NEW GLASGOW, N.S. — Angie Dorrington struggles to keep her emotions in check when she sees how Alzheimer’s has turned her life upside down.
Dorrington’s husband, Newfoundland and Labrador Hockey Hall of Famer Frank (Danky) Dorrington, was admitted to the Aberdeen Hospital in his hometown of New Glasgow, N.S. three weeks ago. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a little over a year ago, but his condition has deteriorated rapidly over the past six months.
“He won’t be coming home, no,” Angie Dorrington said, her voice cracking during a telephone interview with The Western Star this week.
Dorrington, who turned 80 on Jan. 21, will be moved to a room on the long-term care floor at Aberdeen Hospital when one becomes available.
The Dorringtons share a house with their daughter Tracy and husband Scott Taylor and their two children in New Glasgow. The Dorringtons also have a disabled son Frank Jr. who still lives in a group home nearby and will celebrate his 50th birthday in April.
Dorrington said the reality of the situation has been very trying for her and the children, but they are finding comfort in being together at this difficult time.
She has found it hard to see such a strong man whittled away to 140 pounds before her eyes.
“It’s a terrible, terrible disease. It’s terrible,” she said.
She made the painful decision to have her husband admitted to hospital once she saw how far the disease had advanced in what she thought was quick fashion.
She became worried that her husband would lose his way if he went out anywhere because he wasn’t sure where he lived.
He wasn’t getting much sleep and he lost his appetite as the weight just kept coming off. He also had trouble recognizing people in the family home. And even though he could recognize his family most of the time, Dorrington has no idea he’s now in a hospital.
She knew the time had come for him to be under the care of doctors and nurses.
“The whole thing that goes with it,” she said of the realities that come with the disease.
Dorrington was maintaining an active lifestyle with regular walks and a few reps with light weights, but about three months ago he just became sluggish and became inactive. His wife had taken notice.
“It seemed like when he stopped doing this it was just like he hit a brick wall, it just happened so fast,” she said.
She answered with a soft “No” when asked if doctors gave a window of time she had left to spend with him.
“He wasn’t eating, but he’s started eating again so ... two weeks ago we thought that was it. We thought it was over, but no, no,” she said.
She plans on leaving her husband’s future in God’s hands now. She said her husband was by no means a religious person, but he certainly believed in God.
“He knew there was a power. He still does,” she said.