Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Most days I collect Mum and we take the dogs for a long walk, either by the beach or near the harbour. The last few times, she's walked normally for a short while and then started this shuffle-hop-stomp walk. She stamps her feet onto the ground and lifts her legs high in the air, or else she shuffles her feet. If I say to her, "Mum, what are you doing? Walk properly!" she will make some excuse - "I was listening to the sand squeak", "I was enjoying the sound of the gravel" - and walk normally for a minute or so. Then the strange walk will start again. It seems when she is aware of her walking, she doesn't do it, but as soon as her mind wanders off the task, the shufflehop stomp starts again. I think this is a bad sign of progression of the disease. The neurologist told me last week he is quite sure there are now two dementias happening, both vascular and Alzheimers. This is very depressing.
We took a drive down to Kangaroo Valley. It's a little dairy farming village in the mountains surrounded by rainforest. You can always see wombats and wallabies beside the road. Mum loves it there. We got out of the car and walked around the village, having lunch in a cafe. She always behaves herself when out on a drive like this, which is a relief. A lot of people tell me not to take her on drives or holidays as new places upset them, but drives seem to make her happy and she seems to still recall them days later. '
Mum's always happiest when in the passenger seat of the car, so we go for a lot of drives. A couple of weekends back we went to see the cemetery in Newtown N.S.W. where her great great grandfather is buried. He died in 1854. She recalls family history when I remind her. I might remind her about Grandfather Dawson, then she'll remember the name of Grandmother. We visited the cemetery and then walked around the area where he lived to see all the interesting old buildings. Here are some of our pictures.