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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Alzheimer's sucks

Well, it's a scary time for me. My mom has been fairly stable for about a year now (since she broke her hip) and for the most part, pretty stable (although with a gradual decline) for the three years she's lived in the assisted living center. But I guess that has come to an abrupt end.

Yesterday morning, I got a call from the nurse at her assisted living center, and I was told that my mom, in the middle of the night, left her apartment and was found in another woman's apartment. When my mom was asked what she was doing, she said "I was going to help with the meat." My mom is usually very much "with it", as far as her communication, the only difference between her and a "normal" person, would be that when talking with my mom, you needed to use simple words and simple concepts. But she really had very little trouble communicating, with the exception of some trouble finding the right words sometimes. Since at the time, it was way below zero outside, the fact that this happened is even more troubling. Her building is secure, which means, that if you don't have a key, you need to go to the main entrance to be "buzzed in". So if she had, in her confused state, gone out the door, instead of into someone else's apartment, I could be typing a whole different entry right now....

Anyhow, I went to her place to sit with her, and try to figure out what happened. While we were sitting there, she told me she had to use the bathroom. I told her "go do your thing." So she got up and opened up her door that opens into the apartment building hallway, and was about to walk out, when I told her that the bathroom wasn't out there, and showed her where it was.

After this, the nurse decided to check for a bladder infection, but that was negative. So I, after contemplating the possibilities, and realizing that even if I stayed at her apartment, the likelihood of me sleeping through her leaving was great, decided to bring her to the Emergency Room. They ran a lot of tests, which all came up negative. Our only hope is that this is a reaction to the Benadryl--that is/was the "new sleeping med" that we added in about two weeks ago. The Emergency Room doctor thought it could possibly be playing a part in this, but mostly, he said a lot of things about "run-of-the-mill Alzheimer's".

Right now my mom is still in the hospital. She knows what happened, and she is very very upset. In fact, today, she really couldn't stop crying. I have never seen her like that. I'm pretty sure she understands how serious this is. But she's crying over other things, too, like the fact that she has to wear a hospital gown and not her regular clothes, and she's crying because she didn't have her partial (dentures) with her. I have never seen her cry like this. Currently, the plan is that she is going to stay in the hospital until Monday, when she will hopefully get a bed in the nursing home that is attached to the assisted living facility, "for observation".

I don't want to believe that the natural progression of Alzheimer's is what is causing this. (Although my brain knows that it is probably more likely than anything). There is so much fear with this. Fear I had no idea I could have. I'm very very afraid that after this "wandering" episode, my mom won't be allowed to live in her assisted living apartment any more. I'm going to ask about the possibility of door alarms, but right now, I don't know of anyone there who has one, so I suspect there's a liability issue. And the thought of her going into the nursing home, that's so sad. I really can't stand the thought. But I don't think there would be a lot of other options at this point. If the assisted living place can't keep her safe, there's no way I could come up with any other plan that could be affordable....before she moved into the assisted living place, we looked into home care, and it was going to cost somewhere like $4,000 a month to have someone there only for 12 hours! And while financially, she's doing "all right", when nursing home expenses are taken out of that money, it's going to go so fast....

And then there's the thought that "there's probably a better place than a nursing home for her". Like an Alzheimer's assisted living place. Because up until about three days ago, she really didn't need much help. She walks by herself, no cane, no walker. She feeds herself and does not have any incontinence issues. So basically the only reason she would need to move would be this wandering. And while I've known that someday, she was probably going to have to move over there, I didn't figure on her being so independent when the time came. I'm glad that she's been to the nursing home a couple of times, to recover from illnesses/broken hip, so that she's familiar with it, at least...I'm just so scared that since she's gone downhill so fast this week, that maybe "the end" is going to be sooner than I thought, too. There's so much guilt with this. So much I wish I could do. So much I wonder if I did wrong....I'm very much hoping that tomorrow, we'll see some improvement, at least...oh dear....

5 comments:

Mrs. Dreamer said...

Carol, I'm so sorry for you, your mom, and family. I wish there was something I could do to help.

Immi said...

I'm so sorry Carol. For you, your mom, your family. I can understand why she cries -- it's horrid when your mind goes out from under you and you know it's happened. I hope for all of you that they can find some way to help her out. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

Could this be caused by your mom not taking her medicines at the proper times and dosages?
I'm really hoping with having supervision of medication etc. for a few days things will improve for her and you.
Amanda

Live and Learn the Hard Way said...

I've given you an award. Stop by my blog to pick it up.

Anonymous said...

Carol, I have been following your blog for several months now, and I can certainly sympathize with what you are going through. My 38 yr old son also displays the same symptoms as your dh. He received his $1400 tax refund on 1/20, and he had spent it all in 2 days, on things he certainly didn't need. He works, but he has gotten so many advances on his pay that he will be working without a paycheck for months to come. He attempted suicide in 2007 (od on otc sleeping pills), and he said what he experienced while he was unconcious (he said the LORD showed him hell) scared him so badly that he will never do that again.

Concerning your mom...my former MIL, whom I am still close to, fell in her home in Jan. of 2008, and has been in a nursing home ever since. She also has age-related dementia and the beginning stages of Alzheimers, and it breaks my heart when I see her, as she thinks I am her granddaughter, my daughter, whom she helped raise for almost 10 years. But she seems to be doing well in the nursing home, and they take very good care of her. She was living alone when she fell, so being around other people has seemed to help her a great deal...I believe she was getting worse at her home because she didn't have daily interaction with other people. I pray the Lord will give you peace about whatever decisions you have to make concerning your mom.