Journey Into Darkness
Perfect Bound Softcover
Imagine you are dropped into the center of town, to which you have never been, and are told to find your house. This is similar to the world of the Alzheimer’s patient. There are so many missing pieces of memory and information.
This is also the case if the care of an Alzheimer’s patient is suddenly thrust upon you. You find yourself in a completely strange and sometimes hostile land. You will run a gamut of red tape and deal with everyone from a disgruntled clerk to a circuit court judge. You will deal with doctors, nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists in your journey.
When you think you are making progress, you find brick walls. When you are ready to give up, a little light will come along. Helps will come from the most unexpected sources. Through it all there will be smiles and frowns, tears and laughter, and good times and bad times. You will emerge from the other end, bruised, battered, and beaten, but wiser and stronger as well.
This is our story. As it began, I kept a journal, to keep track of whom I talked to about what, what I did when, and where we were at the end of the day. That journal grew into this, the story of our journey into darkness. This journey changed us all in many ways. It involved many people in the family, the husband, the wife/daughter, and the children. Everyone pitched in at times. We are closer for it. We came through slightly scathed, but more strongly knit.
There isn’t an ‘if I could change this’ in this story. That was never our option. What was, was. We dealt with it and went on to the next day. Perhaps our story can help you in your journey.
It is a source of humor for some and a source of pain for others. It is insidious and relentless. Many diseases in this land are just terrible and if you are associated with someone infected with one of them, that one is number one. I have been associated with heart disease, and cancer, and AIDS, and now, Alzheimer’s disease.
One thing I found in each of these cases was that the view on the outside is enormously different from the view on the inside. This is the story of our journey into the darkness that is Alzheimer’s disease. Grab a flashlight and follow us.
In the latter part of March, during a family trip to Merritt Island, Florida, Jim Young, Tammy’s dad told us that we needed to do something about Carol, Tammy’s Mom. He told us of some of the things happening there. He told us that he was unable to handle her anymore. It was more so that he is unwilling to take care of her. Even though she has no drivers’ license, he continues to send her to the store. He chose to tell us this on the day before we were to leave for home in Kentucky.
In April, we began to make plans for Jim to bring Carol to us. We checked around. We talked to friends that were familiar with guardianship and nursing homes. For a bit, we actually thought we were prepared.
“Reality paging Ron and Tammy. Is there a Ron or Tammy here? ”
Even when your friends warn you about the magnitude of the task before you, you still foolishly think you are ready. There is nothing that can prepare you for the journey you are about to make. Accept that. Make all the preparations you can and still expect the worst. In the movie, “Armageddon”, a team of oilrig drillers is chosen to fly into space, drill holes into an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, deposit nuclear bombs, fly off, and detonate them, to destroy the asteroid before it collides with Earth. One of the drillers going to the asteroid asks about the environment on the asteroid. When NASA explains it to him, he sums it up by saying, “You could have just said, “the scariest environment imaginable””. This is not far from that. There are unimaginable pitfalls. There are numerous brick walls. Sources that you think should help will hinder and help will come from places you would not dream.
Accept all the help you can get. It will come at times few and far between. Listen carefully to every bit of information you hear. Glean as much as possible from every source. Thank every person to whom you speak. You may need their help again. Praise efficiency. Ignore ineptness. Keep the goal in mind. There are times you will be angry. Anger serves no ones best interest. Keep a paper trail. Log your phone calls. Write down the details, but do not get lost in them. Take good care
I have been writing for most of my life. I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not writing. I still have copies of works going back to 1975. I have around 200 poems, of which a few have been published. This is my first attempt at publishing anything longer than a poem.
I have spent my lifetime learning. I am a perpetual student, although not always by choice. I worked 28 years as an Electrician, while also being a minister and Assistant Pastor of a church in that period. That was a constant study, improve, and share cycle. I am now a teacher at a Technology Center for high school students. I am currently in college, after a 30-year absence, to improve on my ability to accomplish this profession. Learning and sharing knowledge has been the one constant in my life. This is just an extension of that.
This journey has been one of learning. This book is my act of sharing it.
Perfect Bound Softcover