While devastating tornadoes have demolished many areas in our southern states, and Osama Bin Laden has been brought to justice, a whirlwind of change has been encircling my mother as well.
Since my last post, I have hardly had the time or effort to record anything which has transpired. Some, I'll write about, and some I choose not to.
A new doctor, a stay in the hospital,new medications and a week away from mother's move to my house, seems to be bringing dementia more and more to the front burner in my life. I find myself with a tiny buzz inside my brain and stomach most of the day. If you've ever used one of those personal face fans and remember the tiny motor sound that it makes as you fan, you can know that this is what it feels like. Tears, panic attacks, chicken little episodes are all just a thought away. Another word for this is "stress."
I have learned lots more about dementia in these past weeks. Some helpful, some worrisome. While talking to some dementia specialist and just those who are going through the same issues as I am, I have found some answers to questions that I thought had none.
I was able to speak with a nurse who cares for dementia patients and is well informed. She told me that even a change of my voice, the way I walked into the room or turned my head, could all cause my mother to go into an "episode." But one of the most helpful answers I have come across, to a question I have had for a long time now is "where is the home that mother longs for?" A friend told me that she had discovered the answer in a dementia training. "Home" is really not a place, but a "state of mind." The feeling of being insecure, unsafe, possibly unloved, causes this "wanting to go home." I have gone back to the most recent episodes of mother's wanting to go home, and agree that it has been when she had reason to feel insecure.
A friend who works with dementia patients in a nursing home environment, sent me a packet of wonderful information as well. Included was lots of very helpful tips on how to caregive. My husband said that I didn't have to read the material, that all I had to do was the "opposite" of what I had been doing and it would be what the info said. As I began to read, one thing stood out to me. Never give dementia patients more than two choices, because it will confuse them. I would imagine that during the time of one of mother's rantings and ravings, when I gave her two choices; either to go to a nursing home or to jail, didn't count. So many things I have said or done that was merely a human reaction and not neccessarily the right one, can cause feelings of guilt. I have been told that these feelings and reactions are only human and a part of it all through trial and error.
I have come to realize being a mother myself, there are many parallels to a dementia patient and a young child. While on a trip back from mother's new doctor in a different town, we encountered a thunderstorm that seemed to follow us all the way home. Mother was already in the back seat due to her fear of my "driving skills." As the rain battered down and cloud to ground lightening flashed everywhere, mother became unconsolable. I began to sing the song "My Lord is Near Me all the Time," and reminded her of words she had said to me many times through out my life. "If God can't take care of us now, when can He?" I must admit, it felt a little unnerving to hear myself in the role of her parent. As we pulled into the garage, I ran around the car to help her exit. "Just get the little boys out first," she ordered. Just as a little child would do, with her mind, she had created imaginary friends during her time of distress.
Mother's "granny flat" is almost completed. We should be having our final inspection within days. I know that I have enough love for my mother to care for her on a daily basis, I just hope I have enough strength!