|My mother and I at her birthplace in Arkansas on her 84th birthday.|
Friday, March 9, 2012
Alzheimers is such a big part of my life right now that a hour doesn't go by that I don't try to rationalize it. My Fellow and I deal with it every day and discuss the trials that Mom is living through constantly. Not to worry my friends, we do keep ourselves busy with our lives and we do enjoy our days and are having a blast just being together. But it just engulfs me sometimes.
Would you rather your body or your mind go first? Whenever I was asked this age old question or if it would arise in conversation I always knew what my answer was, (my mind) but I was so wrong. I don't know what my answer is but I do know having your mind go first is a painful and torturous process. Alzheimers doesn't just happen overnight, it slowly sneaks up on one. And when the family or friends notice it, there is not much they can do to help. Usually the victim of the disease refuses to accept it and pulls away from the people that can help them, parnolia is a strong symptom of the disease. My mother was very paranoid and distrustful of everyone (including us) and refused to sign a power of attorney. She believed those old rumors and stories that older people tell of children and grandchildren taking everything away from their elders and "throwing them in a nursing home". She was also a hoarder and placed more importance on "items" than people. Another mind boggling disease, Hoarding! Another subject, another post. She was making poor decisions on major purchases and associating herself with people that were less than acceptable. After we obtained a Court Ordered Guardianship, she felt her nightmares had come true. Even though we never "threw her in a nursing home" we did take away her freedom. So we didn't have a normal relationship of mother and daughter because I was her captor and she resented it until she completely forgot she ever had freedom. Now, she does trust me but doesn't understand the meaning of "daughter". When I visit her at the Alzheimers Program care unit, she is always at a different place of mind and I try to watch her for a moment before I approach her. I always need this moment to "go where she is". Sometimes she is calm and content but other times more often than naught she is agitated and asking me to fix things that I either don't understand or can't fix. Even through my Fellow and I are doing everything and anything we can to make her happy and take care of her, she isn't and never will be happy and I have to accept this. I see flashes of happy occasionally but she is in such a state of confusion and this cannot be easy for her, and I hurt for her. There are medications that ease the anxiety for her but now she doesn't understand she needs to take her medication. (she also has heart and blood pressure issues) and she refuses to take her medicine. She had always been very careful about taking her medication properly and in the earlier stages of Alzheimers she would panic if she forgot she had taken it even though we were there to assure her that she had taken her medication. We are now having to place (hid) her medication in her food daily. It's so confusing to sit with her and talk to her about her needing to take her medicine and her completely not understanding. In fact, she told me " You take it then!" and I had to laugh. Yes, its OK and much recommended if you laugh and this had been our salvation in dealing with Mother. I know we are doing what is right and I can sleep at night knowing my mother is being well cared for and no matter how hard things are now, we are overcoming them. Yes, Laughter and Prayers is what gets us through this. I didn't start writing this blog to talk about sad things in my life but sometimes it just spills out. I always want "happier ever after" stories and the only way this can turn out that way is to learn by it. So maybe by writing about it we all will support Alzheimers research to prevent it and to make plans now so our children will not go through some of the trials that my fellow and I have endured. Sign power of attorney, pay for long term health care and most importantly, live every day and enjoy your loved ones and make sure they know you enjoy being with them.