One Day at a Time

When my husband was first diagnosed, I was terrified about not knowing what I was supposed to know about managing the progression of the disease.  How fast would it go?  How quickly would his abilities deteriorate?  Would medications help, and how?  What would our future look like?  Would he talk to me about howhe felt about the diagnosis?  Where should I look for reliable information?  The questions pounded through my head constantly, and it was exhausting to try to figure out what to do first.

I finally found that simply taking one day at a time was the only way to do this.  By the way, he refused to discuss it with me but instead kept telling me that he was going to “beat this thing” and not let it get the best of him.  Telling me “not to worry” was futile, to say the least.

In our case, he remained the same (still with the forgetfulness and memory issues we had been through for at least three years before the actual diagnosis), but with no dramatic changes for a few months.  That created a false sense of security for me, because changes did, indeed, follow….and each one was a surprise and a source of great anxiety for me.  But each change in his behavior gave me direction about seeking information and learning more about the disease and its process.

Alzheimer’s itself, as symptoms manifested in my husband, taught me where to look for information and when.  It was impossible to predict the next step in learning what I should know and do, so the one-day-at-a-time strategy was valuable.  No two cases are exactly alike, of course, so looking at it from our own personal perspective was helpful in making sense of the information I gathered.

“While you are living with Alzheimer’s, you cannot stop trying to put your life together, no matter how many pieces have broken and become scattered. It was not possible for me to put together the whole Alzheimer’s jigsaw puzzle during the more than ten years that we lived through it. Perhaps, after all, that was not necessary. Maybe some pieces were not meant to fit with other pieces at the time, and maybe some pieces were better off left to the side and not all that important. It might well be that losing some pieces altogether was insignificant. The final picture for every person ends up being different from the image we tried so hard to create when we first looked at the puzzle of life with Alzheimer’s. 

With patience and love, however, you can find enough pieces to make some parts of the whole, which are the pieces that fit the heart of your life together. Place them gently within the framework of the strength you discover in yourself as you survive living with Alzheimer’s, understanding with clarity the words, “… and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

One Response for " One Day at a Time "

  1. Betsy Perkins Betsy Perkins June 28th, 2012 at 2:37 am 1

    Your strength and courage are formidable. Thank you.

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