Sunday, November 1, 2009

Taking Pictures

I hope you all had a happy Halloween....DD was angry because we told her that 16 years old is too old to go trick or treating....I thought she was going to have another tantrum, but she just had a regular "mad". That was ok.

I'm still so worried about my mom. On Friday night, when I stayed with her, she didn't even need me at all. She slept, got up to use the bathroom when the "helpers" woke her up (I suggested they try that approach, so that she wouldn't get lost looking for the bathroom....and they were happy to give it a try....so far it seems to be a good thing)
And falling back to sleep. So Saturday night, I told DH (who is really helping out) that I really need him to take care of his own mental health, and that he could probably leave early if he thought things were ok. So he did, and things were "fine".

But today, I was thinking that it'd be nice to get out of the apartment for a while. So I asked my mom if she wanted to go out to eat, and she said yes and seemed happy about it. I gave her a choice of two of her favorite fast food places in town, and she picked one. So off we went. Just like usual. Except once we got in there, we were the only customers. The workers were (not surprisingly) all teenagers, and they were laughing and joking with each other. And the restaurant had their "muzak" on, too. My mom started to get upset because there were hundreds of people there. Nothing I could tell her reassured her, and so she did eat, but she was really bothered by the "crowd". And there couldn't have been less of a crowd. I can't remember the last time we were the ONLY customers. Ok, not a big deal....

So we got back into the car and I asked my mom if she wanted to go right home or if she wanted to go for a ride. Usually, back when things were more "normal", she always wanted to go for a ride. And she wanted to go for a ride this time, too. The sun was going down. We drove through town. My mom became upset about someone "taking pictures". I didn't know what she was seeing, so I just told her that "tourists" like to take pictures to show to their families. Then she got upset because she "didn't want anyone showing pictures of her", so I assured her that they only take pictures of the houses, not the people.

I started driving a little faster, and my mom started to panic. And then I realized what the "pictures" were....it was the sunlight shining through between the buildings as we drove by, making kind of a flashing effect. I couldn't stop it at all. She was very upset and telling me that it was terrible, dangerous....and I told her we'd go home right away. And she didn't want to, because she wanted to go for a ride. But she was breathing so fast and she was flinching every time we drove past another building, I just headed back to the apartment.

It really wasn't any more sad/crazy/shocking than anything else that's happened recently, but I guess it was just that we were going to do something that we've done hundreds of times before, and suddenly it was a bad thing, and not a good thing. Made me sad.

And then, my mom called me, asking if it was me that called her (because I guess she didn't get the phone in time). I told her it was probably my brother, and I reminded her of what to say to call him (on her voice activated phone dialer). We said goodbye and about 20 seconds later the phone rang again...."CArol? Was it you that called? Oh! Did I just talk to you?" Sigh.

I started second-guessing myself, thinking that maybe my mom is having more confusion when we mess with her routine. Like after the UTI when we went to my nephew's birthday party, and then after that the confusion got worse. And the last couple of nights, things weren't "great", but they were stable, and then I go and bring her out to eat, and she gets confused again.

That's one of the things that's so painful about this disease....it's all a bunch of guesses. I'm hoping that the doctor will have some idea in his bag of "tricks" that will help. I'm clinging to every hope, despite what my educated brain is telling me.

Oh, and I'm so grateful for DH's stability right now....I'd be completely lost without his help....he's been staying with my mom every night that I have to work...


Anonymous said...

I hope you're not blaming yourself for your mother's difficult time. Your motives were the best; you wanted her to have a nice meal and a pleasant ride in the car. Her reaction had nothing to do with you, it was the dementia.
I expect that things she once enjoyed will be progressively less pleasant for her. Ultimately she may not want to leave her apartment at all. It's to be expected and yes, it's very sad.
In the meantime she might enjoy it if you brought her a meal from her favorite restaurant rather than taking her somewhere that makes her uneasy.