Markers on Our Journey

One of my AlzAuthors colleagues and a Twitter friend, Barbara Ivey, has written a unique “book” called Patterns in Time. It is by far the “tidiest” summary of a family’s experience with Alzheimer’s I have read – 8 pages including the front and back covers. Despite its brevity, it includes relevant information about the disease, key resources for help, and a remarkably complete summary of her mother’s Alzheimer’s along with the roles that she and her father played.

I have been particularly taken with her timeline that shows key events that occurred along the way. It reminds me of the admonition of sales trainers that a good sales person needs a strong “30-second sales pitch.” Ivey’s message is brief and to the point, but it tells her story. One reason I find her approach fascinating is that it is the exact opposite of what I have tried to do in this blog. I have saved my journal in several different files and haven’t checked the number of pages since launching it as a blog in January 2018. I seem to remember it was over 1500 pages at that time. It must be over 2000 by now. For the most part, I believe it is accomplishing my objective. It is a detailed account of our experience Living with Alzheimer’s. The problem is that it is too long for anyone other than close friends or family to read in its entirety.

For some time, I have thought about using it as a resource for a book that would tell our story in a more “digestible” format than an almost daily journal. It might have been helpful for me to have kept a timeline similar to the one in Ivey’s book. I didn’t do that, but I have noted a number of markers along the way. During the first few years, there were very few. Now they appear much more frequently. Creating a timeline from those that have occurred and all the new ones could be the basis for editing my blog and turning it into a book.

Some of the key markers of the past include Kate’s diagnosis, our planning for the rest of our lives (travel, eating out, music, visiting family and friends, etc.) Kate’s giving up her computer, our last international trip, giving up her yardwork, our last trip to her home in Fort Worth, our last trip to Chautauqua, our last visits to our children’s homes, the forgetting of the names of her family, our last movie, no longer attending evening music and theater performances, and the near elimination of trips to Panera and Barnes &. Noble. Of course, there were many others as well.

We have recently experienced two new markers. Both of them involve Kate’s increasing problems of mobility. I used a handicap placard for the first time when we met friends for dinner last week. I had just gotten it the week before. We find convenient parking most places we go, so I had not felt a need for a placard before now. In this particular case, we were going to a restaurant in a downtown office building. It can be difficult to find on street parking, and the parking garage requires a long walk. In the future, I am sure I will find other occasions when having the placard will be useful.

Kate has been having more problems getting up from chairs at home as well as the sofa. After lunch yesterday, we drove across town to the La-Z-Boy showroom to look at lift chairs. The only thing I told Kate was that I wanted to look at a chair that might be easier for her to get out of. She wasn’t excited.

When we walked into the showroom, we were greeted by a sales woman who took us to the appropriate section. She had quickly noted Kate’s size and showed us one that she thought might be the best fit. Kate took a seat and loved it. This was before demonstrating how it works. Once we had done that, she liked it even better. I went ahead and bought it although it will be 4-6 weeks before delivery. It will also have the advantage of reclining so that she can rest in the chair rather than the sofa. I think she’s going to like it.

These are just two among many other things that are happening now. I will talk about some of them in other posts.

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