Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Email: Moms Dementia?

Yesterday was most difficult day of my life and of course much much more difficult for mom. My wonderful mother has what might be an early form of dementia. I am not sure if that is the diagnosis but that seems like it might be the case. Here is part of an email I wrote to my uncle and aunt, my mothers older brother and sister in law.

For the first time in my life I was the caregiver to mom. Never before have I not did everything she asked, but now it seems she does not understand any longer and I must make some choices for her. Starting to tear up again, best to just paste the email and try to sleep some more before I go back to visit mom and check on her progress. Need a bit more sleep now, was up for around 26 straight hours yesterday after around a 4 hour sleep the night before.

What my mother is going through is likely going to be much worse than dads 13 month fight with pancreatic cancer. I am going to need to help mom as much as I can, to make her next journey a tiny bit easier. If anyone deserves to be taken care of it is my mother. She always put every ones well being ahead of her own. Mom took care of my grand mother for many years as her health slowly deteriorated,  she took care of my father when he got sick with cancer (mom would not let him go to a dying hospital, she cared for him at the home he loved till he died) and she took care my sister when she had her many family troubles over the years. Mom has always been so caring and loving to me as well, always worried about my travels, always hugging and kissing, always wanting what was best for me

Here is the email to my uncle and aunt about what happened last night.

Uncle F-----Aunt J----

I was with mom in the R---- A---- (hospital) emergency until 255am, around 10-11 hours. The doctor decided to admit mom because she has a urine (bladder) infection, they want to give her and IV to fight the infection. She will stay in the hospital a minimum of 2 days, possibly longer. When I left she was getting the IV injection and after that she was going to be taken up to the ward to sleep. 

Today was a terrible day for mom. I am now pretty much convinced she cannot live alone any longer unless there is improvement on a very large scale. She was very confused, asking me the same questions over and over again. Some questions I answered upwards of 50 times. Sometimes 1 minute (or less) after I answered the question she would ask it again, and then 40 seconds after that ask it a 3rd time again. If I did not answer it quick enough mom would try to go to the nurses counter to ask in person (even thou she had asked them 5 or 6 times already).

Things got really bad with mom at the end where she could not stop pacing (after midnight) and kept asking the nurses for nausea medication. Even after they gave her some she almost immediately forgot they had given her anything, within about 3 minutes she had forgotten and was asking for more. And then I needed to tell her 20 or so times that she had taken the medication. And explain 40 or so times when the doctor was coming, what was taking so long, what the next steps were in her care etc. She asked to go home maybe 25 times, said she wanted to die 2 times. The whole evening was so difficult for her. Before tonight I kept thinking she would get better, but now I think the illness is in her mind and there will be no magic cures, this is probably forever. Mom kept asking for a pill that would make her better, it broke your heart. She kept saying "Gerald take me home, I want to sleep. Gerald I feel so nauseous, I feel like throwing up. Gerald why can't they give something to help me, make me feel better."

Being in emergency was very stress full her. What I found was the best way to calm her down was to hold her hand when she walked, and walk slowly while talking to her of something from the past, something she remembered well. Before I had been walking beside her but holding her hand and talking was much better. Then I would ask her to sit down, and I sat directly across from her holding both hands and moving them up and down a little bit, up and down. Then I would ask her stories about Baba and Gido (Grandmother-Grandfather) or Uncle F---- and Uncle M---- and she would relax some. Instead of jumping up and walking again after 30 seconds or maybe 1 minute I could hold her in her chair using this method for up to 10 minutes. Then we would walk, hold hands and talk, then sit with 2 hand holds and talk, then walk etc...did that maybe 7-10 times before the doctor came and told us what I was happening and I finally got her to lie down in the bed and relax a bit.
Thanks for listening Uncle F---- and Aunt J----, it helps me to write these notes.....Gerald