Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Mother's World

Every day seems to present a new scenario when taking care of a parent with Dementia.

Today started out really good with what I thought was an honest, loving conversation with a family member about my Mom.  Turned out to be a hurricane of nasty words directed at me and at Jerry.  It really hurt and it was supposed to, of course.

Usually, I can dismiss the callousness of some people and enjoy the fact they aren't in my life, BUT since my Mother is on hospice and may not have long to live, I am trying to make allowances.  I will not, however, be cursed at and called names over portions of an estate that doesn't even exist yet.  My Mother is still very much alive and her belongings are HERS.  Such dysfunction!  

As my sweet friend, Princess Di, reminded me:  Leopards don't change their spots!  I was a fool to believe things had changed.

My focus right now is my Mother.  She is so fragile.  She sways back and forth from reality to numbness and the inability to even realize what room she is in.

Sometimes, she looks at me with so much love, it melts my heart like butter; and I feel I will completely cave in if she really does die.

Other times, she is so mad and harsh and impossible that I pray she doesn't last much longer.

Sometimes I look into her eyes and she isn't even there.  That is when the tears just boil out of my eyes.

This experience is overwhelming, but I thank God every minute that He has trusted me with the responsibility of caring for her.

Mom is awake so much during the night, she wants to sleep all day.  It was 75 degrees out today and beautiful.  I told Mom we needed to go somewhere so she could WAKE UP.  I took her to town where we picked up Jerry from our store.  Then we drove across the street to Sonic for chicken sandwiches. Mom was in the back seat.  Jerry and I were in the front.  Mom's hands don't always work right, and after she had eaten about half of her sandwich, the innards all fell out into her lap.  She was so upset with herself.  I had put a towel in her lap -- just in case -- so it was fine.  I felt so sorry for her though because she realizes her body isn't working right.

Last night, for the first time, she started hollering "Mamma, Maaama, Maaaaama!"  Over and over. (Always before she has hollered my name over and over.)  I got out of bed and rushed down the hall as fast as I could.  She was asleep and still hollering.  I finally woke her up.  She said she hadn't been saying anything.

Again, an hour later, she started hollering "Bo, Bo, Boooooo!"  I got up and rushed down the hall again.  This time she was naked from the waist down, and she didn't know why.  Her clothes and socks were strewn about.  Her many blankets were all off of her.  I asked her who "Bo" was.  She said it was me.  I helped her redress, tucked her in and kissed her on the forehead.

She went back to sleep.

I couldn't.

I never leave her alone in the house even for a minute.  Christy will come at 7:30 tomorrow morning to bathe and dress her.  Karen will come at 9:00 and stay with Mom as long as needed so I can go to the grocery store and run some errands.  Jerry is taking off work to come with me because it is a big job.  He has been AMAZING!

Jerry is in a lot of pain due to a torn meniscus in his knee.  Every step he takes hurts him.  And I knoooow!  WHY is he coming to help me buy groceries and run errands?  He insists he can handle the pain and that walking is better than sitting.

He is having surgery on the 20th.  I will have two people to take care of then.  Jerry won't be hard.  I think he has to have rehab and use crutches for awhile.  He will still be able to work.

I am able to sew and quilt some.  Terry is coming over Friday so we can spend some time together. Karen will be here four hours on Friday.  She can stay longer if I need her to.  She loves Mom, and Mom loves her.  That is such a blessing for two people who met only weeks ago.

I made a new blouse for me and a new blouse for my Mom.  Mom actually climbed up the 17 steps two times so she could "be with me" as I was working on them.  She always says, "I want to be with you."  I feel like I am HER Mom.  I'll show you pics of us in our new tops when I feel she is up to posing.

Be back soon.

Hugs, Joy

7 comments:

  1. Thinking of you, Joy. Your mother is so blessed to have you and Jerry taking such great care of her at this time in her life.

    What a wonderful thing you are doing, but realise how difficult it is for you ( for my grandmother had early-onset dementia and lived with our family for 15 years when I was growing up and sadly my mother has developed it, too, but she is in a rest home now)

    Look after yourself and Jerry
    Much love
    Sue

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  2. Dear Joy.
    God bless, God bless, God bless you and your loved ones!
    You do know that you are doing the "right" thing.
    Sending good "vibes" your way. .......And.....
    Wishing you peace of mind, spirit and strength.
    Hugs to you all.
    JoAn


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  3. I am currently going through Chemo and need to be "taken care of" periodically. As the recipient of unconditional love, I know that I feel it in my heart. No matter if your mom recognizes you or your efforts, she feels it in her heart and is eternally grateful. Keep it up because you can't when she's gone. She will live her days with so much love in her heart. What a gift! Your Jesus to her. God bless!!!

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  4. Joy and Jerry my heart aches knowing exactly what you are going through and what is also to come on this cruel dementia journey having endured the same with my hubby's beautiful mom. I appauld your strength and love. If I could tell you one thing to help you get through each day it would be what I had to keep reminded my husband each day it was that you have to remember she has no control anymore to filter what says says and does, they are not attacks on you. I think that was the hardest part for my husband as he always tried to correct her when she said outlandish statements. I would just get him to change the subject because she would forget what she was talking about very quickly. We tried to keep her at home but that was not possible and you may have to be prepared for that to. You are doing everything and more for her and she is a very lucky woman to have you as a daughter!

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  5. Money does strange things to people. When my father-in-law was ill with terminal cancer and still in the hospital, his own 45 year old daughter was against him having any treatment that would further his life because of the cost. She told us this of course, but not him to his face. My husband, his brother and I knew she was after as much of his money as she could get and I suspected she was telling him not to get treatment when nobody was around. One day, I left a voice recorder in his room and walked out to "go get him something". Sure enough, she was telling him the treatment was ineffective and painful and he'd live out the rest of his days in pain so he should forgo it. We started calling her the Angel of Death. It got so bad, we couldn't leave her alone in the hospital room with him because she was ruining his spirit. One day I had to go there at 0515 to beat her in by 10 minutes. She said, "So you're not going to leave me alone with my own father?" I said, "No" and sat there until she left. My FIL passed away 3 months later and to this day, my husband won't speak to her.

    Be strong, you can do this. And prayers for Jerry's surgery and his medical team. God bless you both. Hugs, Becky Thompson, Power Tools With Thread

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  6. Sending you love and prayers, Joy Joy. All I can tell you is, "This, too, shall pass." I can't tell you it will get better, because most likely, it won't. As far as the family member, just put it out of your mind. You don't need to deal with that kind of garbage. Just know that there are those around that love you and will support you. I'm glad you are taking time for yourself. You will need that. I wish Jerry's surgery was sooner so he wouldn't have to be in pain so long. He doesn't need to be in that kind of pain. God Bless him for helping you shop when he knows it will only make that knee worse. Hugs, Phylly

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  7. Reading and hearing about your mom in your videos brings tears to my eyes. You're such a wonderful, loving daughter to care for her. My dad and father in-law bout suffer from different levels of dementia so we're getting it from both sides. We're fortunate that my mom (who has cancer) and Hubby's mom are still alive and able to handle their care. I never would have thought my husband​'s disability was a blessing, but his inability to work has meant that he's available to give each of them a break by taking my dad to lunch several times a week so Mom can go with her friends or take my father in-law hunting (unloaded rifle) so my mother inlaw has a break.

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Hugs, Joy