Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Work as Respite

In the beginning of this journey, I HATED going into work. The thought of leaving Mike at home alone during the day made me sad beyond measure. At that time, my dad was coming over and of course my mom and Walter would visit. We had purchased Gizmo as another way to keep Mike company. It just hurt so much when the kids would leave for school and me for work, and Mike would be here by himself. As the disease progressed, Mike couldn't be left alone, and my mom and dad would make sure they were here with him until I got home from work. That was of course until he went through the anger and agitation stage. My once quiet, peaceful and loving husband who had NEVER raised his voice ever, punched a hole in our kitchen wall. That was because my mom had to lock the back door so he wouldn't run out. Instead of being upset with him, we all felt so helpless. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that his lashing out was a result of his fear and possible acknowledgment that he was no longer free to come and go as he pleased. His freedom was gone. I had to make the agonizing decision to admit Mike to the hospital a so they could regulate his medication. After spending the entire summer in the hospital, he came home much more under control. This was what we all needed to be done in order for us to keep Mike at home with us.

Seven and 1/2 years later, here I am. I actually look forward to going to work. It's not that I don't love Mike anymore, in fact, I feel like I love him more, it's just that the time I spend at work, is usually the only time that I have to "get away". My work is my respite. For all the crazy clients, annoying people and crazy phone calls, it's usually the only time I have to be away from the 24/7 stress of Alzheimer's Disease.

We've all come a long way since that dreadful day in April of 2001 when Mike was diagnosed.

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