Alzheimer’s is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. No two cases are exactly the same.
Alzheimer’s is asking the same question three times within ten minutes. It’s telling someone the same information or story repeatedly. It’s forgetting someone’s name or the word for something. It’s forgetting to do something that you were supposed to do, or forgetting that you already did it and doing it again.
Alzheimer’s is forgetting how to fix your iced tea when you’ve been drinking it your whole life. It’s forgetting what you usually order to eat at your favorite restaurant. It’s missing the turn into your neighborhood, where you’ve lived for twenty years.
Alzheimer’s is putting your shirt on backwards. It’s putting your shoes on the wrong feet. It’s wearing clothing that is inappropriate for the weather or the occasion. It’s pairing a dressy blouse with a pair of sweatpants. It’s forgetting how to dress altogether.
Alzheimer’s is not wanting to take a shower or get dressed. It’s forgetting how to put on your makeup and style your hair. It’s using a black Sharpie marker to draw on your eyebrows instead of an eyebrow pencil. It’s brushing your teeth only once a day and washing your hair only once in a while. It’s having a complete disregard for personal hygiene and your appearance, not because you don’t care, but because you don’t know any better.
Alzheimer’s is slowly forgetting the details and memories of your own life. It’s forgetting your loved ones and not being able to recognize them when you see them. It’s thinking you haven’t seen someone in a while, when you see them every day. It’s thinking that you saw someone, when you only spoke to them on the phone.
Alzheimer’s is forgetting where you grew up and where you went to school. It’s forgetting your daughters’ last names or what they do for a living. It’s forgetting your daughters’ graduations, weddings, and other important events. It’s forgetting when your daughters were born. It’s forgetting your own wedding. It’s even forgetting how you met your own husband and when.
Alzheimer’s is having a voice that you no longer know how to use. It’s not being able to join in a conversation or follow along with one. It’s getting upset with your husband because you think he’s ignoring you or not including you, but it’s really that you are unable to participate. It’s having your adult daughter ask you if you have to use the bathroom before you go out and then helping you do so.
Alzheimer’s is having a dirty, messy, cluttered house when it used to be spotless, immaculate, and organized. It’s needing someone to show you around your own house, even though you’ve lived there for twenty-five years. It’s watching someone else clean that house, not because you don’t want to do it yourself, but because you don’t know how to.
Alzheimer’s is having tunnel vision so badly that you’re practically blind. It’s needing someone to hold your hand and guide you around everywhere you go. And, even then, you walk so slowly that it takes you forever to get anywhere. It’s not being able to see something that’s right in front of you, whether it’s a pair of glasses on the kitchen counter or a huge ship passing by in the canal.
Alzheimer’s is needing someone to help you do almost everything, if not just simply doing it for you. It’s forgetting how to read, write, and even spell your own last name. It’s losing everything you’ve learned, everything you know, and everything you have. It is becoming someone else that neither you nor your loved ones know.
Alzheimer’s is a narcissistic thief that does not discriminate. It steals from the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, the good and the bad. It does not care if you’re black or white, male or female, old or young. It doesn’t care if you have a little or a lot. It doesn’t care if you’re well educated or just plain dumb. Alzheimer’s will rob you blind and you won’t even know it.
Alzheimer’s is a sick and twisted killer. It tortures its victims by causing an extremely slow, painful death. It laughs in the face of those who try to stop it by fighting for a cure. It doesn’t care if you’re a mother or a father, a sister or a brother, a husband or a wife. It has a complete disregard for your relationships with those around you. It will slowly kill you right before their eyes. It likes for them to watch. It doesn’t care about the other battles that you may have already won or lost. It knows that your final battle will be against it and it knows that it will win.