I haven’t posted anything in almost two years. Perhaps it is because I have finally accepted what is, accepted what I cannot change no matter how hard I try. No prayers nor wishes nor hope can or will change the fact that my mother has dementia. I wish I could say that the reason I haven’t written in my blog is because my mother has been cured. What joyful words those would be! But the truth is my mother does have dementia and it is progressively getting worse at an alarmingly fast pace.
Mom rarely speaks anymore and when she does it is a one word answer. If she does attempt to converse she only gets a couple of words out before her mind and face go blank. What follows is an awkward silence by everyone around until someone breaks that silence and then life goes on. She sleeps day and night until someone, usually my father wakes her to dress for the day or eat a meal. She can no longer feed herself and all food must now be run through a blender. She chokes when drinking so her fluids must be thickened. Just getting her to drink is a challenge since she no longer remembers how to suck on a straw (she bites it and holds on tight with her teeth) and trying to get her to drink from a cup is like pouring glue down her throat. She no longer walks so a lift is used to hoist her out of bed in the morning to place her in her recliner where she sits, mostly sleeping, until it is time to hoist her up and take her back to bed.
Mom is now with Hospice who has graciously provided us with a hospital bed, oxygen machine, lift and many other items to keep mom comfortable. A Hospice nurse comes twice a week to check mom’s vitals and refill any prescriptions or order other items she may need. They have been a huge help. Our caregiver now comes five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. which gives dad much needed help and freedom to get away for a while and be normal. She is wonderful and I thank God daily for sending her to us. Every evening around 9:00, I go over to help dad get mom to bed. Some nights it’s easy. Other nights I come home mentally exhausted from dealing with what it takes to get her cleaned up and tucked in bed. On weekends and on days the caregiver cannot come, I become the caregiver.
My husband and I moved to a beautiful piece of property about a year ago that included two houses side by side. Before making the decision to move we took my parents to look at the property and asked if they were interested in moving with us. My dad jumped at the idea so they are now living next door and I am able to help more. As much as we loved the property we would have never moved without them since it was too far away from where they were living. Dad loves it and mom seems very content so I believe it was a good move.
I believe that mom still recognizes me. Perhaps it’s just too difficult to think otherwise. On good days her eyes light up when I walk in even though she hasn’t called me by name in quite a while. On bad days she simply looks at me with those damn dementia eyes. Up until a few months ago she would say, “Your nose is cold,” every time I kissed her cheek. She no longer tells me that. Perhaps it is because my nose is no longer cold, or simply because she no longer remembers what a cold nose feels like.