Life got in the way of regular writing. Don’t know how that happens but traveling, building a new home, preparing for a move, trying to keep up with friends and family, the Cubs have all added to my time schedule.
I have an 87 year old mother-in-law with Alzheimers. She lives with my wife, her daughter, and me. She does not recognize her daughter nor anyone from moment to moment.
Somehow this woman has made me a better person. Having worked with brain injuries all my career as a neuropsychologist, I know that your most salient feature as a person tends to be your identity as an Alzheimer’s patient. In other words, if you are angry as an adult you will show this quality as your daily behavior. If you were a jerk as an adult you will be a royal jerk with Alzheimer’s.
My mother-in-law was a polite British woman and she is a polite Alzheimer’s patient. She still does not know who we are but she does not know nicely. Every meeting with her is a fresh happy experience.
She still soils herself, wets the bed and the floor and forces us to take action that might be uncomfortable. Here my wife’s positive outlook takes hold. I might have chosen to be angry and inconvenienced. My wife is all smiles, cheers her mom to a smile and cleans the mess. My m-i-l has no idea that she has created a mess and my wife does not allow her mother to sense something has gone amiss.
So I learned to be patient, respectful and positive because an Alzheimer’s patient senses without understanding. My m-i-l cannot comprehend anything yet my wife speaks to her like she does. Doesn’t make sense to me that my wife behaves that way but it seems to work.
Alzheimer’s has a way of humbling the caretakers who understand this part of life. One can’t wonder what the patient thinks or feels because it is foreign to normal understanding. I often think how lucky my m-i-l is in that she can’t respond to the insanity of this election cycle.
Then I think in her own way she can make a more rational decision than what is displayed.