Saturday, January 31, 2015

The hard choices...

Mom is sick again.  We have been careful to keep the yuckies that are everywhere this time of year from her. Apparently, the yuckies are more clever.  This time she brought them home to us.  Not wanting to put her through another month long hospital ordeal like the last time she got sick, I was at urgent care the second day of her cold.  But, it was already too late.  It had already turned into pneumonia.

The doctor we saw was wonderful.  He listened to me when I told him of the experience in November when they basically strapped her down for a month in order to treat her for pneumonia.  He then allowed me to make the choice of whether to treat her at home or to send her to the hospital.  He politely, and tactfully, spoke about reaching a point that going through heroic measures in cases like Mom's is not always merciful or in her best interest.  I am so grateful for his compassion and understanding.  I asked whether I could be held legally accountable for not admitting her to the hospital if she ended up worsening.  His response was that he, as her attending physician, at this time, did not see the benefit of hospitalization for someone with Alzheimer's that is as advanced as Mom's.  He added that restraining someone who has a terminal disease and has no ability to understand why she is being restrained,  just to treat her for a secondary condition, was cruel.  He made notes in her chart in support of my decision to treat her at home.  As long as she is comfortable and doesn't worsen, she will be at home.

Mom has advanced Alzheimer's.  She is terminal.  I don't want her to die.  I truly don't.  But, I don't want her to live the way she is living. Scratch that. She isn't living. She is existing.  What little dignity that Alzheimer's has left her will soon be a memory.  There is no hope of a cure.  There won't be in her lifetime.  But, I do want my mother to find peace.  And if that means that I won't do everything in my power to "save" her, then so be it. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A fun evening...

It's been a fun evening.  No, really.

-I heard a quiet whooshing sound a little bit ago. It lasted about 6 seconds.  Silence. Whooshing.  Silence. Whooshing.  I got up to see where it was coming from and found Mom in the hall.  She had her mouth next to the switch and was blowing on it.  I guess she was trying to "turn it on". 

-While I was sitting in my usual spot on the love seat, blocking Mom's escape route, she pointed at my arm and said, "Excuse me.  Would you mind if I broke your right wing?  I'd really like to crush it."

-Awhile later she was sitting "quietly" across from me, looked up and said, "I can't wait until I get my fingers all over you."   After the incident in the hall, I let that one pass.

-And, finally, while Katie and I were playing fetch with the dog, she yelled, "Stop it!  We don't use animals for sex!" 

I'm glad she remembers important things. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

10 signs...

10 signs that I am a caregiver for an Alzheimer's victim:

 1.  I keep earplugs on my person at all times. I can still hear, but the yelling and complaining just isn't as mind-numbing.

 2.  I think that 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep is a good night.

 3. I keep the equivalent of a baby diaper bag with me when I go out.  Snacks, diapers, wipes, bottles (I enjoy the little cocktail sizes that the airlines serve), etc. 

 4.  People remember us wherever we go.

 5.  We have places that we can't visit anymore because the people remember us a little too well.

 6.  We stay at the front of stores because the farther we go the farther it is to come back out when she's having a meltdown.

 7. I can tell by how she's breathing whether she's heading for a tantrum.

 8.  I react politely when told that "You're lucky to still have her."

 9.  I respectfully accept the same well-meaning advice that I've heard dozens of other times and act like it's the first time I've heard it.

10.  I mentally strangle strangers every time someone says, "Oh, isn't she cute!"


Saturday, January 3, 2015

It is time...

It's been quite awhile since I posted.  I just don't seem to have much to say.  Things are more of the same a few new challenges.  In talking to a couple of people, I realized that many thought that Mom was in a facility already.  She's not.  She's still at home as I try to place her.  This time, her Alzheimer's doctor is helping us. 

She just started back to day care this last week.  In the two months that she was out, no one at the facility told me that she had to have a medical release to return.  It makes sense, but it wasn't at the top of my worries at the time, and it would have been nice to have been told.  We finally got the release and Mom is going 4 days a week again.  I've spoken to a couple of the workers and Mom seems to have calmed down just a bit.  One of the aides, who Mom was especially close to, said the Mom seems to be spiraling downward.  She doesn't recognize people by sight anymore, including the aide. 

I see it in daily activities.  She rarely understands basic dialogue anymore. She saw her neurologist and he immediately commented that her language has deteriorated.  For the most part, she isn't capable of responding to simple directions.  Something as easy as asking her to wash her hands is met with confusion and frustration.  She has begun eating with her hands, even something as messy as spaghetti.  Her bathroom habits are a constant challenge and that is a major concern.  She can't do it all by herself but refuses help.  

Overall, there is nothing new that is earth shattering.  She's still hungry all of the time and is eating most everything that we put in front of her.  But, we are at the point that I can't care for her as she needs anymore.  For her sake, and ours, it's time.