Will I Remember It? | Alzheimer’s in the First Person | Barbara Taylor Vaughan and Melissa Vaughan
This post is a compilation of writing about different days by Barbara and Melissa of their experiences watching each other navigate their intertwined lives. Side-by-side, they demonstrate great love, courage and the challenge of living with Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s as the diseases progress, both as a patient, and as a caregiver.
Barbara writes: “Spent most of the day at the hospital with Missy. I had a nice time. The people there were very nice and very concerned about taking care of me while she was being seen. Missy’s has been falling down a lot lately. I wish I could help her but I cannot. On the way home I asked if we could drive down by the river, we sat and ate our lunch in the car…it is a beautiful day. Before we ate, I said a prayer, to make Missy feel better and for me not to be so much of a burden. Her MS is getting worse. My Alzheimer’s is getting worse. I wondered as we sat looking at the river, how many more lunches we will get to eat here together? How many more times will I go to the hospital with her to hold her hand…will I remember it? If not, I have my memory of today, me and Missy, sitting in the car on a beautiful sunny day, watching the river barges, eating our lunch, and her holding my hand.”
Melissa writes: “My mothers Alzheimer’s is getting worse. She has very very good days, then a day or two of awful awful days. She seems to be losing her ability to remember how to walk, how to hold things, how to perform tasks that have been simple for her until now. She is aware that she is unable to do these things and it is frustrating her. Her mind comes and goes, most of the time she is smarter than I am on a good day, but then has hours of not knowing who I am, or not remembering what has happened an hour before. I was so upset tonight because she was bad this afternoon and Mike told me, “But she is still so happy. Even in the bad.” I had not even realized, that even in her frustration, she is smiling and giggly, and happy. She is always smiling. It took Mike to remind me, “One day at a time.” Tonight when I was putting her to bed, she sang happy birthday to my dad. She told me how many birthdays he had been gone, and sang again. One day at a time.”