I penned this 'story' almost two years ago, and re-reading it brings back a lot of sad memories. I hope none of you experience this in any fashion.
"Words can't begin to express how much this disease affects the people around the person with this condition, but I'll try;
My Mother-in-Law, Leona Holder, was exhibiting early signs of dementia late last year and my wife and I were expecting a gradual decline. Her Sister, Dorothy Montgomery, has had the illness for a few years, so it wasn't totally unexpected. We thought we knew what was in store, but ignorance truly is bliss, as we were blind-sided by our ignorance of the realities of this condition.
Unbeknownst to us, Leona convinced herself that she no longer needed to take her blood thinner, which we now think led to one or more strokes that most likely accelerated her dementia. It happened so fast, we were slow to recognize and react. March, April, May and part of June were extremely tough months for my wife to endure. She made several trips between our home in NE Ohio and to her childhood home in southern Indiana.
Initially we thought assisted living would work, but Leona is what the caregivers term 'exit seeking', meaning she'll walk out if a door is opened. So that meant we had to find a different facility the very first week. Wow, was that second one expensive at $8,000 a month! When you're faced with this situation, there may not be a lot of time to do research and shop around, as most of these facilities are full.
We also now know more about the managed care industry and have been inside of three different types of facilities. (Who knew there was more than one type?) It is down right scary to see how many people are affected by this disease, and here's a news flash - some of the people in there are NOT as old as I thought they would've been.
Before our direct experience, I thought I had an idea of what this disease did to people, but there's a number of facets I hadn't considered, as my thoughts were centered on the impact to the person with the disease. There's a lot of heartache and frustration that the rest of the family experiences.
The thing is, these feelings don't last for a week or so, it's a long-term, heart-wrenching burden to bear for everyone affected. I pray we find a cure for this, but if it can't be cured, then maybe we can determine what causes it and help prevent it.
Thanks for reading my story, please contribute if you feel so inclined, as I feel it's a just cause.
10/8/2018 Update - Leona passed away Friday evening. I have never witnessed someone dying, but am grateful that my wife and Leona's sisters were there singing to her as she passed to a better place. It was serene and she passed peacefully. RIP Leona Fae Holder."
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