By the time we moved into the house, I had a newborn. I quit my job almost as soon as I went back from maternity leave. It was too much for my parents to take care of my children and I was not making enough money to pay for childcare. Truthfully, I had no interest in having my children in childcare.
As we age, health changes are to be expected. My father had many changes in his health. Because I was a little preoccupied with raising children, and because I am not a health care expert, I do not remember the exact nature of his health changes. I was fortunate to have a sibling in the health care field who took care of all these things.
What I do remember was prostate cancer. This was a big deal because my children had to stay on our side of the house for a while. That was difficult for both the children and my father.
It also affected his ability to use the bathroom. When my parents went shopping, my father would often disappear into the bathroom and my mom would worry about him after a long time. She would have to send men in to check on Dad. I have often wondered if it was because of the prostate cancer or because he would forget she was waiting for him. It was very frustrating.
Alzheimer’s has many symptoms that are similar to other diseases. At the time my father developed it, people did not know as much as they do now. There is no clear-cut test for Alzheimer’s. You can’t just get your blood taken and have a definitive answer. There is also no cure, but that is a topic for a later post.
Anyway, as my memory tells it, we discussed Parkinson’s and other diseases that could be causing the symptoms. Dad’s gait changed and he stumbled frequently. He would lose his glasses, keys, books…. He would have trouble making bread, something he had done my entire life. All the things that required multiple steps were quite difficult.
It was a long time before a diagnosis was determined, or maybe it wasn’t a long time. It was a difficult time and I don’t know who found it more difficult, the patient or the caregiver.