Friday, November 03, 2006


I have just spent two days with my Mum. I don't know about her mind but mine is turning to mush. I'm finishing her sentences and finding words for her when she says, "Oh you know".
I watched her take one and a half hours to write out her shopping order and it was hard to sit back and not take over. She wrote everything down then checked the pantry, wrote some more on a little piece of paper and then copied it out again but not on one large piece of paper but two more pieces of paper exactly the same size as the first. Even with that she couldn't ring the order through without losing her place and ordering some things twice, until I gave her a pen to cross out each item.

I'm beginning to feel like a mind reader although it wasn't hard to figure out what she meant when she wanted to know the name of the brown shoe polish you put on toast. Round things with the flag on them meant English muffins. Soup was confusing because she didn't want the large tin nor the small tin but the in between tin which is soup for one. I didn't have much luck explaining that you couldn't get anything smaller than soup for one.

The Brick Outhouse has finally grasped the fact that he has to think about what she's saying and while she isn't lying, if she can't remember then she'll make up whatever sounds best. Yesterday he went looking for his lunch which he'd left in the fridge. I'd put the groceries away and I hadn't seen any vegetable patties so he asks Mum. Mystery solved, she'd eaten them but she said that because that's what he asked. When he found them in the bin, the story changed and yes, she had thrown them out because they were soggy. It's hard not to put thoughts in her mind which she then trots out as truth half an hour later.

It's not Alzheimer's, it's more like a short circuit. She'll come out with half a sentence because she's been thinking of the first half in her mind but doesn't realize she hasn't spoken it. Changing subjects in mid-stream is another problem but I'm getting quicker with that. With other things she still functions okay. She now has full control of the DVD/Video player after a few hiccups. She can still talk about politics and how she's going to vote. No trouble with showering, washing clothes, dishes or cooking. There's just this little cog slipping out of sync between thought and mouth.

When I come home, I can't think for myself. I've been sitting down and picking up needlework or some other piece of craft, just for an hour or so until the brain settles down and the blood pressure. Now I understand why basket weaving used to be given to long-term patients in hospitals. Doing work with the hands and watching what you're doing seems to use one part of the mind while the other part runs around patching up the holes. Even blogging doesn't play the right part, the last post shows that because I have no idea how I ended up with three different fonts.

The next crunch to come is allowing her to have some Christmas lights but not the full house set. That involves about 6 powerboards and numerous timers and she won't remember what she's doing and we are a bit worried about her burning the house down. It's not like we haven't worried about that in other years but now it will be worse. My sister says I'm thinking too far ahead but it's already the 3rd of November and she's drawing up plans including me doing all the work. That's not going to happen, I've resisted for the last four years and I'm still digging in the toes, no lights, no dolls, no Christmas window. I know what the trade-off will be, I'll be spending Christmas Day with her with no escape clause. That's not mean because I would rather remember last Christmas Day as the best one we'd had for ages.


Kurt Reply said...

JT, I completely understand you and what you are going through, believe me. My mom had dementia and while it wasn't technically Alzheimers, it made ME crazy. Just don't spend too much time alone right after your visits with her; go shopping or something where you can talk to normal people, and keep talking with your family as I am sure you do. I didn't have that luxury and it made me nuts.
As for the fonts on the posts, let me assure you it isn't your fault. I use that same exact black Optima template as you do on all my different blogs, and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has a problem with fonts. There is some sort of problem or error with the code that writes that Optima template. I have the problem when I use pictures on my blogs, which is ALWAYS. I don't know code but I can only describe it as some sort of "ghost signature" that placing a photo on the post causes to go awry. An experienced html writer would know it probably has something to do with a tag error in the template's construction but it's all Greek to me.
The first part of your post was possibly copied by you and pasted there. When you copied it you probably picked up some sort of formatting of a font that you are unaware of. Then the photo caused another shift in font, just like I've experienced myself so many times.
The worst part of all is that, while composing a post, I have tried and tried to manually change the fonts to the correct ones, and sometimes the window absolutely refuses to accept it. Even THEN, sometimes I have to rewrite an entire post from SCRATCH because the f**ker then tells me I have a missing font tag. Well, that's the end for me because I cannot understand that in the least so I surely cannot know how to fix that.
SO, PLEASE don't blame yourself one bit for the adolescent shenanigans of the Bugger fonts. It had NOTHING to do with you.

Besides, kiddo, remember that content and intent are infinitely more important than presentation, at least among friends.

R.H. said...

Give her a good Christmas. Put the lights outside if you're worried. It's worth the risk.

JahTeh said...

Thanks for that KR, I notice if I start writing straight under the photo it changes and 'paste & copy' is for when I remember how to do it. Mum doesn't have dementia either, it's simply a winding down of cognitive functions which is worse on some days. The conversation is like a CD with a scratch, it just goes jump.

RH, She has lights everywhere, the glow can be seen from space. The carport, windows, balustrade, walls, you name it, she'll light it. It really is too complicated to deal with all the timers and switches because she'll fiddle with them and forget what she's done. Mind you, if you'd like to turn up with light bulb in your mouth and go from green to blue to red for about a month, I'd be really appreciative.

Link said...

The Christmas lighting sounds challenging and a little worrying. Its nice that she wants things lit up a hell of a lot brighter than wanting the reverse.

Learn from kr's experience I reckon. Out of sight out of mind has been my salvation for most of my life wiv me Muvver, as it often doesn't bare thinking about.

R.H. said...

I didn't mean that many lights.

And I'm saying no to your proposition. Try someone else.

JahTeh said...

Rh, You could dress up as an elf and sit on the roof and hold a torch. Just remember to duck when the planes come in low.

It's a little early really to be worrying about it but some idiot told me the other day that it's only 52 days or something to Christmas. I only just got over last year.

Word verification infme, you kidder blogger.

R.H. said...

It's not planes I'd be worried about; it's the police helicopter.

(The necessity to duck is something you hear about from ex-husbands -but only when their side is heard.)


Davoh said...

um, was going t comment, but fergot what .. never mind, you'll probably post about it, again, one day .. :->.

The Editor said...

Kurt, you blog????????

Have I been told this????

What are these blogs called?


[aside] Hi Jennie.

JahTeh said...

Yes, he blogs Bear, go back through your archives. Bad enough remembering for a mother now I have to fill in the Bear's brain.

Et tu, Davo.