Friday, August 08, 2008
Hope v. Reality
In the face of worrying situations, I've never been one to just sit around and hope that things turn out okay. I'm not a big "hoper." Oh, I have hope, but I don't often go around relying on it.
I don't wish on a star, I don't just say a prayer.
I'm more comfortable diving in. Problems with friends, family, money, health, home, car, and sometimes just chance encounters: Grab the bull by the horns, and get about finding a solution. Chop-chop! Don't just stand there!
And sometimes, I know, that the solution is to accept that there is no solution. Where some cross their fingers and hope, hope, hope, I find it easier to prepare myself for the inevitable: I'm not going to win the lotto. My son is going to Iraq. My mother has Alzheimer's.
My mother has Alzheimer's.
She was diagnosed 7 years ago, at the age of 59. I've noted before that numbers are gone for her. Numbers are a huge part of one's life: how many meds do I take? What time do I take them? I have no money! Do I have any money? Is it 6 in the morning or 6 in the evening? How do I dial a phone number? What is the date? How long is 6 weeks away? Is it tomorrow?
Lately, I pick her up to find her jeans, even her bra on backwards. Her shirt is inside out, and she wears 1 blue sock and 1 easter sock. She calls, panicked, with chest pains. I race over to find her smiling in the doorway with her purse: "I feel better! Where are we going?"
I blogged, a few weeks ago, about problems I had getting proper treatment for her at the doctor's office. I didn't tell you that I later stomped my feet and demanded that the doctors review all of her records.
The doctor did.
And the doctor called me back.
She may not have Alzheimer's.
My mother has a classic triad of symptoms pointing to something else entirely: "Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus."
It's excessive spinal fluid. It causes dementia, and is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's.
It is treatable. Some symptoms may be reversible.
On Wednesday, we see a neurologist.
If ever there was a time for hope, prayers, or wishing on a star, this is it.
There is no grabbing a bull by its horns, or changing the direction of the day, Wednesday.
Hope is terrifying.
I've discovered this, in the last few weeks: you can't always control what you hope for.
Hold my hand.
It's probably nothing, you know.
Wouldn't it be something, if it is.
I cannot imagine.