Who is this lady and where is my Mom?

Monday, May 15, 2006

I am sure from time to time you have come out of your favorite store and asked this question...Just where did I park? That quick little panic rising when you realize you have no idea where you parked and you really have to think to remember even which door you came in! It's really bad if someone is with you and you know you don't want to look stupid! Sometimes I will look for my car and can't seem to find it, and that's when it dawns on me that we are in the other car. I have done that lately as my husband just got a new truck, and when we are out together, we are usually in my car. Well, until he got the truck, that is! I like the truck! Not like his old one that smelled like an ashtray! (well, that's a whole other post)

Getting back to forgetting where you parked...You know how you feel for that split second when you can't find it, and you have looked everywhere that you thought you might have parked it...that fear that something bad has happened, maybe someone stole it, or no...
that couldn't be happenng. It's gotta be here somewhere...What if you felt that unsure all the time? What if you didn't know what had happened? What if you just couldn't find something important that you just had? What if you could no longer remember how simple things operate?
This is what is happening to my Mom. She no longer knows how to work a dishwasher, and recently she has trouble figuring out her microwave most of the time.
My sister was over at my Mom's house and was fixing them both some dinner and she asked Mom where her can opener was and she started looking in all the drawers. She had an electric can opener sitting on the counter top that we bought new when she moved into her new apartment in October. My sister saw the opener and says..."Oh there it is!" And Mom says "Oh is that what that is? Well where did I get that?"

She will call me and when I answer, she will say "Where have you been? I have been calling all morning!" The sad thing is, I have been working on paperwork and projects beside the phone the whole day and there were no calls. Or she will call me on the cell phone and I will ask her why she didn't call me on the home phone, she will get all flustered and tell me that I didn't answer it, or that she did! Sometimes she doesn't even remember that she called me and thinks that I called her.

I have taken her into a nuerologist to test for Alzheimer's or dementia...but he says if she has it, then it is very mild. Her last appointment was about three months ago. I think he should see a marked increase in symptoms or signs of progression of the desease when he sees her again. It's hard cuz it's not like you can really say much to the doctor with Mom there. And of course she wants to be in the middle of everything.

Mom is really afraid she has Alzheimer's because my Gramma, her Mom, had Alzheimer's and died of complications from a stroke. Gramma's was really advanced and she was 84. Mom is 78. She is scared! It is a terrifying disease in which you totally lose all dignity as well as your treasured memories that you have stored away to last you through your life. Mom gets adgitated and frustrated and downright hateful to people around her.

My sister and I have taken over alot of her responsibilities to make life simpler for Mom. She feels it all slipping away at times and either digs in her heels and fights us on stuff or gets so frustrated that she is in tears. It is heartbreaking to watch. My sister balances her checkbook and pays all her bills. I take her to all her doctor appointments and do her grocery shopping for her. We got her moved into a senior apartment complex. She started off very happy there, but now seems to be fighting with the ones she had made friends with at first.

My sister and I go through phases of different feelings. One time we are very understanding and the next time just plain shocked at what she says or does and then there is a new emotion to deal with the next time. I am thankful that we have each other to talk to or I don't know how we would handle it.

The last couple of times I have seen Mom or talked to her I have been so upset with her, and I realized that I was actually mad at her! I have been feeling really bad about this and praying for a new attitude and finally yesterday my Sis and I were talking about it, ( she has already gone through this stage), and she asked me if I was mad because my Mom was gone! Well, talk about smacking you right in the face. The more I have thought about it, the more I tend to think that that is what it is. My Mom is gone and there is this woman here now, that I can't count on, that I can't lean on, that doesn't remember hardly anything of what we shared. And now I have to take care of her! And I don't even know her! She is a pretty negative lady that complains about everyone and everything! And soon she will probably not know me either! How sad is that?

I love you Mom, whereever you are!


Blogger Jane said...

Great blog, visit mine sometime! I hate loosing my car, especailly on a 1st date lol!

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

I meant to comment the other day -- when you were wishing your son a Happy Birthday. We could have shared a hospital room. My oldest son turned 30 on May 6:)

But when I read this latest post, I decided I had to comment here and now, and not wait until "later".

(((HUGS))))). I can't say I have walked in your shoes -- I was talking to and planning "next week" with my mom, and the next day, I was planning her funeral. In the blink of an eye, I didn't see it coming -- she was gone.

HOWEVER, I can relate, somewhat, to your whole realm of emotions. My mom left me the role of caregiver to my aunt. It has been an interesting experience, to say the least. My aunt is very bright, intelligent, and VERY independent. She is also very diabetic, has had 6 heart attacks, bad lungs, bad heart, and now her kidneys are failing, and she has made the decision to NOT have dialysis. I don't always know how to process my feelings. Esp. when they are negative and bitter towards. She is not an easy lady to deal with sometimes, and quite honestly,she shouldn't be my responsiblity. She had 19 other neices and nephews, 5 brothers and sisters ... and yet, the burden of her caregiving lies solely on me because she chose to move here a couple years ago to be closer to my mom. And it was great -- they were 2 peas in a pod. She moved here in May. My mom died in December.

The key thing though I'm trying to say, is ... hang in there. Pop over for a visit at my blog, and click the "contact me" button ... and talk to me. I won't think badly of you, because I am sinking in the same emotional boat you are. We both know what we should be feeling and thinking ... but it doesn't always match to the ACTUAL thoughts and feelings.

My heart goes out to you ...

1:21 PM  
Blogger Paula Martinac said...

I'm helping to care for two parents with dementia, which is what I write about on my blog.

I'd recommend taking your mom for testing again - if it's a vascular dementia, and not AD, she may need medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol, and that can help slow down further memory loss.

My thoughts go with you.

10:12 AM  
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