Who am I? (World Alzheimer’s Day)

On the occasion of WORLD ALZHEIMER DAY I chose to share with you this incident that has changed my life forever.

I didn’t even know there was a medical term associated with it until I experienced it with my daddy. The man who taught me to walk, talk, read, write, story telling, knitting, badminton, chess, carom board, card games like fish, rummy, puploo, sweep, bluff, cycling and the list goes on. In short he taught me how to survive in this world had suffered from Alzheimer for a couple of years until we lost him forever. The tragedy was I had no clue he was going through this until he disappeared from our life for a day. It was the most heart wrenching day of my life. He went shopping with my husband and just before reaching home got down from the car saying he would walk his way home as he wanted to get some samsosas for all of us at home. Since out home wasn’t very far my husband left him in the market. It was almost an hour and daddy didn’t come home. We waited for him desperately thinking he must me on his way walking slowly. Never once the thought cross our mind that he might lost his way home. By four in the evening when he didn’t return I was panic stricken. It was almost four hours now. We didn’t waste time and went to file a missing complaint at the police station. They refused saying we had to wait for twenty four hours. Tears never stopped rolling down my eyes as I looked for my daddy on the street. In our neighbourhood everybody had seen him walking but nobody knows which way he went. After buying samosas for us he walked down the lane to our house but seems like he took a wrong turn and lost the path. We spent that awful night in the house without him . It was so distressful for my whole family. Early morning the next day we went to the police station and lodged a missing complaint and even ran a missing person advertisement on tv channel but we didn’t get any clue. The entire day we spent running from hospital to hospital, bus station, railway station looking for him. We were new in the city and didn’t know anyone. So emotionally, mentally, physically we were drained completely. God was our only solace. I was praying for him every second.

He was seventy four years old and was recovering from a long illness when this happened. His treatment left him short tempered and very moody. We lived in a rented two bedroom house and he didn’t like it. I was sure he was punishing us for it. I just wanted to meet him and ask him why he was doing this to us. I had no clue that his brain was degenerating every single day little by little. He was losing his memory every day. He was losing himself with each passing day and this was like a slow poison.

Now as I look back in time I find traces of his memory loss since the last couple of years. He forgot his apartment number. He forgot to wear his shoes when going out. He always took time to recognize us. He tried hard to remember what he had eaten in his meals. He was always lost in his own thoughts. He forgot to write, to read, to ask for food, to ask for help. He became a child, a toddler dependent on his care giver, me.

However, at that time I overlooked these incidents. I was hell worried for him and wondered where he had disappeared without telling me a thing. Later by the evening I got a call on his mobile. I thought one of his friend must be calling and I was in no mood to entertain the man on the other end of the call. But the man surprised me saying that Daddy was with him and he was safe. He was calling from an N.G.O, Badte Kadam who help the elderly and is very actively involved in social causes in the city. When one of the police man saw Daddy, a miserable old man on the street, he called them up thinking another family had abandoned their old man on street. Badte Kadam brought daddy to their ashram and treated him well. They had no means to reach us as Daddy wasn’t able to give our address. He wasn’t even carrying any identity card with him nor his mobile to give them any clue. He remembered only my name. Luckily my dad was carrying his ATM card and a ATM slip while shopping with my husband the previous day. With the help of these two they traced his phone number and called . Luckily the mobile was with me at that time. We rushed in to the ashram to meet him and it was a teary reunion. I took him to doctor the next day as I found bruises in his arms and legs. There I was advised to meet a neurologist who informed me my daddy was suffering from Alzheimer and this incident had triggered it towards the worse.

Alzheimer stage one

Here are the five stages of Alzheimer –

There are five stages associated with Alzheimer’s disease: preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease, mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease and severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease

We had no knowledge of the disease in the first three stages though we got the clues. And the incident pushed my daddy’s condition to the last phase where we lost him completely. In a few months he was bed ridden and then left us for the heavenly abode. Even while he was suffering he was teaching me. My best teacher in the world. Since his demise I became more inclined towards helping the seniors. Understanding their needs and Alzheimer.

Alzheimer stage five

It’s not easy to handle an Alzheimer patient. I salute those who do.

I just request my readers that if you happen to come across any old person wandering alone in the street please stop by to talk to him. Maybe he had lost his way home and doesn’t even know how to ask for help.


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