Life has been a little rough lately. Living in "Dementiaville" can be taxing. Not only did my mother have a brain bleed back in February, but her dementia has greatly increased since then. I think she might have had another small brain bleed a month or so ago. Some days I listen to her say the same things 20 times. Right now her preoccupation is 1) with going home, even if she has to walk the 250 miles to get there, and 2) wondering where her husband is. No matter how many times I tell her that he died 3 years ago, she can't remember. She is also obsessed with calling her parents to come get her. If they were alive today, they would be about 110-115 years old. She is always surprised when
I tell her they died some 30+ years ago.
I have to admit that I often feel burnout. Her reasoning ability is completely gone. She can't follow even simple directions. For example, her cane might be leaning against the wall, and I will say, "Grab your cane so we can go." She reaches for her coat, "This?" This exercise usually continues with her reaching for every other item nearby until I come close and point to her cane.
Today I had a flasback to an MRI I had once. They strapped me in so that I couldn't move my arms. As I entered the tube like machine, I started to feel a little claustrophobic. I had to take my mind to a different place. I had to do two passes that lasted 15 minutes each. There was nothing I could do but wait it out, and try to think about something else. Sometimes that's how I feel now. I feel like I just have to grit my teeth and bear the dementia craziness until things change. I can try to find distractions for my mind, but I just have to live through it. And sometimes I remind myself that eventually it will get much worse as things progress. But like the MRI, I just have to tough it out.
I know it's my mother, but in some ways it's not. Sometimes I feel more like the parent. In some ways her personality is still there, but in many ways this is a very different person. So it's not really like I can enjoy being with my Mom. This is the scrambled eggs version of her.
So for now I will just try to take my mind to another place the twenty fifth time she asks me how far it is to her home, or scurries over to wash my dishes by rubbing them in her hands under cold water, or puts away the clean dishes in places I would never imagine. I will continue to make sure her hair gets washed when she showers, and that she brushes her teeth. (After I find where she tucked away her toothbrush). I will make sure she doesn't put back on her dirty clothes after she showers, and I will try to make sure she doesn't fill her cereal bowl with cornchips she finds in a bag on on the counter. I hope that somehow I'm building Karma, because I will probably follow in her footsteps.