I‘ll spare you the introduction and cut right to the chase…
I think Alzheimer’s is so damn hard to accept for two reasons:
1) No one wants it to be true.
2) We can’t tell a person has Alzheimer’s just by looking at them — especially not in the early stages.
Reason #1 above is pretty self-explanatory. But stop for a moment to consider reason #2; I think it’s where a lot of families of those with Alzheimer’s – and even the person with Alzheimer’s — get stuck.
Reason #2 has the power to feed our sense of denial, to make us think that there’s a chance the doctor(s) could be wrong…
Picture it: A pregnant woman who is due to give birth in one month. How do you know she is pregnant? What makes you believe it’s true?
The size of her belly, of course. MAYBE the grocery cart full of Ben & Jerry’s.
What about a man who has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing aggressive chemotherapy? If you’d never met him before, would the fact that he is bald and frail help you to accept that what he says is true?
My point is that visual evidence goes a long way in helping us to absorb information. But with Alzheimer’s, we don’t have any.
Sure dad pops a pill every morning along with his Lipitor and that baby aspirin – so what?
Everything else “looks” fine – especially in the early stages (The middle stages of Alzheimer’s are something all together different.)
Plus, mom and/or dad say they are fine, so why argue?
Without tangible proof of the existence of Alzheimer’s, and with the strong desire to have it not be true, Alzheimer’s can be pretty dang hard to accept.
So go easy on yourself…
Take the time you need to let the information sink in.