Documenting the Memory Loss

As several months passed after the visit at Christmas where dad first overtly exhibited signs of mental distress, we watched closely to see what else would manifest itself. It became evident that dad was not capable of handling the family finances at tax time. It’s not like there is a lot of money to account for, but dad had always been meticulous with his finances and records. We barely made it through the tax season, trying to find lost receipts and papers. The hardest part of this time was the fact that my dad grew up in a generation that did not discuss their private business. You didn’t air your dirty laundry in front of everyone. Until I took over the finances for them last year, I had no idea how much money they had or didn’t have. So because of this private nature, it was hard to figure out exactly what was going on. My mom is not the most reliable fact person and the situation scared and intimidated her. She very much resented the things that dad could no longer do and were now thrust upon her. She did not take the role reversal very well.
One of the benefits of living in a small town is that you have the same doctors and pharmacy that you have had for years. I wrote down meticulous notes on the things and changes that I had observed and emailed it to dad’s doctor. I immediately got a phone call from him asking for more clarification and the beginning of a diagnosis of dementia. That is the scariest word that I have ever heard. But my sister put it into perspective, at least it is not Alzheimers, which brings more physical issues with it. Since then I have done tons of research to educate myself as to the difference in the two, the symptoms and unfortunately the lack of treatment for both of them. We set an appointment for dad with his doctor and I told him that I would always be there to go with him. (we all live two hours away).
In a span of a couple of months, everything in our life had changed. I prepared questions and did research to get ready for his doctor’s appointment. In the grand scheme of things, it was relatively uneventful. The doctor had dad take a short verbal memory test. He asked him a lot of questions. He asked my mom and I even more questions and in the end, the diagnoses was dementia. (He did a lot of blood and urine tests to rule out a physical cause and scheduled him for a scan/mri with a doctor in Greenville). But what we came out of that doctor’s office with was a horrible diagnosis and not much hope that there was anything to do to change that. Dad didn’t say much, mom was trying to figure out how all of this would affect her and I got out of sight and cried most of the way home.

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