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Floating Away From Those You Love

By: elleswish

Chapter 1, For school I was asked to write seven diary entries from somebody who has alzheimers or who knew somebody with the disease. This is what I wrote. The biology teacher that assigned the work to us, cried when she read it and later asked if she could publish it in the annual school magazine. That doesn\'t happen often.

Friday the 26th of February 2006
Dear Diary,

Today has been a bad day and I am glad it is over. My wife, Petunia, has recently been having a few mental health problems. We’ve had a few theories about what might be wrong, some form of dementia we thought, but it wasn't until today it was confirmed and we found out what type.

When we walked into the doctors room and took a seat the doctor told gave us a sympathetic look then told Petunia as gently as he could that she has Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease (SAD). He then went on stating how dementia affects 1 in 4 people above the age of 85 and 50% - 70% of these people have Alzheimer's.I don’t care about these silly facts, I just want my family to have a safe and happy life. Is that too much to ask for?

That appointment just kept getting worse and worse. I wouldn't have been surprised if Petty doesn't remember the rest of it. She looked like she was about to faint. God knows I only listened to half of it. I clearly remember Dr John Campbell mentioning to us how the average person would only last 7-10 years longer. The only other thing I remember him saying was that there was no known cause of SAD which meant that there was no cure.I can't imagine a life without Petunia; she is all I have ever known.

I remember when all this started to happen. It was around 3 years ago. I remember the first incident crystal clear. It was a beautiful warm day with no clouds in the sky. Petunia and I were sitting down about to have our breakfast; cereal and a slice of toast each, when I realized we were out of milk. I was waiting for a phone call so I couldn't go for a run down to the corner shop myself, so instead Petty went for me. The corner shop was around 100 meters from our house and is usually only a ten minute walk there and back.

Soon an hour came and went and Petty still hadn't returned. At the time I didn't find this a huge problem but I started to worry when it was almost two hours since she had left. I busied myself for another hour, trying to pass the time by going outside into our large garden and doing a bit of work, but I gave up when the outside clock gave a chime, declaring that three hours had passed since she had left home. By this stage I was starting to worry and went back inside. Nothing could hold my attention for long so I gave up and just started pacing back and forth beside the phone, wondering if she would call me to let me know she is okay. Where could she be? I thought to myself. The clock on the wall must be going flat as it took what felt like years for the second hand to declare a minute.

Once another hour had passed I gave up and went down to the corner shop to look for her myself. The young girl behind the counter told me the Petty had never turned up, so I went back home to see if she had turned up or there were any missed calls saying that she had gone over to a friend’s house for a coffee. When I got back I saw that nobody had called that day, not even the call I had been waiting for. So I decided to call our daughter Sarah and ask her if she had heard anything. Like I had expected, the answer was no.

Two more hours had passed when I heard a knock at the door. I ran to answer the door and was relieved when I saw Petty standing confused with our two next door neighbors, Mandy and John.Apparently Petty had stumbled upon the couple who were having a romantic picnic on the beach, this being less than an hour ago. She had asked for directions to the blue shop that sold milk. Mandy had found it odd that she was lost in an area she has lived in for the past fifty year. Not only that but she didn't even recognize Mandy, who was her best friend.

The four of us sat down and talked about what had happened. Petty described how she was walking down the street and the shop was within eyesight. The next thing she remembered was that she was on the beach having a conversation with a nice couple. After much debating Petunia finally managed to convince everyone that it was just a one-off and we all put the incident to the back of our minds.
My daughter came up to me a few weeks later saying that her mother was telling a funny story from her past to Sarah and her two children. A story I myself had heard Petunia tell many times.Sarah told me with a worried look etched on her face that her mother had repeated the story three times, word for word, without even realizing what she had done.

A few more incidents like these have happened. So much so that Petunia and I decided to give a visit to the doctor. Now, here I sit here today, totally numb to the fact that in a few years my own wife will forget me, her own identity and everything else she knows.

Timothy

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