Friday, August 22, 2014

The Clock Test

My Mom had her Memory Care appointment this week and I drove over on Wednesday to attend. These appointments are not only incredibly informative but also healing for my father and I. We soak up every word of advice the doctors and nurses give us and sometimes wish the appointment would last for hours as we have so many stories and "what-if" scenarios we would like to discuss. We are very thankful we have this resource up in Western North Carolina.

We split up when we arrive and Mom goes to get her "tests" done while Dad and I sit in a conference room. These tests range from things such as trying to recall the President, name 5 animals, name the schools you have gone to, fold a piece of paper, and to draw a clock. 

The Dr came into the room where my father and I were waiting and started to go over Mom's results. Her inability to communicate seems to be the fastest decline we have seen yet. She can still somewhat carry on a conversation but there a lot of "you know what I mean" and "you know, that word that means _____" and phrases such as "Do you like my _________ that I just got". She finally comes up with the word lights but she means glasses. 

But the test that really showed the progression of her Alzheimer's was the Clock Test. Her Dr. showed us her clock from Wednesday and it was blank with a few marks in the upper corner. We just sat there silently. The arthritis in her fingers might have a little bit to do with it but when forced to she can try to write. 

He then showed us her clock from last November. This clock was completely filled out.....not exactly spaced perfectly, but had all the correct numbers.

Staring at her clock from this appointment and her clock from a year ago sent my father and I into tears. We were staring at Alzheimer's on paper. We know Alzheimer's. We kiss, hug, cook for, take shopping, and talk to Alzheimer's. But to see it on paper was staggering.

When we left the appointment Mom asked me if the Dr said she was going to get worse. It took everything in me not to start crying again and I just told her that yes, Alzheimer's does get worse, but that we are working with Memory Care to use medicines and safeguards to make her feel stable and happy. That answer seemed to please her until she asked several times again the next day. You see, she used to work in Long Term Care. I think she knows in her heart it will get worse but I'm hoping that by going to these appointments and adding vitamins and her seeing we are making changes will help her believe she can at least fight it.

Because that is all we can do. Put our hope in medicine and pray

We are in Stage 5 now. There are only 7. We know there is no silver lining or easy path ahead. We are very thankful for our family and friends that continue to help Mom (and us) and treat her as a friend and the wonderful woman that she still is.




  1. I never comment on blogs but did want to reach out to you to say what you're doing for your mom (and your dad) is commendable. I'm sure it is both emotionally and physically exhausting but I'm sure you wouldn't have it any other way as she is YOUR MOM. You're doing a great job. Keep it up - your entire family is lucky to have you. Don't know this post struck such a chord with me but wanted to offer you some encouragement. Take care - you will be in my prayers.

  2. This breaks my heart for you Kat. My dad's mom had Alzheimer's and for my entire childhood I just didn't get it. She passed away when I was a senior in high school and only now do I really get how awful it must have been for my Dad. Praying for you and your Dad. xo

  3. I am thinking of you guys. I just read up on Memory Care and it sounds like an amazing resource.

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  5. I should probably just email you again, but that takes another step...and well don't be surprised if you get another what am I suppose to do email from me.

    My mom had her test at Vandy yesterday and she is officially banned from driving. forever. no more. like turn in your license to the state and get an ID card. she knew it was coming, we knew it was coming.. but there is NO preparation for when you see and hear it. its like an old lady slapping you across the face with her purse that is filled with bricks. Stunned, fearful, determined, annoyed, devastated and hurt. I honestly think that we are in stage 5 as well, and while she's was just "recently diagnosed" I think we've been looking at this much longer than what we realized. Alzheimer's sucks ass. Can I say that? Is that PC? I don't really care at this point....because it has no respect for me and my family and my mom.


  6. I'm saying prayers for your family. This post brought me to tears especially thinking of my grandmother's progression. I'm so hopeful the research and resources you have sought out make a difference.

  7. My heart aches for you. I can't even imagine.

  8. This is heartbreaking. You are so strong - especially being pregnant. I'm in a similar situation. I'm 17 weeks pregnant, and 4 weeks ago, we found out my mom has uterine cancer. Pregnancy is stressful enough, but when you add a mom's sickness on top of work and life in general, it's a lot. Thinking of you and your family.