We hear about illnesses on a daily basis…so much that we are somewhat immune to the harshness each of them unfolds until one of them comes knocking on your door…when it finally hits home, reality sets in…
We’ve had a rude awakening with an unsparingly savage disease: dementia. My Grandmother has been suffering this illness for quite a while now. Time: unknown. Reality is, studies show that before symptoms start peeking, it’s been there for years, sad reality: literally, a dormant monster inside of you!! Therefore, although we can’t pinpoint timeframe yet, I can certainly remember things that, looking back at them now, makes me think this monster has been dormant for well over 15 years.
Dormant, inconspicuous, relentless, debilitating, heartbreaking illness…it changes both it’s victims as well as the caretakers. As the clock ticks, patient and caretaker slowly fall through a downslide that almost seem both endless & hopeless.
The behavior, sometimes out character, sometimes true self…either way, the only way to keep your sanity is by trying to think its an on/off switch they have no control over…and most of the time even that is hard to do.
The daily recording machine stuck between play-rewind-playback, the glitch in the system that makes them ask the same thing a hundred times, is something that can drive anyone in their right mind crazy.
The constant memories of how that person was in the past, their character, their personality, the way they lived, their likes, their dislikes…in comparison to their present, its like they are living yesterday over and over and over again without even knowing it…makes you wonder how cruel the cycle of life can be.
And then, from the caretaker perspective, the whole scenario makes you question yourself, as a family member, even as a human being. Things like lack of knowledge, lack of support group, stress, mental exhaustion, frustration, pushes you to ‘loose it’ (most of the times). Its a repetitive and vicious cycle, an entire day of repetitiveness, not feeling confident you even have what it takes to deal with this type of situation, along with your daily routine, and by the end of the day, you finally put your head on the pillow and think “I gotta do it ALL over again tomorrow…” try that for an exhausting marathon.