News From The Neighbors etc.
In the last 10 days two of mom’s neighbors have shared the following with me:
* While out walking with two neighbors mom said she and I were attending a wedding in Canada. The next day, the neighbor ladies wished her a good time at the wedding. She looked at them in alarm and said we were going to a memorial. These ladies gently told her she’d said ‘wedding’ the day before. Mom hotly denied this, of course.
* To these same ladies, mom was tearing her local doc a new one, saying he’d ‘turned her in for dementia.’ She apparently stopped in her tracks and asked them to let her know if she ever started to get ditzy. The neighbor who was sharing this with me said, “You just can’t say anything to her due to her temper.” That’s a fact. Including correcting her belief about her doctor. It was the neurologist who ‘turned her in.’
* A different neighbor commented to mom how cleared up her house looked. She asked if mom had moved things around. Mom countered to her, “Oh yes, me and Bob took care of moving some things.” I very carefully asked this neighbor to reflect on the conversation in order to decide if mom was talking ‘in the present’ or about a time before dad died. Dawna said, ‘Oh, she was talking about the present.’ This was disheartening as mom hasn’t been delusional about dad for almost a year.
Another funny hitch step mom had was to comment to me last week about a section in the paper. This section has been in the paper at least since I moved back into the area (1999). She’s been reading the local paper for 35 years. She stated that this humorous little weekly article was brand new! Is that long or short term memory? Is it possible she’s been reading the paper for over 3 decades and Never got to that page?
The other evening, when reviewing these journal entries, I realized my mother’s phrase, “I’m Just asking” is a post dad’s death thing. My husband and I know she used it occasionally before dad died, but not like she does now.
Finally, for now, the irony of my mother and my father-in-law’s illnesses just blows me away sometimes. My mom is as healthy as a horse and yet should you meet her today, you would never get to know the true person because so much of it is scrambled and confused. She’s far enough in her process that she doesn’t understand this, yet still cognizant enough to be paranoid about how others perceive her. For now, she can be independent. My father-in-law, has experienced steep and profound loss in his disease process. While most of his symptoms are physical and aphasic, he can not live independently. He was always an amazing story teller. Where my mom runs loops of the same story over and over, my father-in-law will take interest in a topic/book/idea and add specifically to the converstaion. So, the one person who seems more mentally intact is dependant, while the one who is more confused is able to live on their own.