Friday, May 27, 2011

Wandering Friday.....

...that's what this afternoon has been, wander back and forth from the front room to the kitchen to either open/close the drapes, then to the bathroom to flush the toilet, lather, rinse, repeat.

Except for one trip to the toilet Mom came out dragging toilet paper behind her, all the way from the bathroom, to the bedroom, down the hallway, to the living room. I asked her what she was doing with the toilet paper and she said 'I don't know, I'll get the vacuum cleaner to get it up'

And all the time the spoken words are the 'Litany of the Days of the Week', starting with Tuesday, ending with Sunday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


While awake at 5AM today, I started reflecting on Mom's decline, and when did I think that something wasn't quite right?

I went back five-six years, with a very common and ordinary thing, the dishwasher, Mom had to ask me which buttons to push to turn it on, get the right setting, and make sure that it ran the hot air dry cycle.

Then I went back 9 years to when I first got a laptop with a CD burner in it. I knew how Mom used to like to play CDs, so I duped many of the CDs that I had and made 'backup' copies for Mom to listen to during the week when I was not with her. She knew how to open the CD player, put in the CD, turn on the stereo, and play.

Suddenly, one day, she stopped playing CDs, just like that. Mom couldn't do it, couldn't get the ordering of 'get CD, open player, put in CD, close player, turn on stereo. Its a pretty simple thing to those of us who can still order and sequence things, but to Mom, not so simple.

Its kinda like the dishwasher, push button for cycle type, push button for heated dry, push start.

So I can see signs of things starting in 2002-2003.

Let's go back to 2007-2008. We have very mild weather here most of the time, Mom's house does not have air conditioning, the few days that it does get hot it cools off nicely at night; if you keep the house closed up and the drapes shut until late afternoon when the breeze usually kicks in its quite nice, when the breeze blows open up the windows and let the cool air in.

Summertime 2007 I came home on a Friday afternoon, and it was hot, over 95, Mom is really hot, sweating, and I come in the house and all the windows are open, the drapes are all open, and its about 85 in the house. Now I can look back and see the signs, but then I thought Mom still had her wits about her so I asked her why the windows were all open and she fabricated a story about walking with the next door neighbor and she got hot and the neighbor said to open up all the windows.

Hindsight being 20-20, I should have seen the sign, but I didn't.

Maybe all we can do is to tell our stories; those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Different morning.... 5AM Mom was awake and walking hallways; I had awakened about 3:30 and got her to the toilet and must have fallen deeply asleep, I woke up and Mom was gone, lucky, just in the hallway, so I got her back to bed, then I figured I'd hit the toilet too. Two minutes later Mom is walking down the hallway the other direction, looking as she's being attracted to something like a moth to a flame, she ends up in the front bedroom going through the closet in there. Get her back into bed where I am now being serenaded with the old 'days of the week litany' for a few minutes until I think she wears herself out and back to sleep.

The wandering this AM was almost just like narcolepsy, sleepwalking, and Mom's newer wandering has been like that too, even in the daytime.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A particularly sad day...

...for me and for Mom too.

Take all the behaviors that make up the condition called dementia; the spoken repeating, the constant movement of drumming fingers, patting legs, the wandering with the blank look on the face, the 'lost sounds' of looking for me when I've been away for a minute in the bathroom, and then the trail I found in the house this morning after a shower; Mom's done them all today and then some. There was a time this morning when I was sitting at the table and Mom would go from the living room to the kitchen, close the drapes, turn on the lights, turn off the lights, wander the hallway, go to the bathroom and only flush the toilet, wander back and around, then come back and sit down...tap her leg, then repeat all over again.

Decided to take mom for a burger, and she wanted to disassemble the burger to eat the pieces, had a bite, chew chew chew chew, prompt to swallow, then Mom tried to get up and 'go to the car'; and it was about this time when I realized that going to a concert this afternoon was not going to happen; I can't in my right mind even try to take Mom to something that she so used to look forward to for days ahead of time. There's one more aspect of the symptom, loss of sense of time and place, Mom will change our last name to her girl name, we'll be living in Montana and then California, things change over seconds.

I'm just feeling very sad today...for the Mom that was, what Mom has become, and what lies ahead...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Confusion, deep in the heart.....

.....I've been confused before, just for a moment or two, you know the kind where you wake up from a deep sleep and don't know where you are, or what time it is?

Imagine being like that all the time; that's the only thing, short of getting in Mom's brain, that it must feel like.

Mom can't tell me if its morning or night, she can't determine from light/dark what time it is.

She can't tell what day of the week it is, what she just had to eat, or not to eat.

This morning she got up to toilet at about 2:30 and about 5, both times I woke up to coach/supervise, all came out just fine, but I had to tell Mom to 'pull up nightie, pull down panties, sit on toilet'...all the steps.

This morning later I got up, read, showered, and in the ten minutes I was in the shower we had another bathroom accident of the semi-solid type, pretty obvious to me that she kinda knew about pulling something down, but the step about getting to the toilet was lost, so there it went, all over feet and floor, and then walked in too.

I could tell when I got out of the shower, because of the smell, so lay down some newspaper on the floor so I could walk over it and get the shower ready for Mom, then carefully remove the soiled stuff so as not to add any more to the floor, shower Mom off, get her dressed, then start on the carpet cleaner and the cheapest paper towels I could find to get the worst of the stuff off the floor, with carpet cleaner and white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, then hit the rest with a real carpet cleaner.

All the while Mom asks 'who made the mess that you are cleaning up', she has no idea it was her mess, no idea of walking in it.

And this afternoon, Mom's caught and stuck on the 'days of the week litany', and just a minute ago she's standing in the hallway with her panties around her knees, so its time for more toilet coaching!

Monday, May 16, 2011

33 months....

...yes, since Mom fell and the resultant hip fracture, I can't believe its been almost three years.

Three years of Mom's decline into dementia.

Three years, such a really short period when placed into the 'cosmic reality'.

Then again, our lives are pretty short, at least the part of our lives that are 'on earth'.

So let's see, what have the last ten days brought, besides more of the same...laundry, bathroom stuff, wandering, repeating, eating with hands, fingers, picking up a fork and asking 'what's this for', trying to squeeze Diet Coke from a can when the glass is right in front of Mom.

33 months ago...maybe what I needed to have happen to realize Mom's condition...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Second Week of Easter....

....and we had some nice Spring Days here, then yesterday got really hot.

Don't know how all this stuff in Mom's mind works/happens, but the last three days have been bad on the 'stuck/repeat/wander' front. Mom has this very strange behavior when she wants to wander, she'll be sitting down, then will sit up with a real start, get this blank/possessed look on her face, and take off (well, its a slow take off!). Wondering if anyone has seen anything like this?

Maybe I'll write more later, I'm just enjoying today where Mom appears to be happy and she's not moving around constantly.