This is meant to be my outlet. A place where I can pen my frustrations, sadness, joys (they will come) and growth as I travel with my mother through the woods of her declining mental function: Dementia. Normally an orderly person, it will be my intent to start at the beginning, over 9 years ago, yet the need to write about what is happening now is very pressing.
Currently, today, in this moment, I feel as though I have a small boat anchor around my neck. It’s not choking me, it’s keeping me from moving forward, backward or sideways. The anchor is my mom and what her dysfunction does to her, thereby making her intensely needy. It’s the phone calls one after another, sometimes seconds apart, up to 16 times per day. It’s her not understanding or remembering any of the administrative things we did in the wake of my father’s death, nine months ago. It’s the persecution complex she has regarding my uncle, her brother-in-law. It’s the asking, “What are you doing tomorrow” three times in 9 minutes or any of 1000 similar questions that she can’t recall the answer to because her short term memory is gone. It’s the delusions she has of my father (different than hallucinations). It’s the feeding the cats from the table again despite being asked not to, washing dishes badly that you have to do again, walking greasy paper towels over the carpet to throw into the (wood burning) stove and then not quite making the aim right rather than throwing them out, putting used tissue and plastic into the recycling, complaining about how much food they serve at a restaurant rather than remarking how generous the portions are, complaining about how, “I’ve never seen this prepared this way!” every time we go out, which we only do at her suggestion, drinking to the point where we don’t serve wine at dinner when she’s with us (about a third the time) or she get’s potted, asking what day of the week it is everyday, worrying about her driving, her inability to recall directions to local places in a small town where she’s owned a home for 6 years, forgetting to turn off the diesel (heating) stove before leaving the Island house one trip and then leaving the same house unheated the next trip during a freeze only to arrive back to a plumbing emergency, refusing to acknowledge her chimney down drafting for the last 15 years or that her shower valve being electrically charged was an emergency, etc, etc, etc. It’s the fact she doesn’t think anything is wrong and refuses to go to neurology. In discussing the situation with her doctor, he has confirmed to me that she has early dementia.
|Author & her mother|
The week after next I start attending a support group, possibly two. I need this badly. I fear in my increasing stress I am becoming a burden to my husband and daughter, who lives with us. I am turned 180 degrees from solution mode right now. This outlook has to change and I don’t know how.
What I do know, in this very moment, is that my youngest daughter has just let us know she’s in early labor with my mom’s great-grandson. This will bring us all great joy. I can suspend my stress for a little while.