• Lisa

pulling up big girl panties

Not much to report this go-round. Group home visit cancelled; mom’s sitter was sick again, poor thing. So it’s been another week with minimal breaks. Uncle David came by so I could run to the grocery early in the week; bless him, 45 minutes with mom has him tearing out what’s left of his hair. Aunt Peggy came by later in the week so I could make another quick dash. She and mom often end up at odds, but this time it was pretty calm. Aunt Peggy was pleased they had actually been able to have a conversation…until she left the room and mom started calling me over and over.

The group home (let’s call it Place R) I’ll reschedule for later. I already have another place scheduled for next Wednesday, subject to sitter health of course. This one is a place I used to work at! We’ll call it Place K. I wasn’t going to visit any of those, just because it felt weird. I know, dumb, right? A place I spent several years at is a place I already know the ins and out of. Took me a while to accept that. Besides, I didn’t work for the facility itself, but for a contract company that supplied their therapists. (Said company got its contract cancelled not long after I left, I understand.)

Anyway, K has been around for a long time & was affiliated with my church for most of its existence, It’s well thought of (except one time it got bad ratings, but that, I’m told by those in a position to know, was because one of the reviewers was a nurse who had been fired from there. Um, hello, what do you think will happen in a situation like that?)

Better yet, it is big enough to have a continuum of care; all on one campus, they have independent living apartments, assisted living, memory care, rehab when people get sick or injured and need to recover, AND skilled nursing, aka nursing home, which is pretty much the only type of facility around here that takes Medicaid. When mom’s money finally runs out, Medicaid picks up if you are in a place that accepts it.

Another good thing I noticed going over their paperwork: remember I said a couple of weeks ago that assisted livings and memory cares charge a base rate, and then add stuff on? K does not. The places with the add-ons can change charges any time too, if the person’s needs change. So, like, if and when mom got worse and needed more help, the rates would change immediately. With a flat all-inclusive rate though, I don’t believe that would happen. I will have a list of questions to ask as usual.

Mom’s memory is getting worse and worse. She can watch me do something, like check her blood pressure or change her diaper, and literally within seconds she is asking or fiddling and has no idea what she just saw. It’s worst where her meds are concerned, because—for example, as I write, she took half a pain pill 10 minutes ago and now she has no clue, not only that I gave it to her, but no clue that I have given her any of her regularly scheduled pills today.

She keeps wanting to go home, though thankfully hasn’t tried to escape again. Of late, she’s getting day and night mixed up. For the past week she’s woke up nearly every morning around 4 AM and flown into a rage because my lazy ass was in bed instead of being up cooking supper. . She has no sense of time whatsoever anymore; she asks for something, I say Just a minute, and 5 seconds later she’s yelling because it’s been half an hour and what she wanted is not done.

It’s getting harder for me to get through the days. I feel like I'm constantly on stage, under a glaring spotlight, with no idea what role I am playing from one minute to the next.

The other night she was enraged, yelling at me and hitting me with her pill planner box, and I walked across the room and out of her line of sight, talking all the while mind you (which is what’s really bizarre because sound is supposed to process better for people with dementia when they don’t recognize visual cues). I walked back into her view, and she instantly began to react to me like a totally different person. It’s impossible to adjust to because I’m constantly off balance. I can feel myself burning out, and that’s not good for either of us.

The family is ready for her to move. I know they are concerned about me, and her, and to be honest they are probably getting tired of me having to call them, and understandably so.

i try to do what i can to keep myself level: writing, knitting, reading, RV dreaming, praying, but it's hard when I have to spend most of the day and night wrangling her. One good thing: I remembered an herbal supplement that helped me be less depressed in the past, and got some and started back taking it. Maybe it’s helping, or maybe it’s just that I’m doing something, anything. Whatever works.

I feel like, if I can get mom settled someplace with professionals trained in this specific area, I’ll feel better about her, and I can stop play-acting 24/7 and go back to being her daughter. Although that’s sort of a pipe dream, I guess. Most all of our mutual history is gone. I can refer to something that happened when I was a kid, or something she and I did together, and she almost does the dog tilting head thing, it’s so clear she has no idea why I am saying these things, because she has no idea who I am.

Next week, report on Place K, and maybe I’ll share some of my un-bucket list. (what is that? Stay tuned! hehe)

#hope #caregiver #dementia

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