grandma

Brute Strength

There may be a time in your life where you witness someone using brute strength.  It’s that savage brawn that we have seen on the news when a group of people lift a car up off a person. Adrenaline pumping to save a life. It can be pretty useful. It can be pretty dangerous too.

I have witnessed on many occasions brute strength. It has come in the form of my frail and tiny mother. This is the woman that getting up from a chair and she nearly falls over. The woman who shuffles and is unsteady on her feet. Yes, she comes with brute strength. If you catch her having one of her “episodes’, watch out. Mom can get out of the chair faster than someone an eighth of her age. She can run faster then most of us too.  She will be across the room in seconds.  A feat that may take three times as long on a regular day. My family has been on the receiving end of her brute strength. We have had to duck and weave at her waving fists We’ve had to back up and place ourselves behind something to slow her running. There have been many times where we had to jump in between her and the person she has set her sights on. It is so incredible how her delusional behavior due to FTD and Alzheimer’s, fuels her.

With my mother’s small size, I don’t worry that she can do serious damage. Except for today. Today I walked in on my Mom watching women’s weigh lifting. Weigh lifting!!! My mother was never one to watch sports now she does and chooses weigh lifting?!? I have to wonder, is she trying to get new techniques? Has she been secretly been lifting? Is this a sign of things to come? We may move on from brute strength to real strength. So I will have to up my gym routine, so I can run faster, and duck and weave quicker. Brute Strength

What Big Eyes You Have

The first time I realized something was wrong, I was 16 going on 17.  I walked with my grandmother into her bedroom. When we got in, she looked at her bed and said. “Oh my, the cats eyes are very big.” I was confused since there was no cat in sight.  What was in sight, were her eyeglasses sitting on her bed. I chuckled thinking she was joking and then quickly realized she was serious. For me a teenager I then realized what the whispers have really been about, my grandma was “losing it”. It wasn’t the simple getting old and a bit forgetful, she was on a whole new plane. It must of been going on for a couple of years before the family fully realized what was going on. At that time she was diagnosed she 82 years old.

Fast forward 26 years and I am reliving this diagnosis all over again. This time with my 73 year old mother. Like with my grandmother, I can go back at least a couple of years and realize that this has been going on for at least two years. The interesting comments my grandmother would make, are similar to what my mother makes now. I believe that this has hit my mother at such a young age due to 40 years of smoking 2 packs a day. I also believe that my mother has always had a underlying level of anxiety that plays into role the progression and severity of her dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Some days it feels like de ja vu with my Mom remembering my grandmother. Some days I worry if I am next. Reminding myself that I am not my mother and it does not mean I have to be the same. After reading a study almost 20 years ago of how aluminum was found in the brain of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, I stopped drinking out of cans. I don’t smoke. I exercise. I keep mentally active. All things my mother and grandmother did not do. But I still worry. Maybe worrying is not such a bad thing, it keeps you alert. I hope and pray that my daughters are not writing about their mom on their blog in 30 years from now.