• Lisa

codebreaking again, and begging the wind

Mom’s slept pretty well the past few nights. The only problem with that is increased wrangling during the day, which makes it darn near impossible to get much of anything else done. It took me 4 hours the other night to get one 1000-word article done for work, because she would not stop talking. Now, I ought to be able to whack out a thousand words in an hour or two at the most, even when it involves research. But I have to sit on mom’s bed because she hollers every 10 seconds if I’m not in the room, and she is sitting next to me reading her pill schedule aloud for like 6 hours straight, over and over and over. It’s just devilishly hard to filter it out. (Although, weirdly enough, where a lot of times editors send articles back for tweaking, this one got a rave review from editing the very next morning, saying ‘this is terrific, we are posting it right now’. Go figure! hehe)

Sometimes I can’t deal. I find myself going ‘mom, please, just stop’. It’s not like I don’t know full well that saying that is like begging the wind to stop blowing. She can’t. She doesn’t understand why I get frustrated when she asks what pills she takes at what time, because she doesn’t remember that she has asked that question 52 times already today.

Then, of course, she gets mad when she asks some vague question and I say ‘which pill/what thing/what do you mean, mother? I’m sorry, I don’t understand’. She’s always kind of assumed I could read her mind, and it’s even worse now. No, mom, I don’t know what you mean when you babble on for several minutes, and I’ve been trying to filter it out because I’m trying to blog or write an article for work or something, and then suddenly you say ‘then what do I do?’

Like right now. What do you mean, what do you do after you take those pills? You do whatever you want to: lie down, wash your face, eat some ice cream, watch some Olympics. You don’t ‘do anything about those pills’ because you just swallowed them. Then again, sometimes she still has to ask how to take the pills. As in, does she swallow them, or what?

Today was definitely what the guys on MASH would call a well-rounded day of chaos. Mom kept reading her pill schedule and saying ‘I’m all confused’; and naturally, she won’t listen when I tell her I’m not confused and she doesn’t have to worry about them. For an added level of crazy, I got mom’s meds refilled this past week, and pill A now looks almost EXACTLY like pill B. So that’s some more great fun, because (remember she reads the pill schedule constantly, just doesn’t comprehend it) I keep having to explain why these 2 pills that she takes at different times, and that do different things, now look nearly identical. Argh! Things can never ever be easy.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit I’m hoping to use her memory issues to my advantage though. I just tossed the old empty pill A bottle last night and started giving her the new pill A this morning without comment. Thankfully, so far she hasn’t made much of a fuss. Well, not about that, anyway. About lots of other things, of course.

And then she has regularly scheduled meds, plus pain meds that she can take whenever, sort of, only not really whenever because it has to be x hours since the last one. And no, I can’t just say ‘trust me’ because she wouldn’t if she knew who I am, let alone since she usually doesn’t.

Oh, there was cryptography practice today too, which I failed miserably this go-round. Never did figure out what a meat vitamin was, and this afternoon mom suddenly started hollering wanting her blood pressure pad. What is that? I don’t even know. I showed her the blood pressure machine, her b/p pills, her heating pad, even the pad that goes in her diaper. No dice. She kept yelling we had to go to the drug store and get her another one.

Now, I did not argue, even though it was raining, because it occurred to me: we are starting to run low on milk, and mom is on her last pack of diapers. Getting out even to run to the grocery anymore is a trick. BUT the drug store has those! So I packed her up and drove to Walgreens and hoped she would wait in the car while I went in and grabbed the needs (and a couple of leftover bits of Valentines candy, LOL) Of course, after 3 minutes or so, she decided I’d been gone half an hour, and started to get out of the car and come in and look for me. Did I mention she only had on some slipper socks, the ones with the little rubber nubs on the bottoms? Let’s see how much Shout it takes to get mud out of those.

Moving along—another assisted living report! This one actually kept their entire building locked. When I buzzed in, a circle of residents were sitting by a fireplace in the lobby while a caregiver led them in singing, and other staff were bringing more folks to join in. There was a lady there with a therapy dog, a blue heeler like daddy’s old Spud, which brought a lump to my throat.

The administrator was actually working the front desk! She was cheerful and after she found somebody to cover, she took me on a tour. The place was great. Instead of meeting with me in an isolated conference room, she took me to the activity room off the dining area to sit and talk. In the midst of our conversation she spotted something happening over my shoulder, excused herself, and went over to gently break up a small dispute between two little old ladies in wheelchairs sitting at a table.

Since the whole building is locked, this admin, after listening to me describe mom’s status, said she thought mom would really be better in their main population, since she is verbal and social, but their setup would not allow for her to elope. The staff I talked with were very friendly and knowledgeable. AND I ran into a nurse practitioner I used to work with, who was awesome! She seemed delighted to see me and said she and her doctor had seen residents there for sixteen years and would be glad to add mom if she moved in.

I really felt comfortable there. Everyone was welcoming, the place was big enough but not so big as the first place, and they tell me they are fully staffed both in direct care and nursing, which means a lot. I have one more visit scheduled, to a small mom and pop group home. It’ll be totally different from the places I’ve been looking at. Should be interesting. Stay tuned.

#dementia #caregiver #codebreaking

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