My world started to fall apart when my husband, Steve, of 17 years was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in March 2013. He was just 66 and as fit as a fiddle.
This blog or journal is going to be a record of his symptoms, my frustrations and grievances, and struggles.
I am so grateful for the support I am receiving – mostly from Pam, my step-daughter, but from my relatives as well: my aunt, Pam, and uncle, Ali; my parents albeit long distance as they are in the UK; as well as all our dancing friends and some of my work colleagues – I haven’t told everyone at work, only the ones I am close to know what’s going on.
Steve and I have been married since January 1996. We had a beautiful wedding day, with family and close friends. The ceremony was held at Stonyfell Winery in the foothills of Adelaide.
We had a belated honeymoon later that year travelling around Europe for a couple of months as “backpackers”.
So far we have had a wonderful life together. However things started to change dramatically in the last few years, particularly with his memory and logical thinking.
Pretty much all his working life Steve has been involved with solvents of some kind. In his late teens up to his early 30s, he was a floorlayer – laying carpets, vinyl, etc. Obviously, he would have been using glues – and back then, in the 60s, there wouldn’t have been the OHS concerns that there are now, so he wouldn’t have used a respirator.
Once he left floorlaying, he moved into spraypainting – again, using chemical based substances – thinners, paints, etc. He built his own spraybooth in the backyard of our house, and was self-employed. He taught automotive spraypainting to apprentices at TAFE as a part-time lecturer from 1986 through to 2010. Over the years, he would have been exposed to all sorts of toxic substances, which I believe have now affected him. He usually wore a respirator (certainly while he was painting a vehicle), but he didn’t always use one when he was cleaning his sprayguns with thinners.
Some of his interests include: fishing – he has his own boat and goes out as often as he can, depending on the weather and tides, and almost always he comes home with fish; diving, although he is not allowed to do that anymore – he was a free diver (snorkel only, no scuba), sometimes staying underwater for up to 3 minutes at a time and has dived to depths of around 60 feet; ballroom dancing – we met through dancing classes and continue to attend social dances when we can, usually about every 4-6 weeks – sadly, he is now starting to forget the occasional steps or even the whole dance sequence; his old classic car – a 1948 Ford V8 Pilot, which he lovingly restored in 2000 which he’s had since he was 15 (see photo below). We own a pop-top campervan and like to go away in it when we can, although, sadly, it’s not as often as it used to be.
This blog is our story.