Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The ravages of time

I was woken up at about 10 to 4 am this morning by a loud banging at my door and the screams of an 80 year old woman from the unit down the hall. She was begging for help. I opened my door and helped her in.

She was shaking like a leaf. Wild eyed with her white hair mussed in a way that made it look like the cat lady from the simpsons. She had always been quiet and well put together when I have seen her in the hall so seeing her like this was rather jarring.

She was babbling about a man who broke into her unit through her open kitchen window and that he was still inside her place

I immediately called 911. As i was relaying the information to the operator the old woman's story seemed discombobulated. The police arrived.

She was sitting on the bed Greg was consoling her. Still shaking she began to talk about a monkey poster or painting that the burglar put on her window and how he threw vegetables all over the floor.

At this point I began to think that this was not a home invasion but an invasion of a far more tragic kind.

She said her unit was 204. That unit was locked. It turns out her unit is 203. After sweeping the unit the hot cop said that there was no sign of entry. He asked me if i knew her well and if this could be a sign of dementia. I worked with dementia victims all throughout my university career and still deal with them occasionally at work.

I know the signs.

I know they were all there.

She kept saying that she had never done anything wrong to deserve this. Over and over.

Her words echoed in my head and broke my heart.

She is right she didn't do anything to deserve this. A thief has come in and is stealing things from her one by one and she does not even know it. She is on a very sad track and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

The edmonton city police were very very good. They listened to her calmed her found her walker and brought it to her and helped greg and I get her from my bedroom to the hall. All the while they were discretely trying to find out if there was anyone they could call. I applaud the sensitivity and professionalism that they showed in dealing with the situation.

She is gone now. I can no longer hear her in the hall. One of the officers is waiting with her i think until they can get a relative to come help her.

Soon she will have to move into a home. She will forget friends faces and lovers. She will lose herself and her ability to do simple tasks like brush her teeth or make it to the bathroom on time. It is a long slow robbery of what was once a life.

This is Alzheimer's.

3 comments:

Kitty said...

That's very sad, I hope she has family. My grandmother has vascular dementia and is cared for at home by family and nurses. She's lucky because she has family with the training and ability to take care of her needs in a familiar setting.

Allan S. said...

Oh wow. This is like so sad. You're a little angel Aaron, and Greg is a good man. Take care of each other fellas, and enjoy the next few days.

I pray that she has family or friends that can be there for her, and that she is treated with love and dignity.

Lesley said...

This is so sad.. it breaks my heart to read this as we went through too many similar situations like this with my grandmother before she passed away. Alzheimers is a horrible disease.