Archive for September, 2011

Provincial Life

Shortly after I made my promises to you about writing more often and regular diary entries from my holiday, I arrived in Bulgaria on 2nd July, 2011.

My grandfather picked me up. At this time I was made aware that my grandmother was no longer living with him in East Bulgaria, but she had moved to her family house in North Bulgaria, where some of her sisters were available to look after her.

My grandmother always loved the North, it’s mountainous and beautiful, it’s her home, where she grew up singing songs and living a beautiful provincial life.

Prior to me trip I was already made aware that things were becoming more serious as the condition was getting worse. One aunty called me to tell me how my grandmother was getting lost and disappearing when going for walks, already lost her handbag with phones, ID and the like. At this point, she needed constant supervision. Another aunty called to inform me that my grandmother had now walked in to a strangers house, demanding that the people leave, thinking it was her home. Ofcourse, the people were shocked- who is this stranger, crazed woman, coming into our home?



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Photo courtesy of TopNews.in

Hi folks, I known I have been neglecting the blog, for which I’m sorry for. OK maybe neglecting is taking it lightly, I straight out deserted the blog for a while. There is a very good reason for it, my grandmother is very sick and the family are really struggling at the moment. You see, my grandmother suffers with Alzheimer’s Disease.

And so, in order to keep some momentum, and even offload some things off my chest, I will dedicate the next few posts to Alzheimer’s and my experience with this tragic disease, how it has affected me and my family so far. However, I cannot promise that the quality will be the same as usual because my mind is in a thousand places and the issues discussed are very difficult and sensitive.

“Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is also known as Aleheimer Disease, senile dementia of the Alzheimer type, primary degenarative demention of the Alzheimer’s type or simpley as Alheimers is the most common form of dementia.  Alzheimer disease, senile dementia of the Alzheimer type, primary degenerative dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, or simply Alzheimer’s, is the most common form of dementia. This incurable, degenerative, and terminal disease was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him.[1] Most often, it is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age,[2] although the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur much earlier. In 2006, there were 26.6 million sufferers worldwide. Alzheimer’s is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050.

This is indeed quote from Wikipedia, not because I’m lazy, but because every single moment is spent worrying over, take care of or escaping my grandma so that I can touch base with myself and I’m capable to look after her again. In ordinary circumstances, I wouldn’t use wiki as a source however, I find the article here on Alheimers to be really informative, well written and backed up with tons of referrences.

My story with Alzheimers happened and developed very quickly. Around a year ago, or maybe slightly more, my grandmother began to show signs of forgetfulness such as completely forgetting conversations which we repeat for her several times. In that year, my grandfather took my nan to several neurologist to prescribe her something for her symptoms, in the meanwhile me and my mum made nothing of it. She was taking some medication, but my grandparents were not making a fuss about it.

In March, this year, everything changed. My grandparents came to visit and this visit was the marking of the beginning of our nightmare ordeal with this disease.

My grandmother (and spiritual grandmother) who is around 65, visited me in our home and did not recognise her only child and granddaughter.  I was in shock, I suffered with my experience of depersonalization and derealization caused by a sever anxiety/panic attack when I had a first hand experience of the “evil” yet invisible to the naked eye side effects of stress and anxiety. You would not believe what personal hell sufferers can go through, even with mild symptoms of these disorders. Going through it myself has really opened my eyes to what mental health complications can really be like and how much we take our bodies and minds for granted. I really urge people going through high amounts of stress and anxiety to read into depersonalization and derealization and their side effects, which could also be related to chronic stress and anxiety disorders.

In March, my grandmother seemed more gentle and fragile than usual. I knew there was a problem when she began to get lost from the bedroom door to the living room, toilet or kitchen. Believe me, it’s a small apartment and one she has been visiting for many years.

I looked in her eyes, and I tried to find something wrong. I half expected to find a crazed stare, or something different in her eyes. I could not believe that a woman who had been so healthy all her life would suddently deteriorate in such a tragic way. There was nothing, this was the same grandmother, but she was looking at me directly and asking “how are you related to these people?” (talking about my grandfather and mother). It was becoming obvious that there were other side effects to this cruel disease, paranoia was one. My grandmother was certain that my grandfather was working against her, but this was nothing new. Who would have thought this is part of the disease, she was never his biggest fan. According to my grandmother, marriage is sleeping with the enemy in the same bed. 😀 romantic, huh? But then it was beginning to get inappropriate when she would accuse him and later my mother of stealing from her handbag and the stories began to get a little more unbelieavable than usual. Worse still, she would get dressed to walk out of our home so that she can go to the Police so she can report “the thieves”.

My dear grandmother and I are the closest in my family you see, we are the bestest friends. She would tell me all her secrets and she was everything to me that a mother should be- my loving refuge, my biggest fan and fierce protector. Me and her against the world.

I was always used to my grandmother confiding in me about things, which she does not tell my mother or grandmother. But this was becoming unusual, she would not cause drama and think logically about things. So why now is she on her way out of the door, wanting to report our family for stealing little bits and pieces from her bag…?

Still this was nothing, compared to what really worried me. I cannot explain to you what happened in my heart when I saw my fragile grandmother get lost those days in our apartment, this vulnerability was much worse than the pain of her looking directly at me and asking who I am.

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