Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An Elephant Never Forgets

Today ended up being completely different from what I anticipated.  The plan was to take my mother to lunch with her friends in San Rafael again, to celebrate another birthday.  To my amazement when I called to make sure she was awake she remembered that we were supposed to go out, but she was not feeling well...said she "ached all over" and that she didn't feel like going anywhere.

Of course I worried about her all day, but when I called in the afternoon, she felt just fine and didn't remember feeling bad in the morning.  The woman is a constant enigma.  I admit that the thought crossed my mind this morning that she might have claimed illness because she didn't want to go to lunch, but we'll never know.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Oooo...look at THAT

The other day someone on Facebook posted some photos of wildflowers he had seen about a half hour's drive from here.  I am a sucker for the purple lupine and orange poppies that bloom on California hills in years with sufficient rainfall.  Knowing how much she loves nature, I wanted to take my mother to see them.

I very nearly did NOT take her.  When we went to pick her up, she was not in her apartment, so I went to check the dining room, where she was just finishing her lunch.  I walked up to her table and when she saw me she jumped back and got that "you've just stuck dog poo in my face" look again.  She told the two women that she didn't know me and didn't want to know me and didn't I look disgusting.  

That just hit me wrong (I'm obviously too sensitive) and I got angry with her.  She got her feelings hurt and one of her luncheon companions calmed me down and told me about when her son had donated his long hair to a group that made wigs for cancer patients.  She told me I was doing a beautiful thing. I wish my mother would tell me that.

My mother never said anything about how disgusting I look again, but I don't care if she does have dementia, if she continues to act like I've thrown dog feces at her every time she looks at me, I just won't go see her for awhile.  I'll send Walt to deliver her meds.  It bothers me that of all the good qualities I have admired about her through the years, the only one that seems to be sticking with her dementia is her vanity, which I have found her least desirable quality!

But this isn't about that, it's about wild flowers.

We drove out through the town of Winters went into the hills.  I was hoping that we weren't too late but then all of a sudden we were in the thick of it.

Everywhere we looked the hills were carpeted in purple lupine.  If you look carefully at the top in about the middle of the photo you will see a bright patch of orange poppies.

The purple carpet kept rolling along and then suddenly there was a carpet of poppies blanketing the hill.

It almost hurt the eyes, it was so beautiful.  We found a place to pull over where I could get some photos and I loved this patch of the two mixed together.

I think my mother enjoyed the ride.  She did seem to like the flowers, but enjoyed the greenery more.  But we eventually drove home and dropped her off.  I told her I would be by tomorrow to bring her meds.  I think she may still have been smarting from my brief outburst at lunch because she was very quiet.  THAT she'll remember.  What she ordered for lunch or the names of her great grandchildren, she doesn't.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Yes, I'm BALD

...When it was over, we got to take a look at ourselves in the mirror.

Then we went into the pub for dinner (beer and fish 'n' chips for me), after which we had to go to Atria to show my mother.  Thank goodness Marta was taking a video when we knocked on the door because the look on her face when she saw me should definitely have been recorded for posterity.  She looked like someone had just shoved a bag of dog feces in her face, she turned away from me and hid behind the door, in the dark kitchen.  She didn't want to turn around and look at me again.

Turns out she thinks Ned looks fine because he's a man but I'm a woman and she can't stand to look at me.  Several times through the short time we were there, she glanced over at me, grimaced and looked away again, though eventually she did accept it.  She's going to have to get over this real quick because we're spending the day tomorrow driving around looking at wildflowers.  (She says that's OK because wild flowers can't SEE me like people can).

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Feeling "Off"

Every time I see my mother, she tells me that it's an unusual day because she woke up feeling like she should be doing something, but she doesn't know what and so her day is just off somewhat.  She doesn't realize that every day for her is like that.  She thinks it's just occasionally.

I hertook  to Kaiser to get a TB test.  She never did understand, despite countless explanations, where she was going or what she was going to do.  But it went all right and we return on Friday to have the test read.
After the TB test, I decided we should go out to lunch, so we went to IHOP, which is next door to Kaiser and has a parking lot.  I had forgotten that this was the first Monday of the month and was the day when a lot of the retirees from Walt's office meet for lunch.  Walt wasn't there when we arrived, but one of his co-workers that I know was (Walt arrived later).

The retirees sat at a table for 12 while my mother and I sat at a booth nearby.  I was glad that the retirees were there because it gave us a new topic of conversation.  "Is that YOUR group?" "Don't you want to sit with them?" "Do they come here every day?" and variations on those questions repeated over and over and over again throughout the entire lunch.  But it was fun to have something new to repeat.

I had done her laundry last night and brought it to her this morning, but there was no parking at or near Atria, so I left it in the car while we were driving around.  When we came back, I took a cloth bag that was in the car and put her laundry (it was nothing but underwear) in it, figuring the bag was small and lightweight and should not be a problem for her to carry.

Except she couldn't figure out what the bag was.  Every time I told her it was her underwear, she was first grateful because she was out and wondered how I had known that, and then she would look again and ask if I was sure it wasn't my underwear.  The last time we chatted about the laundry was as she was getting out of the car and asked me what was in the bag,  When I told her it was her laundry, she said "Well...if you say so..."  I am not convinced that the bag made it to her apartment, but I'll find out when she either calls me to ask where all of her underwear is because she's out, or when I see her on Friday for her TB test re-check.

Dear thing, she is exhausting, but I'm getting much better at coping with her emotionally.