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The Sea is Wide: A Memoir of Caregiving Paperback – May 21, 2015
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About the Author
When Rundy Purdy was twenty-four years old he began caring for his grandfather who was dying from Alzheimer’s. Grandfather and grandson took a three year journey together to Alzheimer’s end. Rundy’s book The Sea is Wide: A Memoir of Caregiving is the story of that journey. After the death of his grandfather, Rundy cared for his grandmother who was ailing with heart disease for an additional five years. Those eight years of intensive, personal, caregiving gave Rundy a passion for sharing his experience and encouraging other who face the reality of caregiving.
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I am in the health care field and have had two family members succumb to Alzheimer's, and I cared for both in my home temporarily at different times. I also had a very close friend--a therapist--whose mother had a 12 year battle with the disease.
Purdy had an amazing amount of patience, love, and understanding for his grandfather. He probably figured out some things about the Alzheimer's brain that health providers haven't yet figured out.
This book left me wanting more, however. I wanted to know (more) how it came to be that a 24 year old grandson became the full time caregiver for his Grandfather. How was Purdy able to give up such a large portion of his life at such a "tender" age to be a full time caregiver? I know he didn't want to ever be in a nursing home, and that he didn't want any medications or doctors involved. It was also obvious that his Grandmother couldn't handle his illness mentally or physically (mostly the former.) The author's siblings occasionally helped out, as did aunts and uncles. Purdy seemed to be very close and connected to him, but almost so much that his often risked his own health and well-being. He didn't seem to have much health care training that would have helped him make some simple decisions--like how to deal with constipation. Why didn't he at least have Hospice involved at some point? They could have been so helpful with those medical issues without involving doctors or pills. (Such as offering a bed with side rails, liquid meds, bathing, etc.) They could have counseled him about what it looks like to be in the process of dying. People in this state do not want to eat or drink much and I'm sure they would have advised the author to do both of themselves a favor and not push it. And when the GF did die, did he have to call the police?
I really did not like the Grandmother. She could have at least been a little more emotionally supportive. What about Purdy's father and/or mother? Why is there virtually no contact with the GF by them? What was life like for Purdy after his GF's death? Could the Grandmother then live on her own?
I would also think Mr Purdy's caregiving for those years have made him an incredible man in his adult life. Thank you, Mr Purdy, for sharing yourself and your family through your journey with. Alzheimer's.