Alzheimer's disease · Caregiver · Caregiving

Equilibrium / March 28, 2006

I’ve noticed over the past month or two a change in my mother. She’s just a little bit blanker. I can say something to her and her face registers nothing, not even puzzlement. I repeat what I said, a little louder, and she says I heard you. But how could I tell?

I can see that her mind–our minds–have so many ways of knowing and responding to the outside world, and some of these ways erode dramatically while others remain intact longer. Numbers and letters are becoming ciphers to her, but she sees patterns in shadows and clouds that fascinate her. The other day she said of one of my dogs I don’t think he likes me without a trace of irony. Maybe it’s like someone who loses eyesight and finds their hearing sharpened. We are resourceful at finding equilibrium. I have to believe that this will be true when her disease worsens. I have to believe that other parts of the self can take over and construct a new logic that we might marvel at, if only it could be conveyed.

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