Bill was eyeing himself in the mirror as I began my morning routine. He always was an early riser; much more so than me. It was Saturday and I was scheduled to work with a group of volunteers at a local shelter for the better part of the day. Bill, as usual, would stick around the house, mess about in the yard or in the garage, and wait for my post-lunch return. We’d then head into town together and do a little shopping and maybe get a quick bite to eat. This was our typical weekend.
Having finished dressing, I turned to head into the bathroom to retrieve a pair of earrings I’d left there the night before. I noticed Bill was just staring into the mirror with a perplexed look on his face. Then, he turned towards me and looked intently. I asked him what was wrong. He said, “Nothing,” but I could tell something was up. Within 15 seconds, his look turned from confusion to fear. And then it hit me: he looked lost.
Immediately, I was struck with fear myself.
I walked over and pulled him by his arm to bring him to the bed to sit down. He pulled away instinctively but conceded. He sat there with me as I interrogated him, trying to find out what was wrong. Finally, he seemed to relax a little bit. Eventually, he told me for a few minutes, he didn’t know where he was.
Having been around long to know a warning sign when I saw one, I immediately phoned the on-call physician at our doctor’s office. He made an appointment with us for the following Monday. That was a year ago and began our journey down the path of Alzheimer’s.
Thankfully, his progress has been slow. His ‘episodes’, as we call them, are not as frequent as we’ve seen in some people we’ve known. Through various therapies and exercises (most researched by family members), we’ve managed to help Bill cope with his condition. Life is different now. I’m fearful of leaving him alone too long or letting him go out by himself. I don’t volunteer much any more.
J. Morris, FL