I am thankful I can start this journal with a posted picture of mom smiling. The last three weeks have been hard. Mom’s stubbornness has broken me not once, but twice resulting in me handing mom over to the nurses as I my tears flowed. The first time, I barely escaped to my car before the UGLY cry started! This was not caused by anything abnormal in a dementia person, it was more of the reality combined with my exhaustion (I have returned back to work which has limited the amount of time I have to spend with mom each day.) Mom had regressed as far as talking and toileting. Two weeks ago, she began wearing diapers 24/7 due to her wetting herself many times throughout the day and then becoming extremely ornery when help was offered…..
August 15, I found mom wandering the halls. She was not agitated yet, I could see that her ‘Dementia Mind’ was definitely making the decisions for mom. As you watch the video, you will hear her heavy breathing. She is in NO pain. This is more of an anxiety type breathing. She is on a low dose of anxiety medication which has greatly altered this. I believe she was exhibiting some frustration due to the fact that her morning ‘shopping spree’ had left her with shoes that did not fit properly! Also, notice the lumps in her pants as she sits down. That is caused by having a second pair of pants on that she cannot straighten, along with two pairs of folded underwear she has shoved down her pants. Despite her discomfort, I was thankful that she looked up and smiled at me before I turned the camera off! I left shortly after. I was never able to help mom with her pants and extra underwear because she refused to sit long enough for help. I left her wandering…
The next 3 days, I went without seeing mom. (We were out of town moving our daughter back to college.). When I walked into the front office, the nurse called me aside. She wanted to let me know that mom had a rough morning. She had become aggressive with the nurse (scratching and trying to bite) and kept setting the alarms off as she tried to escape. Usually the staff is so good at helping calm a patient or redirecting them. Nothing settled her down. She was given a light sedative. I sat with her for a few minutes. It was soothing to hear her peaceful breathing and seeing her relaxed face. It comforted me in the same way that watching my sleeping children after they had a rough day. A sleeping person is able to let go of their anguish and experience a few minutes of solitude. In mom’s case, it was a few hours. She woke up pleasant and hungry. Both good things!
Mom has always loved getting her hair done. Today she was excited to visit Mrs. Wanda and get her hair styled. I have tried to have light bangs cut into her hair due to the fact that she insists on parting her hair down the middle causing her hair to fall in her face! Mom will wear hair clips when she isn’t playing with them or putting them in other people’s hair! Unfortunately, this hair session was a flop! Water trickled down her back, wetting her shirt during the hair wash. She could not articulate what was wrong, but became very agitated. She kept asking for a little towel. When she was given one, she would bunch it up and place it on her lap under the cap. After five minutes of trimming, she got out of the chair and said she was leaving. There was no talking her into returning..It was when her cape was removed that we saw how wet her back was. I felt awful. She was letting us know something was wrong and I did not understand! We will try again for styled hair.
Showing up at AG and finding mom in a good mood set the tone for a fun outing. Mom was hungry and a restaurant sounded fun. It was a great decision! The waitress was kind and understanding. Her patience allowed mom ample time to ‘read’ the menu. (Mom loves to read. She is like a preschooler discovering the magic of sounds and letters creating words. Mom can read words and simple sentences. Her comprehension is questionable.) After reading the front menu, mom chose a salad, (with help from me). She was confused on salad dressings so I asked the waitress to bring two different kinds for her to try. Blue cheese remains her first choice. Mom tends to use her knife more like a fork. She cuts her bites meticulously, then uses her fork to push the food onto the knife. Her balance is good. She drops little. It is not worth the hassle of switching the eating utensils. It aggravates and confuses her. The red onions were a happy trigger for her. Every mouthful was followed with her proclaiming,”This is so good!” As mom’s hunger was satisfied, her restlessness became apparent. It was time to leave! The waitress quickly checked us out so we could head back to AG, mom’s security and comfort place. Upon arrival, she hugged me and Kincade and even told us she loved us. With that, she turned and independently walked through the security door happily ambling off.