Thursday, September 6, 2012

"A Different Visit"

Running up the cove for a short visit with mother right before Church, I am interested to see what she might be up to. Heading down the hall, I spy her, sitting with her head leaned back in her wheelchair, mouth wide open, asleep. I walk up to her and whisper in her ear...wake up! Mother has an older cousin at the home now, who has a mind as sharp as a tack. I was talking to her one day and she told me that mother sleeps with her mouth so wide open, that she could put an egg in it. Mother sits up as I speak to her, "well where did you come from?" she inquires. "Oh, from Santa's land" I tease. I began to roll her up to the front room. I don't know what it is about that room, but I love to sit there. Even if I wasn't visiting mother, I'd still like to just sit there and relax. The orange and yellow decor is somehow soothing to my inner beast. Thinking that mother probably feels the same, I enjoy rolling her up there while we visit. Sitting in the sunlight glow of the room, mother begins to nap. A car pulls up and an elderly man with a cane slowly slides out of the front seat and makes his way to the front door of the nursing home. I then see a much younger man walking around the back of the vehicle, who joins him at the door. As the door pulls open, mother jumps and calls out "is it snowing out there?" Thinking that I would be embarrased as to mother's words, I look at both men with a quirky face. Only to find that neither one seem to have heard her question. On down the hall they go, as if they are headed for a very important appointment and have arrived late. As I rejoin mother, I can hear a slight commotion. A woman is crying profusely, as to sob, saying "Why have you left me here?" "Take me home!" "I don't want to be here!" "You promised!" Now, I have told you in earlier blogs about my mother's "sonic hearing." Since then, I have discovered that I am not far behind her. Pulling into the grocery store one day, gas pumps were located just down the hill. I exited my car, and heard two people conversing as if they were next to my car. I looked all around me and no one was there. Looked again, and I could see approximately 100 yards down the hill at the gas pumps, two people talking. I was able to hear every word they were saying as if they were right beside me. When telling others about this incident, I have joked that possibly extraordinary hearing is a symptom of dementia, since the brain shrinks, leaving plenty of room for the ear canal to function. I will investigate this theory of mine, another day. So, here we sit, all the way at the end of the hall in the front room, with the visitors at the other end, and it sounds as if they are standing right beside us. Mother begins to make a inquisitive face as to what is happening. Just about that time, a resident, who like mother, wheels around the home with great ease and has the same curse, "dementia," rolls into the room, she stops at the door, turns and goes toward the restroom, stops there, wheels back around in our direction. She comes over to me with a look on her face as if she's a child and has soiled herself. I ask "are you alright?" "No" she says. "I have wet myself!" and begins to cry. I get up, assuring her that she will be alright and wheel her back down the hall to get the necessary help. There I see sitting nearby, the lady who was sobbing so, accompanied by the man with the cane and the younger man. My eyes make contact with hers as she sits on the edge of her wheelchair. She looks at me as if to say, "Don't look at me like that, I don't belong here!" I turn and go back up the hall to mother. My heart is heavy for the woman, and I began to cry. There was just something about this woman that touched my heart. Visiting mother several times a week, I have come to hear many cries, rants, raves and sobs from the residents here, but this was different. This lady didn't seem demented or decrepid. Her voice was that of someone who might be your neighbor, someone you work with, the checkout lady at the grocery store... me..or you. It was getting time to leave for Church, so I roll mother back to her room. As we start up the hall, the younger man is walking by. Normally I wouldn't be so bold, but because my heart broke for the lady so, I stopped him and asked if she was his mother, hoping he would devulge some information. He began to tell me the situation. Her husband was the man with the cane. He lives at another nursing facility, and she had to be here since there was only one room available. They had been married for some 64 years. He had picked his father-in-law up to bring him to see his wife and spend the day with her, but had gotten a late start. The woman, thinking she has been forsaken had wits on end. Hearing this explanation, somewhow made me feel better. I have asked myself, just why did that upset me so much? My conclusion is that one day, I know my inevitable fate. My mother will be 84 years old this December. I'll be 59, the same month. I cannot imagine that my brain will survive another 25 years. I fear the sentence of dementia each and every day, each and every misspoken word, every look that I get when I do a goofy thing that most people might laugh at. I pray for families all over the world, that one day, there will be a cure for this dreaded disease, dementia. The theif that is stealing the very souls from the ones we love.


  1. O my gosh, Jean. I didn't know you had this blog. I'm so glad I found it. And as you always do, you put a smile on my face but this time, also a tear on my cheek. My mom is only 65 but because of one major and several mini strokes in the past 21/2 yrs, she is in a mid-dementia state of mind. O, she can remember what she did 10-15 years ago, always could, but she can't remember she asked for an sliced up apple for lunch. She yells at everybody and raises her hand to hit us like we are 5 years old. Then says "I did not". It's awful!! I miss my mom sooo much!! She lives in Ark w/ my sister. well, she had to be put in a 'home' b/c my sister couldn't take care of her like needs. Mother is so unhappy....we've tried 3 or 4 places but all of them are "nasty" (her words). my sister just moved her back in w/ her last week and we're already talking about putting back somewhere else. It's just not working, already! Your prayer is my prayer. I pray that one day they will find a cure for this monster!! and I hope it's before I need it myself. ;-) Good luck w/ your mom. God Bless

  2. If you really worry about getting it, read Preventing Alzheimers by Drs. Shankle and Amen. They are the doctors who invested the Spect imaging to see the brain while alive!! They specialize in dementia. There are things to do, eat and take that they believe can prevent or at least slow down the progression of these diseases. Since starting the book I now take PS, ACL, ALA, CoQ10 and Vitamin E and after a week I see a huge difference in my energy level, alertness, and remembering names. I cover this book in my blog, but I bet you'd want your own copy. My mom is 89 and I'm 62 (this month). And I feel exactly as you stated, that within the next 25 years, I imagine I'll be there, UNLESS I TAKE STEPS TO STOP IT NOW!!.

  3. I'm happy to have found your blog, and to read about it from another perspective. I live in the UK and am a month in to a new job working in a home providing care for people with dementia. I'm only 19 and finished college a few months ago. I was wondering if you could give me a little advice? The husband of a lady in the home who I'm fond of suggested I write a book after we talked about how I was finding it. I started a journal two days ago after I saw this lady fall down a big set of stairs, and I panicked because with no training I had no idea what to do. Luckily the other carers were right in the next room watching some other ladies have a lovely time dancing. I'd quite like to start a blog stemming from my journal, but I'm unsure of what I would actually be allowed to put in. In my journal I have not used names, places or any other personal information, and only refer to people by their first initial. I notice that you have written that you are not demeaning your mother, but I worry that if I did write something it would appear that way. Anyway I would be very grateful if you could offer me some advice on writing, as I think it would be insightful for others as well as an outlet for myself, as I have been told I am very caring by nature and I become very attached. Also your post 'feelings' moved me almost to tears. It reminded me of a gentlemen in work the other day who cannot remember very much at all, but still shouted at his daughter (using her name) for not wearing a coat in the rain. xx