SWEET TEA

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's a New World . . .



We made yet another trip to Tulsa last weekend.
My sister and I, along with our Mom, had to make a court appearance.  Mom is currently receiving "respite care" in an assisted living center while my sister and I go through the court system of being appointed as Guardians for our Mom.  Mom has been evaluated and told by doctors that she can no longer live alone. We  have been advise to seek Guardianship for her.  Mom has dementia that has began to progress very quickly since November...Mom doesn't understand what is happening and is refusing to accept her diagnosis - therein lies the rub. 

When I first arrived in Tulsa I went to see Mom at the assisted living center.  When I saw her I hugged her.  She hit my arms and told me to keep my hands off of her.  I knew she had done this to others in the family, but somehow I thought I would be different.  Wrong!

We sat and visited with her.
She was clearly agitated and angry with us at times.
We talked about court and what was going to take place.  It was not a pleasant visit, though Mom seemed healthy and reasonably "settled" into her new environment.

The next day we visited Mom again, briefly.
I knew better than to approach her with a hug this time.  We talked about when I would pick her up for court the next day and what she would wear.  She was in a pleasant mood and seemed happy to see me.  When it was time for me to leave I "asked" her if she would give me a hug.  She did.  She teared up a bit at this time and apologized for behaving as she had the day before...I was pleased she had remembered.  I was pleased this had been a good visit. I love my Mom.

We (Mister, DD, and I) picked Mom up as planned the next morning.  I had feared she might refuse to go, but she was in good spirits and we left without incident.  We had pleasant conversation on the drive to the courthouse.  Their was laughter and light conversation on the drive.  We met my sister and her husband at the courthouse and we all waited outside the courtroom door for 1+ hours, until it was our turn to see the judge.  When the judge began to explain why we were in court Mom became agitated.  She cut her eyes to look at me and made a face.  She then told the judge that she had been brought to the courthouse under false pretenses.  She also said she had no idea why she had been brought there...Dementia is an ugly disease.  The judge asked Mom if she wanted an attorney.  "Yes", she certainly did.  Court dismissed so that Mom could obtain counsel.  Bummer!

We will make another trip to Tulsa for the next court date on Jan. 28.  Oh how I hate the thought of making another road trip. The irony is that because of the dementia Mom is fighting my sister and I who are trying to follow the doctor's orders by providing the needed care for her.  We want to bring her here to live with us (Mister, DD, and I) for as long as is possible.  It is my hope that this will happen soon so Mom can get comfortable here before our new granddoll is born in March.

After court Mom told both my sister and I that she hated us and she hoped we died before she did.  There was some profanity woven into her words.  If you're not familiar with dementia you will probably find this very offensive - if you understand dementia you will recognize this as simply "the disease talking". I tried to calm her, to no avail.  We took her back to her assisted living center and we began the long, cold, drive back to Louisiana.  It was a very long day!

I waited three days (hoping she would cool down) then I called Mom.
I expected her to refuse my call, but she didn't.
She was happy and upbeat.
There was no mention of court.
She was actually in somewhat of an excited hurry to be off to her Bingo game. 
My heart soared!

It's a  new world every day when dementia calls the shots.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Let the record show that I am now reading all sorts of materials about dementia.  I see some of the mistakes I made when visiting with Mom.  Some of her behavior is directly related to mistakes I made.  I should not have approached her quickly and tried to hug her - mistake #1.  I'll do a better job next time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Please understand that I write this to document my life.
I'm definitely not pining for sympathy.
I understand that life has seasons and I feel honored (and a little scared) to make this journey with my Mom.  When I think of all the life journeys she has made with me, I am humbled.



24 comments:

peggy said...

I am reading your story and thinking of my neighbor who has one almost identical. It is so painful to hear and must be almost unbearable to experience. I think your writing about it would help you and also others who might need to hear. Thinking of you in Michigan.

Susie said...

Sorry these things are happening. It is a sad thing. My father had some kind of episode a year or so before he passed...he always asked me how did I got to his house or hospital. Once I was sitting with him and he was crying, but not speaking. That is when I felt so lost. He never went home again from the hospital. I just think of him in his real home now, happy. My prayers are with all of you as you go through all it takes .xoxo,Susie

Life in a Small Town said...

I worked in a nursing home (as a speech pathologist) for 2 years. You're a smart woman to educate yourself as much as possible. It will make things a lot easier for your mom, and your whole family.
Prayers! :)

Janie Fox said...

Education will be so beneficial. It is a very tough road and it gets ugly and then sad. I am praying for you friend. ANd yiour mom. Hugs...

Jeanie said...

What a difficult time. Your mom is lucky to have someone with your understanding on her side. You may have already seen it, but one resource I would suggest is a book called "The 36 Hour Day". It has been helpful to some people I know.

Melanie said...

You are walking down a difficult path my friend. You will need the support of friends. I understood what you were talking about with the profanity, it is a part of the disease. A difficult part however. You and your family will remain in my prayers!

