ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

In the past few years my sweet mother-in-law has suffered greatly with Alzheimer’s disease. Over this time she has been cared for faithfully by my father-in-law. He is so dedicated in his love and ministry to her. When I read the following story it made me think of them.

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s disease.

As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised, and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?” He smiled as he patted my hand and said, “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.”

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life.” True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be. The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have. “Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.”


“Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7)”

Nearly every family in America has had someone that has been effected by Alzheimer’s disease. It is been said that 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s.

Have you had someone in your family that has suffered with Alzheimer’s?

Subscribe / Share

Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
17 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Brie says:

    Not in my family, but while doing a service project with a camp here in Oklahoma City, I got to go to a nursing home. We cleaned, and talked to people, and sang, and we saw this older couple walking around.

    The gentleman introduced himself- I don’t remember his given name, but he said that he’d always been called Bill because he arrived at the first of the month with the rest of the bills. He had his hand on his wife’s arm and was walking with her around the hallways. As they walked away, I overheard their conversation, and it went like this.

    Her: “I need to go home! It’s late, and I need to go home!”

    Him: “Well, it’s almost dark outside, do you think maybe we should stay here tonight and go home tomorrow?”

    Her: “That sounds like a good idea.”

    They walked off down the hall, and one of the staff people noticed me being sniffly. She told me that they go through those same lines every night. The lady had Alzheimer’s and Bill couldn’t take care of her by himself anymore, so he put her in the nursing home- and moved in with her.

    So, so sweet. It is so important to take care of family (and other people, but especially family) when they need you like that. The WAY that you are able to take care of them varies based on circumstance, but the emotion behind it doesn’t. I feel like it is one of the most important ways you can honor someone you love.

  2. TREY MORGAN says:

    Brie – very well said. Thanks for sharing the story.

  3. jel says:

    thanks for the good cry!

  4. Jeff Slater says:

    Yup — my grandfather, who passed away in 1990. And now it appears that my Mom is in the early stages.

    Alzheimer’s is a terrible thing.

  5. Kim says:

    My grandmother has Alzheimer’s. We have watched her deteriorate before our eyes. It has been excruitiating, frustrating. and confusing. My grandmother was instrumental in teaching me the importance of being connected to your church family. She was an incredibly artistic woman and I learned so much from her. However, as gifted as she was, she was not a content person. Her lack of contentment affected everything she did and made it difficult to be around her at times.
    She is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s and does not know any of us. She can’t even dress or feed herself anymore. I have often wondered why God has kept her tied to earth. My mom brought that to light for me. For the first time ever, I believe my grandmother is content. She seems perfectly happy and at peace in her present circumstances. As hard as it is on us to watch her slip away, I am thankful that in this final stage of her life she has found peace.

  6. Greg says:

    Great story! Our family has not been affected by this yet, but I may be the first one to spoil the record the way my memory is (or isn’t) these days. Patrick Mead has a very interesting blog on this today. Check him out: http://www.patrickmead.net (BTW, he has two Ph.D. degrees in this field of neurology.)

  7. dgeorge says:

    I appreciate you sharing your story. My family has been affected by dementia, and I do think it presents an opportunity for families to grow closer to a loved one as they recognize their interdependency and shared frailty, and appreciate the necessity of coming together to provide care for another human being. I’ve always though the Christian notion of agape applied well to caregiving.

    Also, I think we need to be careful not to just see dementia as a tragedy. Although I know personally the struggles and challenges of severe memory loss, we can often take a step back and see that we are projecting tragedy and suffering onto our affected loved one, even though they in actual fact may be quite serene. I am not a fervent Christian (yet), but I think of the passage in Corinthians “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Also thought I’d suggest a book for interested people to read–it’s one that I co-authored, which St Martin’s Press has recently published, called “The Myth of Alzheimer’s: What You Aren’t Being Told About Today’s Most Dreaded Diagnosis.” Check out our web site at http://www.themythofalzheimers.com. All the best, and thanks again for sharing, everyone,
    take care,
    Danny George

  8. leslie says:

    my grandfather had alzheimers. my grandmother (his wife) had dementia.

    it was strange but the only person my grandfather knew and called by name accurately was my father (up to the end). this was hard on the siblings who lived close most of their lives.

    it was easier to get to know my grandmother as her condition appeared and strengthened.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Bob & I met my uncle from Austin yesterday in Sweetwater to take my aunt from Happy back to Happy.
    My aunt who is almost 80 had been to see her sister(76)who lives in a care facility in Austin who has Alzheimers. A couple of weeks ago
    my uncle called and told us my aunt would probably not live through the night. She weighs 84 lbs., can’t feed herself, can’t walk, and not sure whether she recognizes her husband. A few days
    went by and she rallied a little.
    Last Thursday her sister from Happy
    went to see her. She thought she
    recognized her.
    My aunt said they had the most amazing day with her on Friday.
    She told family members she loved them, they sang hymns, my uncle sang “You Are My Sunshine” and she sang with him. She said her son’s name when he talked to her on the phone. Things she had not done in a long time. Who know how long it
    will last, but family and my aunt
    got to spend some precious moments
    with her sister.
    My Aunt in Austin reminds me a lot of your mother-in-law -a very sweet,loving, hospitable Christian
    woman with a very caring, loviing
    husband.
    May God give these couples an extra
    measure of love, support, and strength during
    “The Long Good-Bye”

