An appointment with Alzheimers

Lamictal online without prescription It is a bright fall day. I speed into the turnabout in front of my parents’ condominium building.  His happiness at seeing me registers as disproportionate.   So much of my father’s physical presence is leaving him. He is getting thinner to a point that does not seem possible to sustain.

“Where are we going?” he asked.   

“Just to the doctor, Dad.”

“Ok. ” He smiles at me.  He is so happy to be with his daughter.  

“I am glad you are taking me.”  He smiles.  His face is gaunt and lines stretch as if to exaggerate his wide gentle smile.  His face is the one I am most familiar with.  One I can draw in my mind eyes.  His eyes glisten with promise and excitement.  A sense of humor can be summoned at any time.  I see him only for a second and make sure to smile back.  

Lake Shore Drive southbound is a parking lot.   I curse myself for not having left earlier.  We would never make it.  The appointment was scheduled 6 months in advance.  Now we would miss it.  My mother would say I had been unreliable and late.  Another manifestation of my general disappointment to her-part of the betrayal that was her life.

I decide to call the doctors office and buy some time.  Thank goodness someone answers.  We are going to be late but not by much-total lie.  We are here but we are trying to park.  In reality we are not close. At least 30 minutes, possibly more if everyone continues to persist in not driving forward at once.   The man’s voice is calm but not grasping how frightened I am to lose the appointment.  He calmly says that there is a 10 minute grace period.

Northwestern’s  Memory Clinic had not been not easy to get into. 

I should have left earlier. I said to no one in particular clenching the steering wheel.  Continuing to search for some lane to save ten minutes or twenty because the one I am in has people that aren’t the least bit interested in the road before them.

“Don’t worry.”  He says.  “Is there something wrong?”

“Dad, we are going to miss this appointment.  We cant miss the appointment.”

“Oh.  He is concerned that I am upset.  Don’t worry dear.  Be kind to yourself.”   

He was walking as quickly as he could.  Bent over and feet pointed outward as this was his new way of walking.  

Presented with the CAT scan of his brain I know even as a layperson it is not good news.  But there must be something they can do.  Why did we wait so long for this appointment and come all this way to be told there is nothing anyone can do?  What is the purpose of this visit?  

The doctor is young. She could be wrong.  This must be her first case or at least one of her first. Why didn’t my father, a man who has taught so many undergraduates and been like a father to so many people just because he enjoyed it… deserve a doctor with even 5 cases under her belt?   Why of all things strip him of him-his very core?  His mind.  I am getting annoyed.  

The person in front of us, the young doctor speaks softly and over annunciates her words, lacing them with as much understanding as they can bear.   He has lost this much brain matter.  She is showing the gap between his skull and the roundish object within it. I am finding her empathy together with her lack of age, increasingly annoying.

Fortunately, our appointment is over.  

“Dad, do you want some coffee?”  As we walk to the elevator.

“Yes.”  He starts smiling.  “We always have our coffee don’t we.  You and I are alike that way aren’t we?” 

“Come on dad.  Let’s sit here.” 

The Corner Bakery in the lobby of the medical building is packed with people.  “Wait here Dad.  I will be back ok?” He smiles widely.  Excited about our having coffee this morning.

When I return with two coffees and blueberries muffins, his face beams.  

“Now tell me dear…I couldn’t quite understand what that doctor was saying.  What did she say I had?”

“Dad… ” 

There were people all around and I hate the tears that are appearing.  Not now. Stop.  Not now.

“Dad.  They said….they said you have Alzheimer’s. ” 

“What does that mean?”

“It means that you are going to forget things.  Like everything.”  I started to cry and tried to stop.  There were people all around.

He looks concerned but not grasping.

Don’t worry Dad.  It will be ok.  I am here ok?”

“Oh…I see.  Will you explain this to your mother then?  I would muck it up.”  He says with a sense of humor.

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