Saturday, July 01, 2006


The anti-biotics have done their job, urine is clear of infection, acute looney stage is over and even the stitches have dissolved. All good news, I wish. Mum's short term memory is all but shot. She can't remember having lunch or when to take her tablets even with me writing the time on a sheet. She's doing things two or three times because she can't remember doing them the first time. She's had a colostomy for 17 years and it's always been a barometer as to how well she is as that's the first thing she always does for herself after any illness but this afternoon she forgot how to put the bag on properly. She has always been a whizz with the phone banking system, much better than I handle it but yesterday she got really upset because they wouldn't let her call through, she had forgotten what a hash key was.

This is not the same as last week because she knows her memory has gone and it's upsetting her but only when she thinks of it and then it's gone again. For the next two weeks I will have to write down everything that she forgets, what her mood is and how long she remembers something. We have no idea if it is the cancer or the amount of medication or trauma from the surgery that's just surfacing now. My sister and I are giving her the two weeks before we have to start with the assessment system and that's not something we are looking forward to. We don't want decisions taken out of our hands and we don't want her to think we are shoving her off to some dodgy nursing home. The ideal way would be to convince her to go into respite care for a few days and be observed but I think she would resist this until she lost any resemblance of independence.

This is so hard but at the moment I can physically look after her because she can still shower herself even though I'm the one on the bottom with the towell drying her feet. That's another thing, because I'm always at the back with the towell I hadn't noticed her side on but today she turned and I was stunned at how much more weight she has dropped. She feels safe at home and she's comfortable so it's just a matter of how long I can manage. It's not fair because she's only 76 and should have more time but then I think of all those little kids dealing with this and that's not fair, at least she's had a good longish life. It is so different from my father with his cancer because he was with it right to the minute of his death. He drove his car swigging on a bottle of morphine and only gave up driving when he had no strength to use the brakes. He could have had morphine injections but he wanted his mind to be clear for as long as possible. Mum doesn't seem to have had a choice. Sorry to be so gloomy but that's what a blog is for and now that it's out in cyberspace maybe I'll be able to deal with it better.

Just to make you worry about my sanity. My father has been with us, in spirit, since this all began. There are portraits on the wall of me and my sister which have been there since we were seventeen. My picture has begun to click. The first time, my sister remarked that spirits always do that when they want to get our attention, so we laughed and asked Dad what he wanted. Check on Mum was the first thought and we found she had almost fallen out of bed. While not a strong believer, when that picture clicks, I check. My sister had a few words the other night, and propped down in front of her portrait and referred to that bloody old bat to be answered, not by a click but an almighty crack which made us both jump. She's decided to keep remarks to a inaudible muttering from now on. We could put this down to the cold or the fire being on or several other things but in all these years we've never had clicks and never a crack.


Anonymous said...

Well, JahTeh, I had a mom with dementia, but I cannot offer advice. I can only offer understanding.
You all are completely stressed out, with little good-quality sleep, so clicking pictures and other surreal things you're noticing aren't all that odd considering what sleep deprivation can do to sane people. I experienced all this myself when a bird in my yard was making noise in the leaves that was SO LOUD I swore it might be God sending me a message (I'm an aetheist); and the radio seemed to have programmes on that were directed at me. My bipolar friend said, "Welcome to my world." Yikes.
All I am saying is, give yourselves some slack in all this, and know that you are doing the best you can--and some things we just cannot make better.
Do take care of yourselves, eat well, keep asking for advice from anyone you want, and try to laugh at some things with your sister and family if you can find anything about this in the least bit funny. No, it's not fair what you or your mom are going through, and it stinks.

Daniel said...

JahTeh, as many times as you need to, go to a quiet, darkened room, light a candle, sit on the floor and concentrate on the light.

Block out all noise. Then force your mind to concentrate only on your breathing, the air going in, the air going out. With each breath going in imagine life-giving oxygen cleansing and re-invigorating your body. As you breath out imagine the stress and worries going towards the candle to be burned.

Gradually slow your breathing, make each breath deeper and deeper. In, out, in, out! As you do relax your body, feel it begin to soften and sag. For a time you will feel peace.

It need practice but it works wonders. Good luck!

JahTeh said...

Daniel the only time I'm on the floor is when I fall on it so I find candle light reflected in a darkened mirror is all I need and I get to sit on the bed. My body is already softening and sagging, I don't need help with that.

Janet believe me this family has the most inappropriate sense of humour that sustains us at the worst of times. While I don't believe in the God of man's imagination, I do like to think of a benevolent intelligence with a sense of humour watching over us.