How We First Discovered Nana Had Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted November 30, 2017

My bedroom is located above Nana’s apartment, enabling sound to permeate up through my thin floorboards. Being the extremely light sleeper that I am, I woke up one night at 2 am to the sound of streaming water tapping the bottom of Nana’s metal sink. Although I thought it was strange, I attempted to go back to bed; however, various noises radiating from Nana’s apartment made sleeping an impossibility.

I listened intently to her traveling footsteps created from the sole of her patent leather shoes, as if I were following them like a treasure map. Soon I realized her footsteps had reached the main house. I knew she had begun cleaning up any remaining mess me and my sisters had made when I heard the song of her gold bangles as they collided with each other like musical symbols.

Nana’s late night activities also awakened my parents. Panicking, as they thought someone had broken into their house, they ran down stairs to see who was in their house. To their surprise they found Nana fully dressed and ready to conquer the day ahead.

This was one of the first incidences of Nana showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. She had no sense of time and was unable to understand that although she was awake, it was not yet morning nor time to start her day.

This same incident repeated for many months, each time Mom waking up and explaining to my Nana that it was the middle of the night, and thus she needed to go back to bed. On those occasions when Nana was extremely unreceptive to and confused by the concept of nighttime, my mom would bring her outside to show her that the sun had not yet risen and that no one else in town, besides her, was awake.

Other incidences that were telltale signs of Alzheimer’s included forgetting how to write checks, forgetting people’s names, and forgetting if she had asked a question just moments before.

As months passed her symptoms progressed; at times they became so prevalent that they put both herself and others in danger. My next blog post will illustrate the Christmas day that would ultimately transition Nana’s first stage of Alzheimer’s to her second.