I suppose that by their very definition, there is no such thing as a "good" disease. They are all debilitating and wasting to some degree, lesser or greater. They all cause the sufferer some sort of pain and cause the loved ones of the sufferer some sort of anguish. I am not trying to say that what I am going through is any worse than what people all over the world are going through every single day, I just want to say that Alzheimer's Disease SUCKS!
I am 800 miles away from my Mom, so there are as many as 5 to 8 weeks between my visits to her. With each of my last several visits, I saw a dramatic decline in her condition, less of HER there: sleeping more, increased confusion, increased difficulty expressing herself, decreased physical ability. One of the really crappy things about AD is that, because of the sufferer's difficulty understanding what is going on around them, they tend to be fretful, depressed and, sometimes, hostile. We are lucky that, by and large, my Mom is fairly content. She loves her room, she has a nice view of the pretty backyard of her facility, she likes most of the people that care for her, she likes many of her 'neighbors' -- though she says that many of them are "not all there". She likes listening to music, especially the soundtrack to The Sound of Music. We listen to it over and over and over again -- always new to her, but it has become etched in my brain. The bitter irony of 'remembering your favorite things' when you are 'feeling sad' is that it is not such good advise when not only can you not recall things you like, you can't even remember what you had for breakfast.
The car trips north and south back home were beautiful. Spring was bursting out the whole way: bluebonnets and paintbrush in Texas; redbud and fruit trees in bloom all along the way; wheat fields covered in that new, neon green; spindly-legged calves and colts among the herds of cattle and horses. Life renewing itself.
For some reason, a factoid I remember learning in paleontology popped into my head. If you take a sponge -- not the bright blue rectangle by the kitchen sink, but the simple sea animal -- and push it through a fine mesh screen, its cells, disassembled by passing through the screen, will re-assemble on the other side.
I am hoping my heart has the same ability as the sponge and will become whole again after all of this is over.