Thursday, October 11, 2012
Alzheimer’s Diary: ‘Pity Party’ interrupted by reality – a hug, a kiss, knowing nothing is sure
(This is part of an ongoing diary as Ginger Sanders shares the emotional journey she is taking with her husband, John, as they discover his onset of Alzheimer’s. Over 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease; one in eight older Americans has it. Ginger and John Sanders did not expect to be among those statistics. Ginger’s touching story puts a real face and real name on the statistics and – she hopes – will help all of us understand what so many of our fellow Americans, loved ones and neighbors are going through.)
By Ginger Sanders
Special to KyForward
There are days I have my own pity party. I get overwhelmed with work, church, family and making sure My John has everything he needs. There are times I get aggravated and wonder just how much I can handle. It is not just normal life, but now you have someone that you watch over, whether they want you to or not.
I get scared. When John forgets something or can’t find the right word (which we all do), I am not sure if it is the Alzheimer’s or just life. I am frightened that his mental capacity is deteriorating, but then he does something like, answer my daughter’s iPhone with no instruction.
I am circumspect of everything John does. Needless to say, I tend to micro-manage the dickens out of our lives. It is not easy being married to someone who wants to save the world (minute by minute) and especially My John. Honestly, it can be tiring to be married to me.
I lament, mostly to myself, how unfair it is that this is happening to us. I complain to God that we are good, caring people so why should this happen to us. There are times I rage at the unfairness of the world and just have to take a walk.
The truth is everything is unfair. It’s unfair for children to get cancer, or the elderly to be neglected, or people to go without food, or wonder if their homes will be bombed.
Ginger and John's grandson, 6-year-old Carson.
And then something happens. It is a simple thing, like our 6-year-old grandson, Carson, running to John and hugging his legs. My faith and sanity is restored.
Last week on the way to our monthly MUSC MRI, we received news that my brother-in-law, Paul (a precious man), had had a heart attack. This was out of the blue. His cholesterol and blood pressure were fine but still, he had a heart attack. The good news is my brother-in-law is ok and recovering. As a matter of fact, he was brought to MUSC Cardiology Section of the MUSC’s hospital while we were there. It brought what we are going through into perspective. None of us are promised a certain amount of time on this sweet Earth.
So with this reality check, I pulled myself back up, kissed My John and enjoyed the day.
Once again, I am recharged and committed not to waste a moment of this precious life and my life with John.
Although Ginger is a vice president of sales for a renowned antimicrobial company (SAS Global Inc.), her main objective is to stymie the onslaught of Alzheimer’s on her husband, John. Ginger lives with her husband and three dogs on their farm in Lawrenceburg. A dedicated family person, she and her husband have 11 grandsons. Ginger Sanders is a transplant from South Carolina and a product of the University of South Carolina where she majored in the English Literature. She has taken on the fight of Alzheimer’s to win and help others as they struggle through the quagmire of this disease. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Read all of Ginger’s diary entries