Crisis, Caregiver Angst and Alzheimer’s

The original title of this post was going to be ‘Crisis and Alzheimer’s Don’t Mix’, but really nothing mixes well with Alzheimer’s, especially now that my mom’s in the late stages.

Let me back up to the crisis and THANKFULLY it wasn’t due to Alzheimer’s. Last Saturday night, sadly before I got the horrific news on Whitney Houston, I was dealing with a car that went dead on me at The Home Depot. My battery light had popped on, and I thought no way, I had a new one placed in the car months ago. I was able to get a charge from a HD employee, who said if the charge doesn’t stay it could be my alternator.

“Oh no,” it was way too cold for my Sasha (the car’s name) to stall out and not get me home, but as sure as I made it to the exit lane, Sasha said “oh yes” and off the car went. There I was with my mom and Polo in the bitter cold. Thankfully I had Triple A and blankets and the wait wasn’t long, but long enough to ask my Aunt to meet me so that mom would be able to sit in a warm car until the tow truck got to me.

I handle emergencies and crisis situations very well, but I’ve realized since caring for my mom, Alzheimer’s presents a new dynamic to those types of situations. A dynamic that brings anxiety, angst and stress.

Gone are the days when Mom understood when I was stressed or understood what crisis was going on, how quickly I may need to go somewhere or get something done. Any type of quick change is another factor to altering her mood. Even when it seems like things are going smoothly, reality hits you in the face.

The first trip to the mechanic to see about my car, I dealt with mom not wanting to get out of the cab. All she knew it was cold outside (which of course is my fault) and there would be a bit of a moving she needed to do to get out. I was asking her to get out trying to explain that the driver had to go, and he was politely saying he needed to go. Thankfully she got of the cab, only to have the angst of having to do this all over again the next day but it’s a reminder that I have to handle these situations with kids gloves. And she’ll never realize how easy getting into my high SUV is for her as opposed to getting into car.

On the second trip to the mechanic, the “going” was the harder part of the trip as mom didn’t want to get in the cab. Thankfully once we got there she said she wanted to go with me and I told her she needed to get out because I’m going to get my car.

During the 2 1/2 days of being in the unknown car zone, sometimes I wanted a moment’s peace to think about everything, but any caregiver knows that peace rarely comes. Alzheimer’s makes my mom just as demanding as the other issues I’m dealing with. Thankfully the crisis is over, it was just the alternator. As for the angst, with Alz, that doesn’t seem to go away….at least not right now.


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