By Jacqueline Marcell
October 28, 2004
My father had always been 90 percent wonderful, but boy-oh-boy, that raging temper was a doozy. He'd never turned his temper on me before, but then again, I'd never gone against his wishes either. When my mother nearly died from his inability to care for her, I had to step in and risk his wrath to save her life--having no idea that in the process it would nearly cost me my own.
JEKYLL & HYDE
I spent three months nursing
my mother back to relative "health", while my father,
who was telling me he loved me one minute, would get mad about
some trivial thing, call me nasty names and throw me out of the
house the next. I was stunned to see him get so upset over the
most ridiculous things, even running the washing machine could
cause a tizzy, and there was no way to reason with him. It was
so heart wrenching to have my once-adoring father turn against
I couldn't leave my father
alone with my mother, because she'd surely die from his inability
to care for her. I couldn't get the doctors to believe me, because
he was always so darling and sane in front of them. I couldn't
get medication to calm him, and even when I did, he refused to
take it and flushed it down the toilet. I couldn't get him to
accept a caregiver, and even when I did, no one would put up
with him for very long. I couldn't place my mother in a nursing
home--he'd just take her out. I couldn't put him in a home--he
didn't qualify. They both refused any mention of assisted living,
and legally I couldn't force them. I became trapped at my parents'
home for nearly a year trying to solve the endless crisis, crying
rivers daily--and infuriated with an unsympathetic medical
system that wasn't helping me appropriately.
You don't need to have a doctorate to know something is wrong, but you do need a doctor who can diagnose and treat it properly. Finally, I stumbled upon a compassionate geriatric dementia specialist who performed a battery of blood, neurological and memory tests, along with P.E.T. scans. First he ruled out the numerous reversible dementias, and then, you should have seen my face drop when he diagnosed Stage One Alzheimer's in BOTH of my parents--something that all of their other doctors missed entirely.
TRAPPED IN OLD HABITS
What I'd been coping with was the beginning of dementia, which is very intermittent and appears to come and go. I didn't understand that my father was addicted and trapped in his own bad behavior of a lifetime, and that his old habit of yelling to get his way was coming out over things that were now illogical and irrational... at times. I also didn't understand that demented does not mean stupid, at all, and that he was still socially adjusted to never show his "Hyde" side to anyone outside the family. Even with the beginning of dementia, it was amazing that he could still be extremely manipulative and crafty. On the other hand, my mother was even sweeter and lovelier than she'd always been.
BALANCING BRAIN CHEMISTRY
Alzheimer's is just one type
of dementia, and there's no stopping the progression nor is there
yet a cure. However, if identified early, there are medications
that can slow the progression and keep a person in the early
stage longer, delaying full-time care. (Ask a dementia specialist
about the FDA approved medications: Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl.
Also, medication for later stage--Memantine.)
What is so shocking is that none of the many professionals who treated my parents that first year ever discussed the possibility of Alzheimer's Disease with me. One out of every ten persons by the age of 65, and nearly one out of every two by age 85, gets A.D. Had I simply been shown the "10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's" I would have realized a year earlier what was happening and gotten my parents the help they so desperately needed. If this rings true for you about someone you love, I urge you to reach out for help from a dementia specialist sooner than later.
TEN WARNING SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER'S
For more information see www.ElderRage.com.
Distributed to SitNews for publication by Jacqueline Marcell.
For permission to republish all/part of this article,
contact Jacqueline Marcell at j.Marcell@cox.net