After my experience with my mom’s bullying and stepping on a lady’s foot on purpose, I thought that was the worst it could be. Ha! I was wrong.
Being forced to step out from behind the stained glass and to see clearly was not desirable. Can’t I stay behind the softly muted window and see things through a rose coloured pane of glass a little longer? A shocking episode seen through clear glass is not at all comfortable but there is nothing about Alzheimer’s that is comfortable.
My dad got a call from the day nurse at my mom’s care centre yesterday – twice. My normally gentle mannered mother was violent against an aide. Apparently, she was getting some help toileting and wanted to go for a walk before fully dressed. The aide said she wasn’t going anywhere until she pulled up her pants. When the aide bent over to help her pull up her pants, my mom took two handfuls of hair in her fists and pulled. The aide eventually got my mom to let go of her hair but as she stood up my mom slapped her hard across her face.
This is shocking! Horrifying! Embarrassing! Concerning!
Tomorrow we will find out more when we meet with the nurse to talk about it.
My instinct is to be apologetic, embarrassed and reassuring that this is NOT the woman we know and love.
But what if something was going on and she had every right to defend herself? How would we ever know? She can’t remember 10 minutes ago nor does she often speak in understandable sentences. She is at the mercy of these people hired to care for her. With that thought I think some lessons in martial arts might be necessary for my mom to protect herself. ; )
What is to be done? She just had her medicine adjusted 2 weeks ago and is so drugged that she sleeps through breakfast and lunch and is usually drugged and quiet when I come to visit in late afternoon. The violent woman reported about here is not the docile, drugged, quiet woman I see at the home when I visit her. Minus the foot crushing incident of course.
I am going to go and talk to the nurse with my dad but I have no illusion that I can stay behind the stained glass then.
During my extensive reading and searching on the internet I came across two revolutionary new retirement homes, one explicitly for people with Dementia including Alzheimer’s.
Here is the link to the first one, a retirement home for the general population of seniors.
Here is the link for the second, a most remarkable and beautiful place.
Today we moved in and decorated my mom’s new room. It started off very bare and we have tried to make it cozy. As I glanced through the pictures that my sister took and posted, I was struck at how a long and full life can be condensed like this into one small room with a few furnishings and a few pictures on the wall. Normally I might say that she has photos of loved ones and all her memories to muse over. But that has been taken from her. She has her photos but doesn’t remember some family members at all and the names of others have escaped her. Her memories are jumbled and confused, distorted and twisted with things that happened long ago, more recently or not even a memory at all but some concoction her brain has created. What once was a large, colourful frame of stained glass that had been forged in the experiences of life has been broken and melted down to a small stained glass bird that is waiting to be free. Free from the constraints of her sore body and her clouded mind. I imagine that bird to be a blue jay or maybe a hummingbird, flitting itself to the sun on a beautiful spring day with the smell of grass and the warm breeze on her cheek. Right into the arms of God who has the greatest and most wonderful stained glass of all.
But beyond the weird thoughts of freeing her body and spirit to prevent this impending abandonment, Friday is already here (12:15am) and in 12 hours we will be taking her from her home and the subtle reminders of life as she has known it. I tell myself that living in a home isn’t that bad. It’s quite nice in there. It’s comfortable and maybe she will enjoy talking to others in the unit.
But she gets so scared and anxious sometimes. Who will know to close her blinds or leave a light on the first few days? Who will tell her there are no criminals outside her window or dogs dealing drugs on the corner? Who will be there to reassure her that her baby is tucked in bed? Or the kids are home from school? Or that her dog, Simba, is at home and okay. Or to rub her foot with lotion because it hurts? Or to remind her to drink her coffee she has forgotten. A stranger will have to do these things. She cannot call my name for me to come and help her dress, but a stranger will be there to do it. Some say the last vestige is pride but that will go quickly when a stranger is caring for her personal needs. A stranger that will be a man on some days. A man! That seems just wrong to me.
And mentioning Simba, her poodle brings me to more tears. He is hands down going to be the one that mourns the most. He is utterly devoted to her. He follows her around the house and even into the bathroom. He sleeps on her lap and on her bed. When she goes out he waits for her, standing on the couch whining until he sees their vehicle pull into the driveway and then he is wiggling his body in joy and waiting at the door. If let out to see her before she gets out, he races around to her side of the door to wait for her. He is Devoted with a capital D. What will happen to his little spirit? Will he adapt and become dad’s dog? Will he die of a broken heart?
This post is not poetic in the least. If I had a stained glass window in front of me I would break it with a hammer.