Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Another day of "mom-stuff."

It started at 10 when we went to Atria to meet Sean, the nurse who does assessments for her long term care insurance company.  Ned came too and was invaluable, keeping her "entertained" with jokes and explaining things to her.  Every time Sean asked me something and I answered him, my mother would mutter to Ned that we were talking about her and not letting her know what was going on.  I would try to explain what I had just told Sean, she would tell Ned she didn't understand a word I said and Ned would explain it to her over and over again. He was very patient and the day would have gone so much worse if he had not been there.

Finally someone has given her a comprehensive mental health evaluation, the results of which didn't surprise me, but I wish it had been done when I first asked for it >10 years ago (and several times since then) so we had a baseline. But this is better than nothing.  Most questions she couldn't answer (including how old she is), and she could not completely copy a simple figure he asked her to copy (two overlapping 5-sided figures.  She drew one.)  She aced the physical part, for balance and that sort of thing, but anything that involved mental calculation was pretty much a disaster.

I had to laugh when he asked her how often she went out of the building and she told him she occasionally went out for walks, sometimes to go shopping.  Since she is afraid of going out of the building, doesn't know where the nearest store is and has no money in her purse..I don't think so!
I had dropped off her meds with the front desk and realized that her Norco, the pain med, says one tablet 2 times a day, but the doctor said to start with half and see how that goes.  Since it seems to be working with just a half, I mentioned that she was only getting half.  They told me that without an order from the doctor, they would follow what was on the bottle.

So I came home and emailed the doctor.  Her nurse called back and said that Atria had also called them and they were faxing over a revised prescription.

Then it was time to go to the conference with Cindy, my dentist, about the exam she did on my mother a couple of weeks ago.  

There are lots of problems, but only one that is dangerous enough that it should be taken care of now (an extraction). Cindy is so good and so understanding.  Given my mother's age, she says that the remaining problems can be on a "watch" basis and if she starts having pain, we can deal with them at that time.  Cindy, like me, wishes she knew how much longer my mother has so she knows which dental problems are important to deal with and which are OK to just let go for now.

So I had the whole rest of the afternoon with no Mom to take care of.  But she has an appointment at 10 am. tomorrow for her EEG, an appointment which is in Sacramento and I should allow an hour to get there, because of rush hour traffic. When they set up the appointment they told me to tell her to stay up late and get up at 3 a.m.  Yeah.  Right.  I kept saying "you understand she has dementia, right?"  I guess the idea is they want her sleepy when she comes in, but since I'm going to have to wake her at about 8:30, that's probably a given.

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