Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blissfully Unaware

Blissfully unaware.

That describes my elderly father-in-law with Alzheimer's perfectly. After my mother-in-law sent him at 7:30am to get her a sausage biscuit from Hardee's, he showed back up 8 hours later with the sausage biscuit in a sort of "Ta-Dah" moment.

He had no recollection of where he had been and was blissfully unaware that he had the whole family driving the city looking for him, the Police Department searching and a sausage biscuit spoiling on the seat beside him.

I believe we have finally convinced my mother-in-law that he does not need to be driving under any circumstances. Unbeknown to us, this is the 5th time this has happened in just this week. He generally found his way home in around 2 hours previously. This time it finally got serious in her mind. She did not want to tell the Police that he had Alzheimer's because she knew this might lead to them forcing him to relinquish his driver's license. I had said before that I believed she did not want it to come to this because it forced her to accept that she could no longer depend on him and would feel isolated by her age.

Ever since she made the decision to suspend plans of moving in with us permanently there has been increasing issues. In addition to his disappearances, she has had to be hospitalized on 4 occasions in the past month. We have yet to understand the nature of these hospitalizations because she will not share information with us. Whether or not this is because there is nothing wrong or because there is something wrong and she doesn't want us to "worry", we don't know. We only know that sooner or later they will have to accept that no matter how much they want their independence, their hands are being forced to make the choice of depending on someone else. While I understand that this is a incredibly hard issue for them to face, it IS something that they need to face before something more serious happens.

I am thankful that he was safe and in a way I am thankful that he was blissfully unaware. I believe that although Alzheimer's is a crippling and depressing disease for everyone involved, the actual person with Alzheimer's is most of the time blissfully unaware.

What are your feelings about people with Alzheimer's being "blissfully unaware"?


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