But I Already Have My Lipstick On:  Our story of dealing with Alzheimers

Chapter Eight

Memory loss or confusion was not Belle’s only symptom.  Other issues began to erupt and it was difficult to handle them without being overbearing or accusatory.  In addition to our phone calls and frequent visits, Deacon spent more and more time at Granny’s house, partly to help her, in theory, with her projects and paper sorting, and partly to report to us what was really happening during the day.  He become a mini adult and often assisted Belle with minor decisions and reasoning.

What was reported was that Belle was not eating or when she did eat, it was sweet items, mainly cookies and ice cream. With this news, Scott’s morning check in calls began to include reminders to eat including suggestions regarding what to eat.  Afternoon calls or evening visits included questions regarding what she had eaten.  We began checking on the contents of her pantry or refrigerator in an attempt to verify her meal intake.   She always had a ready answer for what she had eaten, even if it turned out not to be true.  We started bringing meals over and eating with Belle more often or having her join us more often for restaurant meals so we could ensure she was eating.  Sweets on hand continued disappear first.

Although Belle had never had a weight problem, she, like most women, felt like she did.  Jim was not a man who wanted an overweight wife and part of her self improvement routine throughout the years was to prevent being overweight.  She closely monitored her weight and it was not uncommon for her to eat light, small meals.  A standard breakfast might be grapefruit juice and toast.  However, now her eating patterns, which had been standard in her life for years, were changing or being forgotten but the underlying concern, strangely enough, over her weight remained intact. She began to display some weight gain as she now preferred meals of ice cream and cookies, even as she lamented over putting on weight.   Deacon, during his lengthy stays with her, was used as an excuse for more frequent fast food runs, including hamburger and shakes, one of her most nostalgic meals, with Granny telling Deacon there was no need for him to tell his Dad.  She was eating sweets in much larger quantities than ever before and still weight conscious.  It was not uncommon for her, when eating a meal with us, to skimp on her calorie intake, while mentioning her concern over her weight.