Malinda S. - Genetic Connections and Family Caregivers
This seems so personal; however write I must. I could write a book about the past two and half years. I was teaching a piano lesson in Virginia when I received an emergency telephone call in August of 2012. My oldest brother had been taken to a hospital during the 115 degree heat with dehydration in Arkanasas. In addition to the devastating heat, I would eventually learn a fuller explantion of what had happened to him.
A Temporary Guardian had been appointed by the Court to oversea his care at his home that he and his deceased wife had built. Closing down my piano teaching, I went to 'visit' my brother - for just 2 weeks. Before leaving for Arkansas I went online and made an appointment with the best Elder Care Doctor in the state. Eventually, as the good doctor recommended tests, the Judge dismissed the Temporary Gaurdian and appointed me as POA. I did not return to Virginia after 2 weeks; I stayed for 2 years - filling out Veteran forms in hopes of a pension for him. (See note below)
I ended up staying for two years hoping to bring him home to Virginia. My brother seved in the Army in the early 1950' s and reserves until the late 1960's. I would soon learn that he did not qualify for a Military Pension as Congress had passed a law denying pensions to a solider who served during non-war time. This was in spite of his having served at the Nike Missile sites plying his skills in electronics and knowledge of airplanes to keep America safe during the 'cold war'.
He was without a question a real "brain" and all around student in high school serving as the President of his class. At the end of 2013, he had a PTSD and blood clots on his lungs that sent him to the emergency room locally. He was admitted to the 'behaviors section of the hospitsl" - a fancy way of saying a person isn't normal in the eyes of professionals.
However, no medical workup was done to identify the blood clots until a male nurse called me on a Monday morning to inform me he and a doctor were sending my brother tto the medical floor. (I had been on the phone almost daily requesting that.) The male nurse had not seen my brother for 3 weeks and saved his life. He recovered from the blood clots. And, eventually he was releasted to a Rehabilitation Center and Nursing Home in Arkansas. I returned to Virginia in 2014. Now, I receive timely updates on a regular basis.
I appreciate and attempt to help the professional; however, the one that floored me several nights ago was at 12:30am my time and came as a shock. The person calling said my brother had ESCAPED!! He had exited through the front door to the parking lot. As I talked with the nurse, I remained calm and ask for details. First, the health care person had over reacted. There was NO ESCAPE. My brother had not ESCAPED. He is not a criminal. He is an older person with the disease of Alzhiemer's. He was found just outside the front door in the parking lot - a door that he managed to exit through, somehow.
As I envisioned the scenario, it suddenly came to me that warehousing seniors in a confined environment needs to be re-thought in society. A man or woman boxed up/in a facility - even with Alzhiemer's enjoys being outside - for fresh air and a little walk, with or without a walker.
I do believe that genetics are a part of this devastating disease. My brother, whom I love dearly, is the oldest in our family. Our mother and grandmother were the oldest of their brothers and sisters. Both developed Alzhiemer's. That is 3 generations of the first born being affected in later years by the illness.
I will end with this message.