Thursday, December 29, 2011


Lest anyone think I'm revealing family secrets in this blog, I can assure you I have ex-husband Alan's full permission to do this blog.

The day we got the diagnosis, we sat in the car outside the clinic. I told him what was wrong with him. I told him, "The only way we can get through this is to keep a sense of humor and laugh our way through it as much as we can." He agreed and that's exactly what we do. By the time he got diagnosed, he was way past early-onset. How did I miss what was happening!

One day I came home from work. During dinner I asked Alan what he had done that day. "I painted the garage door," he bragged. Oh crap, I thought. Jumping up I headed for the newly painted door and threw it open.

Now just imagine what a painted door would look like if a 4-year-old got hold of a can of paint and a dripping paint brush. Bright bordello pink!

"ARGHHHHHHH!", I screamed in a voice that probably rattled the neighbor's windows. "What the hell were you thinking!" I snarled. He just stood and grinned at me. "You paint that door back white by tomorrow." And he did. Well, to be more accurate he painted over the pink.

When I came home the next day the door was bright peach. I came unglued again. He just stood and grinned at me. The third day the door was turquoise. Finally the fourth day the door returned to white. Each time I blew a cork, he would just stand and grin. I didn't realize that was just a reflexive grin. He was not mocking me like I thought he was.

He was attempting to apply for a job but I finally realize he was going to the same places every day. When I told him this, he became angry, because he had no knowledge of applying there before. I couldn't convince him.

I told him he could be more help to me if he stayed home, took care of the house, and let me work. He would do the dishes and that was a huge  help. The big problem was I never could find anything when I cooked dinner. It was a frustrating exercise every night to find my pans, my spoons, etc. Utensils, pans, and bowls would disappear never to be seen again. Bowls would be found where the pans went, a pan would appear in the cabinet with bowls or in the food pantry. Alan had always been forgetful but this was over the top even for him. He had also always been passive aggressive so I thought he was doing this deliberately.

My blood pressure suffered. I had a lead ball in my stomach. Headaches became normal. The doctor doubled my anti-depressant. Then added another so I was now taking two different anti-depressants. This is what happens to caretakers. We lose our minds.

All the while, Alan thought I was lying to him and nothing was wrong. He just didn't believe anything was wrong. He felt normal.

At this point I took Alan to a doctor. A fairly new doctor I should add. He did some basic tests, asking questions. He then assured me Alan did NOT have alzheimer's. A month later I got a second opinion. That doctor sent us to the memory clinic. Lest you think this all happened a few years ago, oh no. We only received the diagnosis a little over 2 months ago. Frontal temporal lobe complicated alzheimers. Translation, our world, as we knew it, was getting ready to take a nose dive.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Being a private investigator, I spend a fair amount of time in court. I'm sitting outside the court a few months ago when the prosecuting attorney approached me. He bent down and quietly said in my ear, "I'm so sorry to hear about Alan."

I looked up at him. "What about Alan?, I asked. He said he had been told that Alan had early onset alzheimer's. "That's is bull," I told him.

Alan was still living in my house. We lived on different ends of the house, passing each other occasionally in the kitchen or him coming into my end to watch television since he didn't have cable.  At that time I began to watch.....

How had I missed it! He was getting crazy as a bedbug. Oh yeah. That's how it got by me. His thinking had always been that way. He'd always lost things and forgotten things. Sometimes I had called him the absentminded professor.

He had never been responsible where money was concerned but in the last year it had become much worse with me having to clean up his financial messes, just like his mama had always done. He was working two jobs and all of a sudden lost one of them. Then 2 months later lost the other one. Now THAT was different! He had always been a really hard worker, being hyperactive he could work hours that would kill the rest of us.

At that point, he was at the house ALL of the time where I could watch. He was rummaging through MY things. It was easy to spot because every drawer was left standing wide open. If I asked him about anything, his response was always the same. "I don't remember." He didn't know why he'd gotten fired.

By this time I was becoming frustrated, angry and sure he was lying when he denied doing any of the stuff he had done. I had enough and filed for divorce. That was not the end. It was only the beginning of me becoming a crazy caretaker.