Friday, January 10, 2014

What are the names?

Yesterday I had to take Mum to the skin clinic. She's so quiet these days. She used to like music but if I turn the car radio on she usually can't stand it and wants it off. She hardly says anything because she can't think what to say and she doesn't get angry any more. I must get the doctor to look at the Risperidone and see if she still needs it. I don't think so - I think the aggressive stage is over. It's so sad to see her so quiet and to recall all the things she'll never do again. She'll never see the snow again because it's a six hour trip and we have to stay overnight. It's impossible for me to manage her overnight and as well, it's not good to disturb her schedule. She gets confused. So many things she'll never see again, never do again. So many people she'll never see again, because they don't want to 'see her like this' and want to 'remember her the way she was'. How cruel.

I took her to see her best friend down the coast two weeks back. The friend turns 90 soon and has few signs of deterioration; she still plays tennis. Mum had a nice chat to her but wanted to leave after half an hour. She just kept getting up out of her chair and saying, "Well, I have to go now, it's getting late." The friend was disappointed but understanding.

On the way to the doctor yesterday she said, "What are the names? I suppose I've forgotten them all by now." 

This was a rare moment of recognition of her disease. 

I knew right away that she meant names of family members, so I went through them for her. You have a son, *******, I am *******, your grandchildren are.......

She was happy to hear their names and recalled them. She remembered some things. "Patrick is very tall." "******** goes to university." 

I just feel so sad about it now. Before, she was behaving so badly I didn't even like her for a long time. You can't forget the terrible things they say - "I hate you" "Get out" "You're not my daughter any more" - but now all she says is "I love you so much and I'm so glad to see you." What a change. 

Mum on the right in about 1940

Mum in November, still beautiful

With dear Father Leo Stevens when she was 60 years old

Christmas 2013

I went and collected Mum from the nursing home at 10 a.m. We opened our presents. She knew it was Christmas but was very quiet. She just sits quietly now because she can't think of anything to get angry about. It's a peaceful stage of the disease but also very sad. The life force is slowly leaving her. As we were eating on the veranda she kept getting cold and needing another cardigan. It was actually a hot summer day. So, someone would go to the wardrobe to get another cardigan and as the merriment continued she ended up with seven or eight cardigans, one on top of the other. Still saying "I'm cold." She also kept getting out of her chair and trying to leave her food and go back inside. The last couple of years we've had to spike her drink to stop her being angry and aggressive but this year she was just passive.

At Christmas dinner we had two of her grandchildren and my student from Nepal. It was a very happy day for all.


The cute dachshund Otzi

Tapir chills out with a drink

After chasing her Christmas toy all around the house Otzi falls asleep on it.

Mum loves her Christmas photo

Barney the Greyhound waits for Christmas cats to eat