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Oh you poor things. We are facing something similar with my MIL. I would like to have things in order before she gets too bad but getting her to agree will be tough. It is a whole new day when they can't remember. Perhaps one of the most dreadful things to lose your memory I think.

Laurie said...

you brought tears to my eyes, oh how I wish there was some way someone could help, you are so brave, your attitude is just amazing, I will keep you in my prayers

Norma said...

I have just read your post and my heart goes out to you and your family. It is such a sad thing when a parent is no longer the person we knew them to be. Love and prayers to you at this time. I hope things work out for you and your mom.Stay strong.

Chatty Crone said...

I have been there with my own mother and I am so thankful she is now with the Lord. Is it stroke induced or AD - they progress differently. Hugs and prayers. sandie

Tammy said...

There is nothing easy about what is going on with your Mom and it's hard to figure out what is right and not good to do. My Mother-in-law had it and it was so many years ago there wasn't much to read on how to handle her best, it's a difficult thing. Just know you are doing the very best you can with what you know and that you are doing it with love for her!!

Rhona said...

It must be so sad to see a parent starting this journey in life and to know that things have changed forever. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your Mom and your family. Stay strong and I hope it all works out. xx

yaya said...

I'm sorry you have to go through this time with your Mom. As I was reading I was putting myself in your place wondering how I would handle it. I don't know if I would have done as well as you did. You are doing the best for her and hopefully she will be able to adjust to living with you. I'll keep you in my prayers that all will go well in the future.

Mari said...

Because I work in a Nursing home I deal with dementia a lot. It affects people in different ways, and seeing the change in personality is so hard, especially for the family. You're going great!

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

My mom has dementia and I always try my best to 'read' her from a distance and then closer before making contact if I think she will allow contact (hi, lovely to see you etc). She is now in care (for 5 years now) and fairly distanced from life but does tell everyone she 'loves' them. That helps. It was tough going from her daughter, to her sister to her mother and then to a stranger as she her mind faded. Its emotionally tough on adult children and very hard to remove your emotions and deal with the realities. Glad you are reading/learning and have your DH, Sister and her DH on the team. Tough calls, safety for everyone is important.

Prayers for all of you.
Joy

Shelly said...

Sending hugs and prayers to you. We are going through the exact same thing with my mother in law and father in law. Dementia is so ugly, but this is where the love comes in and covers those gaps. Prayers for all of us~

Nonnie said...

Your last two statements say volumes about your love for your Mom. She is so very blessed to have you for her daughter and I can see that her legacy of love lives on in you. Praying for all of you.

marejohn said...

Bless your hearts-My prayers to up for you all...how my heart goes out to you..there are just no words. May the Lord hold you close and give you peace and grace.

Say What? said...

I'm following your new blog and I'm honored that you are sharing your experience with us.

I have an Uncle with dementia. (Not the one with cancer, another one. Our family is just being punched on all sides.)I hope your story will give me some insight and advice to share with my precious cousin. These are such hard days for her, and for you.

You are in my prayers.

Joyce said...

I'm sure these are hard days. I'm glad you're writing about it and trying to keep the perspective that its the disease talking. Your mom is lucky to have you and I will pray you have the courage to slog through and do what you know is best for her, even when she resists.

I understand your wanting to start a new blog, but I actually think it is okay to talk about it here too. It's your everyday life and we can't always separate out the good from the bad.

I pray this new little baby coming brings you much joy to brighten your heart.

mommamindy said...

I'm sad that the judge wasn't more prepared....to spend money on a lawyer for a patient with dementia, you might as well roll those bills and smoke them. But, our system doesn't always work. :)

My grandmother had dementia and never remembered who I was or where her husband was. He had died ten years earlier. So, whatever world she was in, that's the world I was in. If she was mad at her husband for fishing and not visiting her, I would just joke about husbands.

One day, she fingered my daughter's hair and said, "My daughter, Mary (my mom) used to have hair just like this." It was so joyous to see that one spark of memory, I didn't care about anything else she said.

You will learn to adjust. You will learn to cope. You will teach others how to respect the "new" woman your mom has become. You are an amazing woman.

Love and prayers to you.

arkie said...

My dad's mom suffered from dementia in her later years of life. My mother in law has it also. Some days are very good ones. Memories and love will get you through it! I wish we could have the opportunity to have her live with us. God bless you for trying to do this for your mom!

Carla said...

Oh my. Now I can see what was wrong with my dad before he died last month. He was in a nursing home and they called it depression. He was being treated for the wrong thing. Your mom has a good doctor leading you in the right direction. Prayers for you and your family

Carla said...

Oh my. Now I can see what was wrong with my dad before he died last month. He was in a nursing home and they called it depression. He was being treated for the wrong thing. Your mom has a good doctor leading you in the right direction. Prayers for you and your family

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