The bed has become, I think, my mother's refuge. It used to be that when I went to see her, she was asleep on the couch. Now more often than not she is sleeping n her bed, with lots of pillows and a comfortable duvet. Sometimes she's dressed for the day, sometimes not and it's difficult to tell if she slept in her clothes (as I often do), or if she was helped to dress and then went back to her bed.
Yesterday I was going to have lunch with her, but no parking place, so I went shopping first and it was after 12 before I got to her apartment. She was in her bed, dressed. I could not tell if she'd been up or not, but since her shoes were next to the bed, I assume she had been up and had assistance getting dressed before going back to bed.
I just ache for her. It must be terrible to wake up in a strange place, with strange people, and no clue where you are. I woke her up and she squinted at me, and said, weakly, "I think I recognize you."
I sat on the bed, hoping she'd come to life, but she turned on her side, pulled the duvet up over her and said several things, all mumbled softly and I have no idea what she was saying. After about 30 minutes, I told her I thought I should leave and let her get some more sleep. That got her moving. A little.
She eventually sat up, but just sat there, not really acknowledging that I was there, though ultimately she decided she would get up. I told her I'd wait in the living room. She finally came out and said "what am I supposed to do?" I told her there was nothing she had to do but that I was just going to sit and wait for her so we could visit.
She disappeared again for a long time and when I went to check on her, she was sitting on the bed again.
She finally came in and sat in her chair, but didn't know where she was. She seemed surprised to hear she'd been there nearly 4 years. She asked how often I sat in the chair she was sitting in. She commented on the blooming plants outside, and asked what the blanket on her couch was. She had no concept that I had not been around, and had no interest in hearing about the trip to Santa Barbara (though she asked what I'd been doing ... she just didn't want to know about it). She said she just sat there and waited for people to come and see her.
I finally decided that we had nothing to say to each other and I left (ironically, exactly an hour, which is how long most of my visits last). I brought her laundry home to wash, which surprised her that I would do that.
I left with tears on the surface, then came home to an email from the woman who runs Atria saying they were having problems getting her to shower and to wear Depends and that she has been having accidents. She was thinking I could come by while they bathe her and maybe that would calm her down. She also suggested I remove all of her underwear and replace them with Depends.
This is killing me. I hate the thought of causing her discomfort by making her accept strangers bathing her. On one of her more lucid days, we talked about it and she was adamant that nobody was gong to bathe HER.
I agree with the need to get her to accept Depends because incontinence is becoming a problem.
I suggested to Brianna that we just ignore the bathing assistance right now until it becomes a noticeable problem and decided I won't take her clean underwear back to her when I've finished washing it and put Depends on her underwear drawer and see what happens.
As I said, this is killing me. I watched her sister go through this and that killed me, watching that intelligent, funny woman shrink into someone who had to be bathed and screamed bloody murder the whole time because she hated it so much.
It's so hard to know what to do and I wish I could talk to my mother about it because she'd know the right thing to do!