Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ordering and sequencing....

...disorders are quite common with dementia, things like putting on outerwear before the underwear while dressing. I've found with Mom that when ordering really goes away things like morning comes before evening also go away, and if you try to order your day by what you've done, when you can't remember details, you have no frame of reference for the day; every event is descrete!

Today Mom has the 'strolley-mosey-wanders' going on, with the blank/possessed look, she's motoring to some place but doesn't know where, and will go to the same place over and over again.

Her perceptions are also acting up, she pointed at a chair in the living room and said, 'that's beautiful yellow clothes' and then got a yellow pillow off the couch and said 'this is the purse that matches the yellow clothes'.

Wish me luck on a Sunday, its only 9:35 and she's been wandering since 8:45, I'm cooking breakfast now!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weirdest thing...

I've got towels down on several of the chairs that Mom sits on because of the spontaneous piddling accidents we had a couple of months ago. Recently Mom has taken to picking up the towels (which are light yellow by the way), holding them in front of her face, tracing things on the towel in a line with her finger, and 'reads' the towel and says it has our names written on the towel. She'll do the same thing in the car, and in a church pew, 'see it says right here Tom and Mary Lou'. Mom's reading cloth, plastic, and wood.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Starting to think TIAs....

...are when Mom will bounce off walls, confabulate, won't sit still, talk all night, those sorts of things, and then when the TIA resolves in 24 hours or so, like tonight, Mom is in bed, but she's sweet and nice and smiling, the change from last night is amazing! Praise God!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oh wow, what a morning....

...and partial night too. I woke Mom up to hit the bathroom at 9:45 and that was fine, I went back into her room at 10:45 and she was mumbling nonsense and did most of the time until 3:30 AM. Then at 5:30 AM she was up to the bathroom again and dragged the tail end of the nightie into the toilet bowl, so we put on nightie number three of the night. When I got her up at 7:45 she had messed that one too, so I bundled up three nighties and told Mom that I going to put them in the wash; Mom said 'Oh that's nice that they have a washer here', Mom's lived here in this house for 40 years!

Morning has turned into the right on the spot 3:30 sundowning, it various and sundry combinations of Anaconda Montana and going to work at the store, what did we do today, her father and mother are alive and they are coming to take her home. The confusion is so amazingly awful, typical statement is 'Where do we live at home? Mom, we live in California. We live in Montana and just came here for a day and then I can go back and work in the store tomorrow, we went to Mass this morning with my mother and father this morning'....and repeat and repeat and repeat.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh gosh, the Ministry Faire.....

The Parish had a 'Ministry Faire' after the Masses this weekend, and since I do a lot of the computer stuff for the Parish, Podcasts and Videos, it was an opportunity to set up a computer or two and illustrate to people how to hear and see. It also meant a huge routine break, which for Mom isn't always a good thing.

Saturday evening was OK, but the Sunday morning sessions were hard for Mom to get her hands around, since we usually don't go to a Sunday morning Mass. The hardest part was the Sunday evening session, on Saturday evening the people had the drapes closed in the Hall, Sunday evening they didn't, so Mom was seeing reflections in the glass from the things inside, waving at the windows saying that the car was out there (when it wasn't), and asking every minute when we were going home.

The good part about all this was that people from the parish got to see Mom over a longer time than just a 45 minute weekend Mass, they got to see Mom's behaviors, Mom's sitting and staring, her eating (since snacks were served), and Mom's repeating and repeating and wanting to go 'home' to Montana. One of the ladies that was physically close to where Mom and I were stated that her mother wasn't as bad off as Mom is until she was 96. And these people got to see 'Sundowning', then I explained it to them.

Another interesting part of the weekend was the Priest we had, he had been assigned to another Parish here 20 years ago, he's a great guy and got to know Mom and I a bit back then. He was shocked to see Mom in her current state, he said that I looked great. Got to talk computers with Father Matt, other people, talked iPads with other people, including some of the song leaders, married couple, her mother is in a NH, wife said that her mother was in better shape than Mom is.

We got home about 6:45 Sunday evening and all Mom wanted to do was go to bed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Watson on Jeopardy.....

...has been very interesting to watch, with my bent towards IT things.

I too though that getting a computer (or very many computers as it is) to play Jeopardy and play Jeopardy well would have been impossible.

Its proven to be more than possible, and I'm kinda rooting for the humans.

Part of the exercise for IBM has been to see how they could make computers more like humans. Humans are very complicated they've found out.

I wonder what could be learned about dementia from the Watson project; one thing from the second program was really telling. Ken Jennings asked a question 'What was the 20's?' in response to a clue that mentioned the decade in which Oreo cookies were invented, Ken was incorrect, and then Watson rang in with the same incorrect answer, kinda like Watson has no short term memory (which it doesn't have much of!); Trebek came back with a snippy 'Ken just said that Watson'.

It was just like most of my conversations with Mom, she'll ask me a question, I'll answer it, and then Mom will either get the answer all messed up or will ask the question right back at me.

I think its wonderful that IBM has built such a large array of computers in order to play Jeopardy, I'd love to see the same level of research applied to dementia, what may the causes be, how to live with dementia better, and how we can better enrich and perhaps 're-program' our Loved Ones.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a Trying Day....

I'm trying to get my hands around today, and as usual, fail is the word.

Mom was up and down all day, and confabulating, and the subjects were usually 'Butte and Anaconda', '65 dogs and cats', 'going to church', and the 'cutting up of the dogs and cats' and then 'burning down the church and the house', and this went on for about seven hours on and off.

Where does this come from, the recesses of the mind, the few connections that are still left, ancient childhood things that were drilled into Mom, old fears, old stories?

I took Mom to the airport today, many nice jets in for the AT+T golf, and she said, 'I'll buy you all the planes here so we can go to Montana for breakfast in the morning and then come back here to to New York since you can fly the plane'. Well, my father was a pilot, so I think she's just so confused, grasping at facts from the past and trying to make sense of the present.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What makes me sad... seeing Mom in the fog of dementia.

The blank look, the repeating, the same four/five things stuck in her mind.

But lately, Mom's been seeing things that don't exist, like her name written on boxes, towels, napkins...'look here it says my name'.

And swallowing is now a problem, its like she has to really think to do it.