"I don't know why you have all this...stuff...that talks about memory loss," she'll say. She forgets that she printed the information out years ago, that she's been collecting stacks, possibly reams of articles, hoarding them in a box, away from friends and family. She's been aware of the problem for more time than we ever knew, it seems. It's a shame she never had the fortitude to see a doctor, get examined, allow someone to prescribe medicine. Perhaps then, where were are now would be someplace different.
But she didn't get any help and we aren't in a different place, and I ask myself now, where are we exactly? Over the last few weeks, she let me come in and do so many things: cook, laundry, medication, a few bills. She fought hard on the last task--I almost had to arm-wrestle her to let me write those checks. It took two minutes for me to do something it now takes her at least ten times that many minutes to do. Could she see how easy it was for me? Did she recognize a smidgen of defeat that day?
I thought so, at first, because after that battle, a few more arose, and I won each and every time. I cleared out a few files, and brought her to an appointment at the senior resource center. Sure the appointment came on the tail end of Dad's fall, as if his falling prompted medical professionals to evaluate any and all adults in the home. Yet years ago, she would have never gone with me to that appointment. She'd have dug her heels into the ground and refused to attend. She would have pulled out a snippy attitude when the nurse practitioner started to ask questions. Quite possibly, she would have gotten up and left the office once she realized why she was there.
She never got angry that morning. In fact, I remember telling my sisters that the word of that day was resignation. She was resigned, at least in those moments, to the fact that life had changed for her. She surrendered to me and what I asked of her. In her confused moments, that resignation bleats louder than the anger ever does. Louder than the anger ever did.
Which means right now, at this moment, we are on the precipice of something. A something that could be a diagnosis. A something that my sisters and me have been working towards for years. A something that we will never forget and yet, we might not remember, either. A something that keeps me hoping, keeps me loving, keeps me connected, keeps me writing. A something that will change our lives forever.
|Photo from the Mayo Clinic, found here.|