Alzheimers – It Won’t Blow Over

My dad says to my mom, “Once this all blows over, things will go back to normal…” and similar statements.

The doctors and people my parents interface with for his Alzheimer’s say that this is a common statement that people with Alzheimer’s will make when they still have a degree of awareness that they have changed.
Sadly, it isn’t going to blow over and it isn’t going away and there is no cure. He decided to participate in the study because he knows it won’t benefit him at all, but if it can help someone in the future it will be worth it.

My dad played football in highschool and went to college on a football scholarship. He later went on and played semi-pro ball in anticipation of trying out for the Steelers, but life changes and responsibilities pushed him a different direction. At that time (late 50s, early 60s) the helmets and safety gear left a lot to be desired and there’s plenty of research now that shows the affects that concussions and repeated head injuries cause the build-up of amyloid and tau in the brain.

An Annals of Medicine article in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell discusses the relationship between head injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) that manifests as Alzheimers except that there isn’t the amyloid protein that precedes the tau, just the tau. So much research is being done and hopefully in the future this disease can be treated in advance.

My dad was an amazing athlete and when I was younger we spent a lot of time playing tennis together and sometimes racquetball. I remember when Monday Night Football was first on tv and it was a huge deal. I would beg to be allowed to stay up and my parents would allow me to watch the first half if I was really lucky. That was a long time ago. My dad was also an excellent golfer and my brother inherited his love of golf from him and they enjoyed some serious golfing over the years. My dad hasn’t golfed in a few years; he started losing interest in things he enjoyed about five years ago, though he didn’t get an official diagnosis until three years ago. He has trouble following a conversation, a movie or book story line, and cannot do puzzles any more although he was a voracious reader and crossword and sudoku afficianado. He can still talk fluently and spout facts about the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates so I suppose he still has his priorities! Sometimes he forgets to eat, which is definitely priorities out of whack.

He remembers who we all are and he remembers our phone numbers which is a blessing and a curse. Over the years when there have been crises of one sort or another at their house, he has frequently called my husband. We joked the other day that God forbid something would happen to my mom, he won’t call 911,he’ll call Dan.

It’ll be interesting to see what the tests he had reveal. Hopefully he can stay where he’s at right now for a while, that would be good.

For anyone else living with this, you are in my thoughts and you are not alone.


2 thoughts on “Alzheimers – It Won’t Blow Over

  1. Hello Leigh,

    none of us can say, “I know how you feel and what you are going through.” We all deal with Alzheimer’s differently and each Alzheimer’s patient is different. I was the caregiver for my mother-in-law, her sister and my husband. Mom had early onset Alzheimer’s, Aunt Benny had late onset Alzheimer’s and my husband had multiple dementia. They were so different that I had to rethink how I interacted with them each time.

    I am a Ph.D. in Clinical Hypnotherapy with a background in psychology. My ability to communicate with each of them allowed me to keep my sanity. Aunt Benny passed at 92 of kidney failure and the autopsy showed she defiantly had Alzheimer’s; mom passed 1 week shy of her 91st birthday of heart failure (she died in her sleep); and my husband passed at the age of 74 from heart failure because when he lost his ability to speak and his sight started to fail he asked to have his AICD turned off. He died 4 months later. That was in June of 2009.

    I started writing a book called Bewildered, a families struggle with Alzheimer’s, 8 years ago. I have and entire outline and have written 30 chapters. Right now the memories are still too new for me but one day I will get back to it and write my families story. thank you for sharing yours.


  2. Opps, I forgot to check the boxes. You can contact me anytime. I have a good friend that is going through what I went through with my husband. When she asked me for advice I told her the most important thing was to just love him, no matter what transpires between them because none of this is his fault.

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