The attack of the swollen arms

There are a lot of things you wish you hadn’t seen when a loved one spends time in the hospital. One image that I will never be able to erase is the sight of Dad’s swollen arms.

They were swollen because of excessive fluid. A simple enough medical phenomenon, but still disturbing for the average person to witness. It was even more grotesque because the rest of Dad’s body was so emaciated. His arms looked like they belonged to a linebacker, not a 79-year-old man with Alzheimer’s who weighed 116 pounds.

I remember holding Dad’s fat hands and stroking those swollen arms while Dad was under sedation and on a ventilator. While I had seen Dad’s personality transform into someone I didn’t know due to Alzheimer’s, I was now forced to witness the physical transformation taking place within Dad. It was a sobering moment.

When you walk along someone battling Alzheimer’s, you will witness such high and lows of life. The experience makes one appreciate the dull moments of one’s life even more.

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