About a year ago, before my mom was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's, we decided to take a little vacation up north in the Wine Country. The first couple of days were great. Mom had a great time trying out roasted oysters, tasting cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery, hiking up the trail to Point Reyes Lighthouse, watching the beautiful sunset melting into the ocean from our vacation spot and marveling at the noise of crashing waves right in her bedroom.
I think it was day four of our vacation when I experienced firsthand the ugliness of this disease called Alzheimer's when mom's suspicion was targeted at me.
We were going around wineries in Sonoma. The day was rather hot, and mom had a glass of champagne with her lunch. In the car, she complained of heat and feeling tired. In hindsight, we should have picked up the clue that was her way of saying "I need to go back and lie down." We continued on to the last winery in our itinerary. I noticed that mom did not come in to the tasting room, instead she was pacing outside by herself. Her facial expression told me that she was not too pleased. When we were done with the tasting, we got back into the car to go back to our vacation home. It was then that mom started saying "I can't believe this is happening to me" and "how could I have been so misled all these years", and so on. Mom started yelling at my dad, and started accusing me that the only reason why we brought her to "this strange place" was so we can abandon her. She was furious and insisted on calling my sister to accuse her of the same. Mind you, my mom up to this point was one of the gentlest, most loving people I ever knew. This was not her. This "new" her was someone very foreign to me, and I was horrified.
I don't know how he did it, but my dad was able to calm her down. He used affirming words to relax her, and diverted her attention from hysterical suspicion to taking a relaxing bath and a nap.
A few hours later, mom joined us on the patio, enjoying Dave's famous burger with cheese and hot links. She came up to me and apologized for her outbursts. I just remained calm and told her that everything was fine, and that we were so happy that she's feeling ok. We spent the last days of our vacation being a little apprehensive of what might happen next, but it was otherwise uneventful.
The trip took place over a year ago, but when mom sees the vacation pictures she fondly recalls the beauty of the place we stayed and tells us how much fun she had, even though she can't recall any of the names of places we visited. Luckily, the "new person" who I met has remained there also, for the time being...