Monday, 19 December 2011

Living With Alzheimer's

Apologies if it isn't exactly the most cheerful subject for today's blog but we took Marion's mum Flo to the local NHS memory clinic today to hear the verdict on the comprehensive tests that she has undergone recently. She's had a brain scan, blood tests and has answered a nurse's extremely thorough questionnaire. Although the nurse had already told us her opinion - she stressed that she is not qualified to diagnose - we had to wait for the consultant to break the news. An extremely kind, friendly and patient consultant (call me Derek) spoke to Flo for almost an hour and told her that her brain scan shows that her brain is atrophying and she has a mixture of mostly Alzheimer's and a little dementia related to blood flow in the brain. Fortunately, Derek speaks with a very strong accent and Alzheimer's sounded like Alzharmers and the diagnosis didn't sink in with Flo. And I honestly think that that was no bad thing as she now thinks that her brain is shrinking a little and the pills that he prescribed for her will help. "I'm going to have my brain sorted" she says. In reality Derek put great emphasis on the fact that things will only get worse but the drugs may help her to calm down.

It's now a matter of trying to make her as happy as we can as this ghastly affliction runs its course over the next few years. It has seemed a very rapid decline over the last couple of months and it is hard to believe that just five weeks ago she was (albeit with a great deal of difficulty) living on her own in her own flat. We put her flat for sale as she will eventually need the proceeds to pay for her care but the estate agent is not exactly enthusiastic about the chances of a quick sale despite it being put on the market at just a fraction above the price she paid for it in 1996 and the fact that it is in immaculate decorative order. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed for her.

Marion was struck down by a mystery bug yesterday. I had a horrible feeling that it was the curry that I made on Saturday night from the leftover turkey we had in the freezer but I ate more than she did and was perfectly well. She had a crippling headache, shivering and stomach cramp and stayed in bed for the whole day and that's something I can't remember her doing since she had pneumonia in 1985. I'm happy to say that she's a lot better today and has managed to eat a poached egg and a bit of toast. I hope that the trip to the memory clinic didn't take too much out of her.

On a more positive note I found a £10 book token today. It was in a card that my mum sent me absolutely ages ago and I somehow didn't spend it. I'm trying to support our local bookshop so went in and treated myself to "I Partridge" the autobiography of the great man himself. Mind you, it's little wonder that local bookshops are struggling. Although the fixed price agreement no longer exists the shop sold it at full list price (£20) whereas I could have popped into Tesco and bought it for just over a tenner. It's a wonderful bookshop and I don't begrudge them a penny but how can any small retailer survive with competition like this? I just dipped into the book; can't wait to read chapters like "My Drink And Drugs Heck".