Alzheimer's, Life's Darkest Disease

This is a true story written by Bill Brokaw of his seventy-nine-year-old wife, Pat, as she suffers from brain damage. Brain damage that causes her to lose her memory and her ability to knit, sew, crochet, write, and all hand-coordinated activities in which she excelled before dementia.

The story takes place over a period of four years and exists because Bill took the time to make a journal of her walk into the clutches of this terrible disease. Early on, doctors called it dementia, but over a year ago, the diagnostic call was Alzheimer's.

When Bill first realized that Pat was losing her memory, he contacted a friend, whose husband had lost his life to Alzheimer's. The friend advised Bill to not only see a doctor who specializes in brain diseases, but to also contact to Alzheimer's Association for help. It was only through the help of the doctor and Alzheimer's that Bill was able to handle the very difficult job of a caregiver.

Caregiving over the four years, for eighty-year-old Bill, went from a small amount of care to total care. Total care was just too difficult and caused Bill many sleepless nights.

Finally, with the financial help from both Medicaid and the Veteran's Administration, Pat and Bill get the help they need to reside in the Alaska Veterans and Pioneers Home located in Palmer, Alaska. Also the Alzheimer's Association should be credited with providing the classes that enabled Bill to become a patient and understanding caregiver.

--Bill Brokaw