"I just want Mom to be happy. And to be safe. I want to do everything I can for her."
My name is Samantha Burton, and this is a story about my mom and our journey with Alzheimer’s disease.
When mom and I went to the doctor for the first time, we saw Dr. Womack. He’s been our family doctor for decades, and I trust him a lot. But it did not go well. Mom pretended everything was fine. She said she felt great, told him how she was gardening and walking everyday. She even asked Dr. Womack about his grandkids. She was charming… and she seemed sharp. Dr. Womack told us we were right to be concerned about Alzheimer’s, but that she seemed fine. He told us to come back in six months and we’d see how things were going.
I wanted so much to tell him about mom’s moods and the memory problems. I know he would’ve listened to me. But mom wouldn’t let me get a word in. About two months later, mom got lost driving to the grocery store. She called me, really upset. I had to come get her. And she just sat in her car in the post office parking lot. Waiting. Crying. So we made another appointment to see Dr. Womack.
On the way there, I told mom that we had to be honest. I felt like I was talking to a child. But it seemed to sink in. This time I led the conversation. I felt pushy, and a little uncomfortable, but I knew I was doing the right thing. Dr. Womack listened to me. He didn’t give her a formal diagnosis, but he did say that, based on what I was telling him, we should see a specialist. I just want Mom to be happy. And to be safe. I want to do everything I can for her.
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