Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Real Post

I'm trying to find the humor in it, but there are times when uncovering a reason to smile is harder than others.

She wanted to ask me something.
"Is anybody living in my old house where I used to live?"
"Yes," I answered.
"Who?" she inquired.
"Nathan."
"Nathan..." she repeated, "And who is Nathan again?"

My heart sinks a little each time this happens, each time she doesn't remember someone close to her.

"He's your grandson," I reminded her, but she still didn't remember. Instead she asked who he belonged to and said it's because she doesn't see him very often... except that she does.

The doctor doesn't think she has Alzheimer's. He says that mini strokes are more likely the culprit, but I'm not even sure what that means. Is there no medication to combat these mini strokes? If not, it may as well be Alzheimer's because it appears we're headed in the same direction. I'm not sure where it's taking us, I only know we're going there.

*sigh*

Tomorrow she will have forgotten all about not knowing her own grandson. He'll probably walk in the door, say "Hi Grandma!" and give her a hug, and she'll remember him just fine... or at least pretend she does.

Somehow, I'm not finding it funny. Maybe I'm just looking at it from the wrong perspective.

24 comments:

  1. Oh Martha ~ sometimes there are no words for some of these situations. Sometimes an illness that hits the body and not the mind is easier. My mom was sharp to the end, but we hated seeing the cancer eat her body. There are no good answers, only the fact that we have a Heavenly Father that holds us in His arms.
    With you mom, there no "closing date" ~ it's just day after day. With my mom..a year and nine months. But we didn't know that while we were caring for her. You will always be in my heart and prayers.

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    1. If only I could laugh at it. It would feel better if I could.

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  2. You don't have to laugh. I can't imagine how hard it is!

    I saw a news story last week about the benefits of Vitamin E on Alzheimers...it even beat out the prescription drugs normally prescribed. I wonder why her doctor is so sure it's mini strokes. Hmmm....

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    1. It has to do with symptoms and where int he brain they originate. I can't remember everything, but she has a very irregular tremor in her left arm and a very regular tremor in her right foot. Between those and the other symptoms (balance, memory, gait) he's determined it to be most likely due to small strokes. This was the geriatric specialist, not her normal MD.

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  3. It's not funny, it's awful and sad. We are losing her more and more. Dave's parents have 2 friends (one that lives here in Florida that used to live in NY, and one that leaves NY for the winter) that are losing their minds too. Very hard for them to watch this happen to their friends that used to be in the same Bible study. They are only in their early 70's. My only comfort with Mom is that God has something so much better for her on the other side. "This is not our home, we're only passing through", was what Dad always used to remind me.

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    1. I am always stunned, no matter how many times it's happened before, and find myself wondering how often she doesn't know and doesn't let on.

      Yes, Dad's words are always a comfort.

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    2. I told her the last time I saw her that she was quiet and she said, " Oh, I'll be alright". That tells me that she knows she's not right.

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    3. She is usually quiet. I think she's just waiting.

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  4. Do photos help her remember? If she sees a photo of Nathan will it help her remember?

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    1. I don't know, Mitzi, but Nate has been around more often than many of of her grandkids, at least once a week. Maybe we need to make her an album.

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  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog Martha. I'm sorry for your Mom's health issues. I'm a nurse at a nursing home and I see this too often. Yes, mini strokes can cause this and there isn't much in the way of treatment. Does she take baby aspirin? That helps keep the blood thin and lessons the chances of stroke. She's blessed to have a loving daughter like you!

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    1. Mari, she does not take baby aspirin. She was on Warfarin for years but was taken off it this fall because of nose bleeds due to digital trauma. Not recalling longstanding relationships is not new, it happens every so often. It's just that I am stunned anew each time it strikes. The mom I knew has already slipped away and it often feels as though I have a stranger living in my house.

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  6. My mom is the same way. It doesn't matter if it is Alzheimer's or not (which they can only tell at autopsy - sorry to be so morbid), dementia is dementia and there's no cure. It's so difficult. I've walked through the valley of the shadow of death and now I am in the valley of the shadow of dementia, which seems so much more heartbreaking. I don't have any advice per se, though how I cope is art journaling. I did read the article about vitamin E, it's a high dose, like 1000 mg a day or something. I've also heard that going gluten free might help, but it didn't really help my mom. Hugs.

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    1. I think, Cat, that there are many of us in this spot. Perhaps there always have been. It always helps to know I'm not alone in this journey. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs to you too.
      :0)

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  7. My mum went through this too.....very sad for the family. But always try to remember she is doing her best. She can't help it if she can't remember. Hugs.....

    Marilyn from Canada

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  8. Martha, Paul's dad also had dementia, caused by numerous mini strokes. We visited him last year right before he passed. He had no idea who we were when we walked in to his room, even though he was told we were coming. He enjoyed our visits anyway, and told Sam in great detail about his deployment to Japan after WWII. We would arrive the next day to visit, and he wouldn't remember that we had been there the day before. My mother-in-law did get extremely exhausted, telling him day after day where he was, and why he didn't have his pocket knife and his car keys. I'm not sure what my point is, but I guess it's that you aren't alone, and that I think you are amazing and kind and wonderful to take care of your mother. Don't lose heart, don't grow weary of doing good, for in due time you will reap....

    Della

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    1. Della, I think it's almost always encouraging to know there are others struggling (or having had struggles) with the same thing. Even the fact that your MIL was exhausted tells me I am not alone, and scripture is always uplifting. "Don't grow weary," he says, because he knows we will need to gather up strength to keep going.
      Thanks for being there.

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  9. Martha, It is so hard to deal with on a daily basis. I saw both my Gram and Mother go through this. The best thing is to not try to argue over facts because likely in 10 minutes that will be gone too (short term memory). Rather than trying to bring her to where you are, pretend it is a make believe and go where she is. You can sometimes ask questions which help you with this. It also helps to better clarify where in time travel she is. I have been several people all in one evening (sister, neighbor, parent, etc). My friend says that her mother talks about the "other Mary" who was here earlier (not her real name), but she's the only care giver.

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    1. I've been told that people with dementia live "in the moment". What that particular moment is can be hard to tell. I'd almost rather she didn't know me rather than find myself confused as to where she is at any given time. I suppose my own responses to her questions might be the key to finding a bit of humor. I could probably laugh at her talking about the "other Martha", though I'm a little bit afraid of what she might have to say about me. ;)

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    1. I love you too, Beth.
      It will be okay.

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