The Question of When

My dad is a night owl, like typical Hamlett, and stays up til midnight every night (most patients head to bed around 6 or 7). There used to be a woman who stayed up just as late as him. She played solitaire at the kitchen table for hours and didn’t talk to anyone. This time when I came home she looked awful and was just laying in a chair with her relatives massaging her head as she rested with her mouth wide open. Apparently she’s on hospice care, about to die any day now.
Two months ago she was totally normal.
You may remember me posting about another lady, the one they called The Escape Artist. She was the one that pulled the fire drill all the time to get the doors to unlock so she could sneak outside. She was always dressing up like she was going to work and wearing pearls and such. I often wondered if she really belonged here based on how well put together she always looked and how she spoke as if she knew what was going on. Visitors had actually let her out several times cuz she would always approach them and say “Silly me, I forgot the code” and then she’d escape into the parking lot.
We found out right before I came home that she passed away.
That’s three patients of the original nine now. Two of which seemed way healthier than my dad even.
Alzheimer’s is a crazy disease. It creeps up on people, robs them of years and years of their lives, then often comes out of nowhere and kills them quick. I still don’t understand how people die of Alzheimer’s but I’ve been told the body forgets one day how to swallow and function. As sad as that sounds, I kinda hope that’s how my dad goes whenever it happens. That he’ll be healthy and relatively happy and it will strike real quick so he won’t suffer.
But when?
That’s the question. This could happen next week or seven years from now. Unlike cancer, they don’t give you any kind of time frame. You have to cherish your time with him like it could be his last day and yet also live your life as if he could be around for years. It’s a real mind fuck but I’m getting used to it.
I do miss the escape artist. Luckily, though, Ms M (i.e. “Trouble”) also likes to pull the fire alarm, only she does it DAILY. It gives us all a good laugh and is a reminder of the ones who came before her.

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