If you have been following me for a while, you may remember that my father has been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease.
He is 64 years old.
All I have to say about that is: Wow. This disease really, really sucks.
It's horrid and it's hateful and it's not at all fair and I hate it.
Really, really, really hate it.
And I really, really, really love my dad and the man that he was when I was growing up and the man he is now and the man that I catch glimpses of now and then.
But I hate Alzheimer's Disease.
And, really, I try not to think about it too much, because I have found, for now, that denial is a much prettier and happier place for me to live in.
And easier, too.
And, yes, I know that it is not the healthiest place for me to live, but it works for me and I am not consistently a sobbing mess that my children have to mop up.
So, ANYWAY, my hate-hate relationship with Alzheimer's continues, and then, there was last weekend.
My dad wanted to take a walk up to the grocery store and get some candy.
And he wanted to go alone.
And his Alzheimer's is bad, but it's not too, too bad yet and the store is very close and he has been there a million times.
So he went.
Ninety minutes later, he still hadn't come home. And the cashiers at the grocery store knew him and had noticed that he had come in and one even remembered that she had seen him walking away from the store.
In the wrong direction from home.
Dad's wife was hysterical, police were called, statements taken. Nothing.
For what seemed like forever.
And then they found him.
Evidently, Dad had changed his mind about the candy and decided he wanted to rent a movie. So he headed out to where he thought a Redbox was. (And, truthfully, you don't usually have to go too far to find a Redbox, do you?) And he walked, and got turned around, and walked some more, and ended up on the interstate, and walked some more, and got lost and scared and hot and hungry and thirsty and worse and worse for a really long time in ninety degree weather.
The thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. Did I mention how much I hate Alzheimer's Disease?
Seems Dad then needed to sit down, or lie down--it's a little unclear. He picked an intersection and got down on the ground. He was tired--doctors called it heat exhaustion and dehydration. Dad called it tired and kind of dizzy.
Plenty of cars, people, bikes went past him. Lots and lots of people refused to be bothered. They were busy, or scared, or preoccupied, or oblivious.
They were human.
Would you have passed him by? I probably would have, before this.
And then there were two brothers, early twenties, one newly discharged from his time in the military.
And they stopped.
And helped my dad up.
And put him in their car.
And drove him to the hospital.
And left their number so his family could call them so they could make sure he was all right.
And, after an afternoon in the ER, he was.
Thanks to William and Joe.
Those are the names God gives to angels these days, you know.