Update on the ongoing family crisis

I don’t want to burden you with my troubles. I like to keep this site light, but you may notice my occasional absence or wonder whatever happened to the husband I previously wrote about. So, briefly, here’s the story.

Fred, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, is having a very hard time, and subsequently, so am I. When you’re together this long–27 years–and love so deeply, what hurts one hurts you both.

In the past month, Fred has been to the hospital five times. He had surgery a week ago, and was moved, unconscious, the following day to a skilled nursing facility. His condition has drastically deteriorated in the last few months. When I visited yesterday, the first day I saw him awake since the surgery, he could not speak, could not feed himself, and could not walk on his own. He has lost 25 pounds since Christmas. He has become one of those zombies who sits in his wheelchair and dozes or stares into space. The surgery, related to a failed bladder, appears to have been successful, but we don’t know what will happen next. It’s one day at a time. Complicating matters is the fact that Fred is in Albany, Oregon, and I’m on the coast. I’m spending an average of 3 1/2 hours per trip several days a week driving on a long, windy road.

It was only nine days ago that Fred was still able to say “I love you” to me and knew my name. It may have been the last time.

I’m signing off before I get more maudlin. Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease, the sixth most common cause of death in the United States. As the boomers age, the number of people with AD is growing. For information, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website at http://www.alz.org/.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening. Please appreciate every little thing you can do all by yourself and all the many blessings that fill every day. Thank God Fred loved his life and his glass was always not just half full but full to overflowing.

Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and Up Beaver Creek. Most recently, I have published two poetry chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Confessions of a Distracted Catholic. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

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