Friday, October 21, 2016

Walking the mom


Mom has always been careful about her weight. She moderates her eating and adds exercise the minute she thinks she is gaining. Alzheimer's has magnified and distorted this concern.

One of the first symptoms of her cognitive decline was her repetition of how she walks 3 miles a day and is so healthy. Everyone who knows her has heard how she hasn't had so much as a headache since she started walking at the little park by her house.

Wendy discovered when she was home and staying with mom in the fall of 2014 that "walking" actually involved driving to the park and driving home. Wendy went with mom to the park and walked, never the 3 miles mom always ( and still) claims to have walked. As soon as mom got home she would start talking about how she had to go walk.

On moving day, neighbors came out to say goodbye. They told us mom drove up the street and came right back 4 or 5 times a day.

Since she moved to Dayton, I've worked hard to make sure she gets to walk. We walk the dog, we go to parks to walk, we've walked the tunnels at Sinclair and the indoor track at the Y in inclement weather.

Every day she says she that she doesn't get to walk here. She needs her car, so she can go to her little park. Every day she tells me that I would get in shape quick if I would just walk with her.

The cold weather has been a blessing, because she won't just leave her house to go walking. But warm weather is coming. Worrying. Worrying.

But now it's cold, so we walk somewhere indoors. But since she can't remember that we've walked, and she has a compulsion to go walk, it's only the severe cold that keeps her home. And how long will that last? Will she open the door one day and not recognize the cold? Will the compulsion to walk take her out to a place from which she can't get home? I wake up at night and peek out my windows at her house. Worrying. Worrying.

Prayers for those that wander. In mind and body

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