had already chosen the assisted living facility we thought Mom would enjoy – the one with the nicest rooms, the most activities and close to home. Although it was an emotionally draining time, we worked together and tried to help Mom adjust to her new home.

Everything changed so quickly. I wanted to go back and relive each day, to focus on carpe diem before Mom’s diagnosis.

Although Alzheimer’s is a gradual disease, symptoms can change quickly. It’s important to say “I love you” often, to treasure each moment together, to journal the memories and take pictures.

Mom’s disease has taught me to treasure each day I have with my son, to live the philosophy of carpe diem and dedicate myself to serve God with the time I am given. Because I know that one piece of amyloidal plaque can totally change a life.

Each day is precious, because it is all we have.

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