    Give our love to your family,
    Irita

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think Alzheimer’s is one of the saddest diseases that I know about. I have a family of cousins,(all women)who have all had it but one. The next to the youngest one has been in a nursing home for several years. Her husband a small man in stature goes to feed her every meal every day. He is one of the biggest men I know. “oh Lord that we could all be like him in his loving kindness and heart.” gmj

  11. Cornelius Crew says:

    yes- both my grandfather and kent’s grandmother had this terrible disease. Being as how I am so much younger than my cousins, I have NO memories of my grandfather, and really never felt as if he was my grandfather, all b/c his mind was stolen from him long before I came along. So the only grandfather that I knew was b/c of other’s stories. I mostly just became afraid of nursing homes b/c of the terrible condition he was in. At such a young age it was hard to see past the yelling and terrible things this disease causes, and to see a real person inside. Others would steal my dolls when we we would go to visit or grab at me as we walked down the halls. This is not a disease I would wish on anyone and just hope that a cure will be found soon!

  12. Cressie says:

    I hate that Granny has to go through this. It is a sad thing to see her do. She knows who I am but she calls Madison Hannah. I just let her. When Rhea had Berkley, Granny held her and she had the best smile on her face. It was nice to see her so happy! I hope my marriage is half of what they have. Pawpaw is such a great man.

  13. TREY MORGAN says:

    Cressie – Pawpaw is a great man! :)

  14. Carol D. O'Dell says:

    When I was in seminary, I had a professor give us the “working definition” of integrity:
    He said integrity was like pasteurized milk.
    Before pasteurization, the milk fats would separate. Not pretty. You’d have to shake your milk to get it mixed thoroughly.
    Then, one thing pasteurization did for milk, (along with making it safer to drink) was to allow the fats to suspend and stay all mixed together.
    The last glass of milk tastes as good as the first.

    My point here is, our integrity will be tested many times over. Alzheimer’s and such debilitating diseases may test us to the bitter edge–as spouses, daughters, sons, and caregivers.

    We have to love them when they can’t love us. We have to hold their memories when theirs begins to wane.

    It isn’t always easy–I know. I took care of my mom who had Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s for close to 19 years–the last almost three years in my home while raising our three daughters. There were many dark nights of the soul, but I had to make sure that I was a good example for my own daughters and that my love–and integrity–was the same–through and through.

    Thanks for your blog.

    ~Carol D. O’Dell
    Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

    available on Amazon
    http://www.mothering-mother.com

  15. Stephanie says:

    thank you for sharing that story….it really hits home..

  16. Jenny Close says:

    The challenge by the preacher for his listeners to have sex for thirty days is so strongly contrasted with this man’s love for his wife. Probably, she will never be able to be his sexual partner again but, as he says, “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.” Sex does not have to be a daily ritual for a mate to show his spouse how much he loves her. True love DOES “always persevere” (1 Corinthians 13:7). How long does true sex last???

  17. roadtripray says:

    I used to play for a gospel band that visited various retirement centers and nursing homes. Before then I had always lumped all “old folks’ homes” into the same category, but quickly learned there are country club-like retirement villages, homes for those with severe alzheimer’s and other diseases, and every kind in between.

    The folks at the retirement villages were usually active and vibrant, and were great company over dinner. The alzheimer’s patients sometimes unaware that we were there. But sometimes, you’d see a handful of people in the audience light up and even tap a toe that hadn’t been tapped in years. It wasn’t the most dynamic audience to play to, but I cherished the opportunity to share music with those for whom music brought them to a time and place of joy. Those people taught me so much about joy.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

Get The TreyMorgan.net App

To get the TreyMorgan.net app on your iPhone, iPad or iTouch

Subscribe

In an RSS Reader:


Or By Email:




Powered by FeedBlitz

Feed the Dump People

Archives

Follow Me On Twitter

Trey Morgan
@TreyMorgan
Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
  • forgiving is moving on. No hard feelings. No more treating them differently. If you can't do that, have you really forgiven?
  • Was appalled that McDonalds would give me a senior discount on my coffee this morning until I realized I'd just bought coffee for .41 cents.
  • The TOP 3 Mythical Creature costumes for this coming Halloween are: 1. The Dragon 2. The Unicorn 3. A Good Presidential Candidate
  • RT : Maybe the Astros would have beat the Rangers more than four times if they had someone like a Carlos Gomez.
  • It's okay to laugh, it's funny. https://t.co/xgoNlkql1n

Grab a Honduras Blog Button

Trey Morgan

My Web Host