Saturday, September 13, 2008

Alzheimer's Crash Course and My Ten-Minute Miracle

DCP_2674 This is a photo of my 98 year old grandmother and my father.

I know that Jon did great job with the kids. Some of the moms commented that they were all dressed for school and were fairly clean :) that's a plus.

Alzheimer's Crash Course

I made the 24-hour trek home by car, train, plane, another plane, and car again to basically tell my dying father goodbye. The Dr. wanted to call Hospice and we all know what that means. But, when I arrived he had awakened and asked for food! Wow! I guess they underestimated the drive to live!

I feel like I was immersed into a different world for two weeks where I learned so much about this disease while I was back in Texas. (and my mom has been in this "twilight zone" for at least two years now...pray for her, it's exhausting!)

My father has Alzheimer's and brain damage from a hip surgery.

So it's difficult to attribute which radical actions come from which horrific disease.

Alzheimer's affects the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. He has lost the ability to do just about everything. Well, he can walk ...but he runs into walls. He can eat by himself ...sometimes. He can't seem to find the toilet. He calls and feeds the "imaginary" dog. He can't express simple words and thoughts. It's really surreal to see someone you love do such strange things.

My Ten-Minute Miracle

In the two weeks that I had with him my father was completely irrational and incoherent. But I believe God gave me a very lucid ten-minute window with him ...just for me! I told him who I was and he remembered having a girl named Robin. (although he was confused because he thought Robin was still a baby.) I am so thankful to God for the 10 minutes that He allowed me to talk with my father. He asked me all the right "fatherly" questions. He asked me how my family was. He asked me and if I moved back home to Texas and if my husband treated me good. When I told him what a great man I married, his response was, " I knew you would pick a good deserve it." He even asked if I was having a good life. I answered yes. His response was that he had a good life,too. I began to cry ...ya know, the "ugly cry"...the one where your whole body moves and despite all your effort...sound still comes out. Then, he said ...I should have known that you were Robin because your voice is so kind and soft. He then asked if I had to go back to Germany.

That's the hardest part about what we do. We have to be an ocean away from those that we want to be with. I know that the world is so small, but it seems pretty big when I can't hop in the car and see family. Plus, my mom is always reminding me that she wants to see "her" grandchildren.

Well, enough ranting. My father will be in heaven soon. That's our goal. Heaven. It will all be worth it...but those of us left down here sure need God's mercy and grace in the meantime.


Kim Pospisil said...

My heart goes out to you Robin. I'll keep you in my prayers as you wait for the Lord to bring him home and I'll keep praying for you during the hard times afterward.

Thank you for the difficult sacrifice you are making to be far away from home so that others will have a chance to meet your dad in heaven one day. It does not go unnoticed.

The Bible describes the feet of those who bring the Good News as beautiful. You must have gorgeous toes. :)

XtnYoda said...

I'm assuming that your dear father has gone on to be with the Lord by now. I would like to share a little thing I wrote a couple of days ago for a family facing the same trial.


There is really no sense to make of this.
We've seen it
Touched it
Smelled it
Tried to fix it
And hated it.

We live a living grief...
like groggy, stummbling Zombies
yet painfully alert
we are
dreading the next event
the next report
the next news.
the next ... who knows what?

We are tormented by guilt
before we can even do anything for which to feel guilty.
We anticipate the guilt
like the stranger walking
through unknown neighborhoods
in the still of night
hearing his every shallow breath
like the roar of ocean waves
foaming with fear.

And in it all
we look to you.

It is all we know to do.
Please, be kind.

If you know anybody else it might help feel free to share it.

God Bless.