Monday, 14 May 2018

Mother's Day

A year ago....Okaasan was curled up on the carpet of her room at home, in great pain from a broken back bone...3 days after a fall in the kitchen...and still refusing to accept help. We were changing her soiled diapers and pajamas, putting newspapers and pet toilet sheets under her in a bid to keep it halfway clean....

And finally...on the Wednesday, after the Saturday fall, Dear Son agreed to call in professional help and she was taken off to hospital...one after another.
A hospital for the broken bone, then a mental health hospital after the dementia went batshit, then a recovery hospital, then another recovery hospital....and finally a care home.

Yesterday we were at the care home for Mother's Day. A display of pink flowers in a basket, some drinks and snacks.

Okaasan was happily sitting with her gang of old ladies at the table near the TV and chatty and funny. She talks about herself in the 3rd person now: "Oh, grandma is happy/healthy/sad/able to walk/wants to go to the toilet etc"
very odd. Not sure why. And the singsong, happy voice...

Windy, cold day - so we did a quick trip to the care home main doors for fresh air, and then spent the rest of the hour chatting inside. We took in a photo album of Okaasan as a young mum long ago in the 1950s....holding (now dead) older brother, and now middle-aged, farty Dear Son.
"Who is this baby?" she kept asking on every page...and didn't really seem to remember anyone, or anywhere.

But happy. 

Our life is so much better, too. We have more freedom about eating and planning. My winter is FAR more relaxed. We have got used to being in the house...just the two of us.

And she has got used to life in a care home:
"Which floor do I live on? Is my home the door with the pink curtain?" she constantly asks. She became used to the routines, the baths, meal times and exercise  programs. She can stand better now. But gets tired quickly with any standing still or walking. 

What a difference a year makes!!


4 comments:

  1. Talking about herself in the third person... I increasingly feel that disconnection from my past self/life. So glad she's happy, though. I wonder if it's hard for DS when she has no recollection of his youth? Penny

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    1. I think the talking about herself is a kind of mirroring what the care home staff do - their high toned, happy-chat...I think Okaasan mimics that...
      DS? No....he isn't so bothered...HE remembers so much of his own childhood, I don't think it bothers him...I have to keep reminding him to try and chat about stuff in HER life, not his!!!

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  2. My father died of dementia last month. It was mercifully quick, 9 months from an official diagnosis to death, but I am sure that the symptoms had been accrueing for the last couple of years which he had begun to withdraw slowly. We just assumed it was some amount of old age depression (the neurologist were equally dismissive). I am trying to help my 83 year old mother recover physically from the hard work of taking care of him single handed and I now see how hard it was for her physically and especially emotionally. I have not mourned his death yet because I have still to process what happened and another part of me is glad he lived to 87 while not suffering for years. I am glad your MIL is being well cared for in assisted living.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your father. Soooo many partners/other family members exhaust themselves looking after someone with dementia - I think it is one of the hardest diseases because outside there is so little evidence of it - but the behavior and the needs change. So close family go on and on caring and don't get the help they need - maybe don't realize they need help. And yes - many people go undiagnosed, specially if it is combined with other health or lifestyle things such as alcoholism or depression. You and your mum should have quiet, peaceful time now....I hope you can.

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