Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Loneliness of Dementia

 I went to Atria to drop off my mother's laundry, which I had washed.  I told Walt that I really should write an entry called "The Loneliness of Dementia," which would be entirely too depressing an entry but I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  She had people around her most of Christmas and that was very nice but now that things are back to normal again, it's mostly just me again, and Ned, bless him, stops by now and then too.

Her stepson, who used to have dinner once a week before she moved to Davis, started trying to come every couple of weeks and now he comes every month and a half or two months ("It's a long drive," he tells me, forgetting I used to make it in the other direction once or twice a week in the years before she moved here).

My cousin's daughter used to come 3 or 4 times a year to do her nails (she's a cosmetologist), but I think she was only up here once in 2016.  Her good friends from Hospice of Marin, with whom she worked for >20 years used to come up for lunch, but they don't come any more.

Face it:  she's no fun to visit any more (except maybe for Ned, who is determined that things will be FUN...and makes them that by the power of his personality!)  But she can't remember a lot of people she used to, and she can't remember anything for longer than a few seconds, plus, most of the time she is sleeping (today she told me she almost never naps any more!) and always wakes up feeling terrible.  She often says she has been sick to her stomach all night and has been throwing up and then has to clean up the floor (not true).  So it takes a long time to talk her out of not feeling terrible, but if you get her to her chair to sit, she eventually starts asking about the weather and "what have you been done that you haven't told me about and I should know" and then "what are you doing tonight?" and often "are you going dancing tonight?" and then back to the weather again.  Wash, rinse and repeat until I get tired of it (almost exactly an hour) and then say goodbye.  If I tell her I'll be back in two days, she gets upset because she needs to see me every day.  If I go early in the day and say I'll be back the next days she is upset that she will be all alone all afternoon.

I feel so sorry for her because I seem to be the sum total of her non-mealtime activity and it makes me angry with myself that I sometimes don't visit her every day because I just don't feel like it.

I usually come home feeling totally worn out, though I really haven't done anything but sit and  listen to her for an hour.  I almost always need a nap when I get home.

But I do understand why nobody comes to visit her any more.  It's definitely not fun, especially if you go every day and spend half of it hearing about how bad she feels.

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