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I ask you to bear with me as I tell this first part of the story. I promise this blog does relate to my spouse’s Alzheimer’s Disease.

When I was four years old, my 15 year old cousin miscalculated the depth of water in Narragansett Bay. He dove in hard, hitting his head on a rock, changing his and our family’s lives forever. He was to be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. I loved Donald dearly, and as I grew older, I had no memory of him ever standing or walking. I only knew him in his wheelchair, and learned to kiss him on his cheek, and stroke his face, because that was the only part of his body that he could feel.

I saw him often, as our mothers were sisters, and we lived in the same city. No one in my family ever knew how deeply his condition affected me. I wanted him to get out of that wheelchair and be able to run and play as the rest of us did.

When I was in my teens, I started to have a recurring dream. It was always the same. A miracle cure for spinal cord injuries had been discovered, and Donald stood up with strong, muscular legs, no longer the legs withered and atrophied from non-use, and he walked. He ran. He was normal again. I had that dream on and off until the day he died at 59 years old of a heart attack, still a quadriplegic confined to his wheelchair prison. There was no miracle cure for Donald. The only solace I felt from his death was that his mother never knew that her eldest son had died. She was in her own prison by then – confined to a locked Alzheimer’s ward of a nursing home.

Now I come to my latest recurring dream. It started a few months ago. I am no longer a wishful teenager, so I do not dream of a miracle cure for my husband. I do not dream that he has been cured of his Alzheimer’s Disease and is his old vibrant self again, as I dreamt that Donald would stand up and walk away from his wheelchair. Instead I dream that we are the ages we are now, but Alzheimer’s Disease has not entered our lives. I dream of us as an older extension of how we used to be. I dream of us “connected” through intense conversations, gossipy conversations, silly conversations. I dream of us “connected” through travel adventures – enjoying together the sights and sounds of a new locale. I dream of us “connected” with the excitement, fun, and passion of intimacy. I dream of us when something as mundane as grocery shopping together was a “connection”.

Then I wake up, and just as Donald was still confined to his wheelchair when I awoke from those dreams so long ago, Sid is still confined to his Alzheimer’s fog. There will be no miracle cure for him, just as there was not one for Donald. But I can dream, can’t I? There is a bit of solace for me in those dreams.

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©Copyright 2010 Joan Gershman 
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2009 All Rights Reserved                   




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The Alzheimer Spouse LLC 2009 All Rights Reserved          














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