PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Final E-Mail Blast to Family & Friends

At the beginning of 2014 you received an e-mail blast about Gregory's decline. I guess that in some ways I had a fore-telling of what was to come a short couple of days later. Now with the current changes, I have told our story so many times that I do not remember what I have told to whom. I wanted to do one last e-mail blast to make sure everyone is up to speed on our situation.

After a very difficult year, then month, then week; ending in what I call a Final Week in Hell;  Gregory (diagnosed ten years ago with Young Onset Alzheimer's at age 55) is now living at a memory care facility. After a major psychotic episode (common at his stage of the disease,) I had to decide on this placement for him. He was in the hospital for observation for a week and on sedatives to help him for less than a week and now no longer needs them. He is once again calm, happy, and content. He is being well looked after, I visit every day, and he has NOT once asked, "Why the change?" For now, he is truly living in the moment.

In all honesty, I do not know for sure who Gregory is at this point. The change was so drastic that I do not know what he knows, or thinks, or feels. As I said above, what I do know is that he is calm, content, happy, safe, and living in the moment. He is more unsure on his feet, moves a lot more slowly, and to me feels a lot older than he was a few short weeks ago. Strangely enough, however, he has been able to put together phrases that make sense and has re-developed a sense of humor (both of which have been absent for quite a while.) Have you ever thought how complex it is to tell a joke or be funny? 

It was a necessary but none-the-less difficult decision. I was no longer able to support him in the way he needed to be supported: physically, mentally, emotionally. I always said that I would take care of him as long as I could and as long as it was the right thing to do ... not for me ... but for him. Now both Gregory and I can begin to adjust to the next phases of our lives. We walked together respectfully and lovingly for 38 years, ten of those with the Alzheimer's diagnosis, and now our paths diverge. The divergence actually began on January 10th, our 38th anniversary. That date will now be the anniversary of our meeting as well as our new beginnings. I am so sad but my heart feels good and right.

Thanks for being there for us over the years. You have played a significant role in Gregory's and my life and therefore over time I have felt it important to keep you informed of our progress, whether we were integrating or disintegrating. At this point further updates most likely will not be necessary. Iyou want to keep up on how things continue to settle in as Gregory and I get used to our new digs, roles, and lives; check my BLOG when and if you feel you want to: Also, if you are in the area and would like to join me on a visit to Gregory at The Lieberman Center, feel free to get in touch and we can make arrangements.

A metaphor for this recent change in our life: "We had rehearsed for this for a long time without knowing when opening night would be. Then "Curtain in 15 minutes" was announced and we were not even in costume or makeup. When the curtain did go up, however, everyone was in their places and the show went on without a hitch. 

Again, NOT easy for me to be going through this, NOT easy for you to read about it. 

Again, do not feel the need to reply. I understand.

Again, you are already helping just be being part of our circle of family, friends, and acquaintances. We appreciate you. 

Michael (and Gregory)

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