OTHERS – LOTS OF OTHERS
After the diagnosis of Alzheimers I was in shock and disbelief; it didn’t seem to register with Alan what we had been told. Thankfully, we had both always been really healthy, and never took any meds whatsoever. Alan was as strong as an ox, and fit as a fiddle, but in very subtle ways his character was changing. I’ve always believed in “mind over matter”, and tried to block the diagnosis from my mind, but increasingly the thoughts kept creeping in, even though at that time, I didn’t really have any comprehension of what was ahead of me. I’ve always been told I have a strong character; I’m not usually the sort of person who is prone to tears, but every time I even heard the word “Alzheimers” or spoke it myself, the emotion just welled up inside of me. After a week or so of self pity, I knew that I had to find out as much as possible about the disease and spent many hours researching on the computer; and the more I read, the more upset I became. Eventually I contacted the Alzheimer’s Association and was informed that there was a Group Caregiver Meeting held twice a month at our local hospital. Initially, the thought of going somewhere spilling out my thoughts and feelings to a group of strangers was completely an alien conception, and I resisted for the longest time (even though I’m doing that now – but I’ll get to that another time). Alan was on medication; I was told there was no cure, and advised this would hold him at the stage he was at then. We got through the days, Alan was still very high energy, and driving – but early evening/night he always became much worse – this I was later to learn was “sundowning”. Through lack of sleep I eventually capitulated and went to my first Caregiver’s Meeting, and suddenly I didn’t feel as if I was the only person in the world coping with this – there were others – lots of others.