Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Monday, July 4, 2016


But it's not so bad being a daughter this week.  When I last mentioned my mother, I had taken her to Kaiser to have her stitches out, but the doctor decided they weren't quite ready to come out and so we made an appointment to come back in two days.

When I picked her up two days later, she looked like a clown.  For some reason known only to her, she had put lipstick on the stitches and on her cheeks.  She denied doing it, but you could not deny that her face had these big red splotches on it, and when we got to Kaiser the nurse started dabbing at the splotches and red came off onto the gauze with which she was dabbing.

She got as much of it cleaned up as she could and took out either all or all but one of the stitches, swabbed the wound area with disinfectant and got a nurse practitioner to come and check things.  She said that the area was infected, so prescribed an antibiotic for her to take three times a day for the next week.

That was when we canceled our plans to go to Santa Barbara and I have been going to Atria three times a day to give her her medicine (I told the girl at the front desk I was earning frequent flier miles at Atria!).  I had hoped to maybe get someone at Atria to give her the evening pill for 3 days so I would not have to come in at 7:30, but she has to be on their "medicine program" for them to give her3 damn pills, so that wouldn't work.  

The nurse practitioner also decided that her glasses were rubbing against the bridge of her nose and making the infection worse, so she shouldn't wear her glasses.  Fortunately, she sees as well without them as she does with them, she has told me ever since she had her last cataract surgery, and the glasses are now merely a habit, so not wearing them would not be a problem for her.

I told her NOT to wear her glasses and NOT to touch her wound and spent my time the first day yelling at her whenever she touched her wound, which she does not remember that she has.  I took her glasses off and wrapped them in a paper with DO NOT WEAR GLASSES written on it and rubber banded around the glasses.

The first morning I went over to bring her coffee and give her her first pill of the day.  She was already up and dressed, and had put lipstick on her wound and was wearing her glasses, my note not to wear them, neatly lying on the kitchen counter.  I asked her if she had put anything on her face and she said "just makeup."  Sigh.  I was so frustrated with her and she was so depressed that she couldn't remember anything.  I cleaned up her wound and put some Betadyne on it and then ended up taking all of her make up and her glasses home with me and as we talked, every time she touched her wound, I would remind her not to do it.

When I left, she looked like a very depressed, very old lady and I went home feeling guilty

But there is an advantage to seeing her three times a day, I discovered, when I went back in the mid-afternoon to give her the second pill of the day.  She was a different person.  Much more "with it" and cheery and seeming to have forgotten the problems of the morning.  We had a nice visit an I told her several times that the dining room was serving prime rib for dinner and to remember to go.

When I returned at 7:30 for the last pill, I asked her if she had gone to dinner and she said she was eating it now, pointing to a bowl of potato chips.  The next morning, a woman stopped me to ask if my mother was OK because they haven't seen her in the dining room lately.  I guess she's just eating snack food.  So I went out and got better snack food -- cashews, for example, which she loves.  I bought a pound or so of them.  I also got a box of ice cream cones and some oatmeal cookies as well as some breakfast cereal bars.  Nothing nutritious, but better than potato chips for dinner.  There  are better things I could have bought, but I had to buy things I knew she would actually EAT....and she has no microwave or stove, so I couldn't get anything that had to be heated.

Yesterday the wound was looking better and I decided it didn't need Betadyne any more and that it was starting to heal properly.  Also, somewhere in that demented mind, the message to not touch the wound must have sunk in because I noticed that she would rub her eyes, but avoid the wound, though she doesn't remember she has one. (I went and got some Visine for her itching eyes).

She feels bad that I have to come three times a day and keeps asking why I can't just leave the pills because she will remember to take them.  I think even she realizes that's a silly thing to expect.
I had not planned on having lunch with her yesterday, but walked her to the dining room to make sure she went to lunch, but there was nobody at her table, so I ended up sitting with her.  She always orders just fruit and dessert and I have learned how to order at least vegetable soup for her and make her think she has ordered it.

I don't know if she went to dinner, but I suspect not, but at least she had something slightly better than potato chips to eat.  

Seeing how things have gone with her since we saw the nurse, I'm glad that I stayed home to be around 3x/day for her.

But I sure would have given anything to have been a part of the world premiere of Ned's new movie.

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