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11th Feb

2014

The Diagnosis by P.D. McCombs

Mother Beverly, as we called her, was having trouble with her speech, and it had been going on for months. When it…the stumbling began…she would stumble over one word and catch her “footing” and then resume the conversation. Then it became two words then three or four in row.

My mother was a strong woman who raised three children with the help from her parents, was extremely articulate. She rose through ranks of the banking industry during a time when women weren’t allowed in the upper echelon of financial wizardry.

It was always her against the world, and she kicked butt. A very capable woman. A woman who loved her kids, loved her mother and father and loved her work.

s. It came to me instantly that the news was true when I saw that mother could not draw a clock, among a battery of tests given to determine dementia. I was shocked. During the entire hour, my beloved mother was asked to answer questions she simply could not answer.

I don’t remember the drive home. I went to bed as soon as I arrived. I felt vulnerable and shaken to my knees. I laid there until my husband got home from work. I could barely talk I was so hysterical. I cried and cried and cried.

You see my grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease so I knew my mother’s fate…that is unless I could do something to retard or stop the progression. Of course, I wasn’t thinking that at the time. I was thinking only of myself and my dear mother.

I was in shock. I asked my husband to call the doctor to ask the doctor not to use the word Alzheimer ever again in connection with my mother. I asked my husband to explain that the big A was another “Name for Madness” in my family. My grandmother…years of caring for her…her final months before she died in my arms two days before her 95th birthday. No, we simply couldn’t use the word Alzheimer’s to describe my mother’s condition.

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