Alzheimer’s Disease is still the undisputed champion of the D-League (Dementia League), The string of victories over Barbara plunge ahead like a Naval warship sinking one enemy vessel after another. Sunk: the knowledge of where things go; destroyed: the ability to speak a complete sentence; sunk: any memory longer than a few seconds; destroyed: the ability to follow a simple instruction.
Barbara remains in good physical health and is able to jump on her trike and follow my bicycle each morning for the same neighborhood tour we’ve taken for years. This has been one of my favorite times of the day. It made things seem almost “normal” for a few minutes. Now, the Alzheimer Warship has turned its deadly weapons to this poor limping vessel.
The first shots occurred when Barb began suddenly to take side streets and leave the usual path we rode. I didn’t notice until I looked back. Of course, I always rode in front. No way could she lead.
Barbara is very strong and can pedal her trike fast. Eventually I catch up to her in a distant part of the neighborhood. But recently, this damaged vessel took a direct hit from the Alzheimer’s warship which constantly stalks her, determined to finish the job and bring her down completely.
On our bike ride, I glanced back and saw her just disappearing from sight on the side street a block away. By the time I got back to that street, she had disappeared completely. I pedaled and turned my head repeatedly. There was no sight of her. Round and round the neighborhood I went, gathering up a band of morning strollers who were eager to help. Almost all had a loved one touched by Alzheimer’s Disease and understood the urgency.
Finally, I rode home, hoping she had made her way back there. But only Biscuit, the dog, was in the house, eager for a Beggin’ Strip. Tired, I took the car back to the bike area where I last saw Barbara. Folks were still looking and let me know there was no sign of her.
I parked the car and dialed 9-1-1 to ask for help from the police. When I began to describe the problem, the voice on the other end said, “Is she on a trike?” My spirits rose quickly. “We have reports of a person on a tricycle riding into oncoming traffic on Fowler Avenue.” Fowler is the nearest major street. “An officer is on his way now to have a look.” She talked with him on the radio and soon he was pulling up behind my car. He had travelled the street without success. I followed his patrol car while we went down Fowler looking for Barbara.
After turning around, the officer pulled over and I eased my car in behind his. He had just received a call that Barbara was found. She was at a home near our neighborhood. What relief flooded over me! When we entered the living room, Barb was holding hands with the precious lady of the house, with family members gathered round. No one knew of a trike. She had been standing at their door when they returned from church. Later her rescuer told me her mom had Alzheimer’s and she recognized it in Barb right away and called 9-1-1.
I drove Barbara home without the tricycle. A few hours later the police officer pulled up in front of our house. He had the trike in the trunk of his car. A neighbor had found it in the front yard and notified the police. All day neighbors had taken action to help in the search.
I had ignored the stalking Alzheimer’s warship long enough. That night I ordered a personal GPS tracker to attach to Barbara. Now I will at least know where the battle is occurring as Alzheimer’s continues undefeated in the D-League. ~~L