Monday was the lousiest day ever....Saturday night I got a phone call from Adams and they wanted me to know that my mother had hit another resident and made him cry. OMG! I was mortified. when they told me who the resident was I understood a little more....he is constantly trying to open the back door and she is constantly telling him, "NO!" Obviously he had gotten on her last nerve. I asked them if I needed to come and they said no...so I didn't. I couldn't go Sunday either....and had told mom on Friday I would not see her til Monday. She was cool with that. Monday afternoon....about 1:15....my world began to unravel. My mom hit two more residents and the nursing home tried to contact me....we now have a problem and she was going to have to go to a psychiatric place to be evaluated. Sigh....here we go again! What blew me away....was that I did not find out until almost 3:00. The nursing home had been trying to get me....but when they called the school they were told by a student I was not there. Adam's finally got Frank, he called the school, I called Adams. They had already called the ambulance to transport her before any other incident occurred....I would not get there to see her before she left. I normally go to Bible Study on Monday night and spend the night with Mary....not last night. Last night I went home. I wanted to be alone. Frank was waiting on me when I got there.....Mary was worried about me as I headed there. The Social Worker from Coosa Valley Geriatric Psych ward called me about 5. She told me what was going on, what they were planning to do, that I could come and see her, that she needed clothes, could I bring the clothes and my guardianship papers on Tuesday So here it is Tuesday and I am at work....dreading this afternoon worse than my 5th block class. My dad died almost a year ago....is that what set her off? The doctor has reduced her medicine a lot....could that be what caused this? Questions are popping up in my head....why? who? what? where? when? So for my own piece of mind....and hopefully for yours I went to the library and found some answers. One of my biggest questions is what exactly is dementia? I have to keep reminding myself that dementia is an illness. It is the loss of powers of the mind, the ability to remember things, to think things out and to understand things. I cannot imagine my life without this ability. When someone has dementia their brain cells die off faster then they should. The person has gradual failure of the brain. At first the person may seem a bit forgetful but soon it may become obvious that they do not understand where they are, what day it is or who people are. The past may become more real to them than the present. This is where my mom is....she knows me...sometime...but not always....the rest of the world....she does not have a clue....even people she has known forever......like my godmother and her brothers. The personality of the sufferer changes. They may behave oddly and become difficult. It is not unusual for them to get very anxious or aggressive. Ahhhhh....this explains Saturday night and Monday. I don't know who this woman is in my mom's body...but I wish she would go away. They may lose the ability to do everyday tasks. At first this may be things that require some thought, like writing a letter, but later they may not be able to tie their shoe-laces. In the end they cannot care for themselves. They depend completely on others. There are two kinds of Dementia. The most common of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. It is named after the German doctor who discovered changes in the brain which stop the brain from working. The result is a slow but steady decline in mental powers. Medical researchers are studying the changes in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, using brain scans and other methods. But they still don't know what causes it. The second main type of dementia, which is what my mom has, is called multi-infarct dementia. Damage to parts of the brain is caused by the blockage of blood vessels. The person has or has had small strokes. They get worse, even if only slightly, after each stroke. There may be no change or a slight improvement until the next stroke. There are other kinds of dementia but they are fairly uncommon. Dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease, is not infectious or contagious. Dementia is not usually inherited. My mom is the first person in my family to show signs of this nasty disease. Some families do have a tendency to have the disease. if a close relative has dementia you are only slightly more likely to get it than anyone else. Dementia is not caused by stress or a crisis. Sometimes at a time of crisis a person has to think clearly. This is when it is noticed that something is wrong- the person gets confused. Dementia is not caused by too much or too little mental activity. Dementia is not part of growing old. Most old people have very clear minds. But the older you get the more likely you are to get dementia Some younger people in their 40's and 50's get dementia. Dementia can't be cured at present. But treatment may be possible to relieve some of the symptoms.
So....here I am today, Tuesday....and facing another chapter in the Dementia story of my life. I am Karen and my mom has dementia....and living with it is tough!
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.