In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog: scratchingforchange.blogspot.com

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

jescordwaineratgmail.com

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Dementia, and a Personal Observation

My mother had dementia. Although the term is misused, and sometimes used as a derogatory description, it's a natural part of aging. Some have symptoms that require close observation, and help, while others are only marginally affected. Still, everyone is affected as they age. 

I had no idea my mother was starting to struggle with dementia, until I spent a long time with her. I moved in, after separating with my soon to be ex-wife. My mother wasn't eating enough, and after watching her, I realized much of her apparent cognizance was due to her rigid schedule. Operating on auto-pilot is the best description. Her day was set, her travels were set, and variances from either were stressful. 

Over time, I realized our conversations were rich in past events. She remembered things of her youth with clarity, but after answering the same questions over a few short minutes, I realized I had to throw away my impatience. She was unaware of her loss of short term memory, and if I had said anything, it would have only caused anxiety. She didn't need anymore stress. Life was getting short, and she needed to have the most dignity allowed. 

My mother became dehydrated. A trip to the doctor for her dizziness led to immediate hospitalization. My brother notified me at work, so I went to the hospital to check on her. She was sleeping comfortably, so I left her, and returned to see her the next morning. She was up, cheerful, and her doctor was in the room with her. they joked with each other, he left, she looked at me, and asked where I was. Either she had her names confused, or she was unaware of who I was. I immediately found her doctor, explained what happened, and he set up an appointment with a neurologist. A minor stoke was suspected. Months later, while talking to her cardiologist, he told me he didn't think she had a minor stroke, and the dehydration only increased he dementia.

Long story short, the neurologist was a waste of time. He couldn't perform the necessary tests, since my mother had a pacemaker. His fumbling around, and wanting to stretch out the visits only made me think he had a good insurance patient, and some cash flow. That, and my mother couldn't stand him. Her hearing loss, his soft voice, and basically ignoring her while talking to me, was infuriating. To make things worse, on our next to the last visit, we waited for two hours, only to have the nurse inform us the doctor was handling an emergency, and we would have to reschedule. The last visit revealed he really didn't have clue, but he wanted us to return in six months to assess whether she had any improvement. A first year resident could have seen her improvements, so we decided enough was enough. 

Over about a year, my mother stopped going to her Wednesday bridge group. I didn't ask why, but knew it became too much of a metal challenge. I would do most of her grocery shopping, and cook for her. After a minor car wreck, I realized it might be time to stop her from driving. Before that was necessary, she broke her hip. I was appalled, since I was standing next to her, when she went to pull her chair up at the table. In the emergency room, after I explaining to a nurse how my mother fell, she said "She didn't fall and break her hip; her hip broke, and she fell." It was reassuring, but I still felt guilt. After all the times I worried about such a thing happening, I was right there when it happened. 

A doctor explained to my mother, and I, there were only two options. One was doing nothing, but my mother would spend the rest of her life basically bedridden. The other was a hip replacement, which had a good prognosis, since it would allow her mobility after therapy. The decision was the replacement. 

An anesthesiologist approached me before the surgery to explain anesthesia can cause a worsening of dementia, and the increased dementia wouldn't become better. At that time, with few options, I crossed my fingers and prayed for the best. 

The surgery went well, but the dementia was worse, and my mother needed more care than I could offer. I had a job, and all the relatives that helped were in the same situation. After therapy at the hospital, she was released, and I moved her to a retirement home. 

My mother had volunteered at the retirement home for years. Everyone knew her, the director was more than reassuring, and my concerns left after a few days of her being there. She had her meals, the staff were friends, and she seemed happy. That was a relief. Her dementia was increasing, and knowing she wouldn't be neglected, and between my cousin, and I, she had a family member closely monitoring her care. Her therapy was taken care of daily, and I had the hope she would one day be able to regain her mobility, and could go home.

After about two weeks, a consultant with the group performing therapy approached me to talk. She suggested hospice, since she too had seen how my mother had no idea why those people were coming in every day to cause her pain. An explanation of how she had broken her hip led to her surprise and and a question: "I broke my hip?" This was on a Friday, and the consultant told me she would start the arrangements for hospice care at her room. 

On Saturday evening, my mother didn't seem to be hungry. She had only had a bottle of Ensure in the morning, and wouldn't eat her lunch. She wouldn't open her eyes during our limited conversation, and an effort to give her a spoon of her meal ended when she fell asleep. I used a napkin to remove the food from her mouth, and stayed with her most of the night. My cousin stayed with her the next day so I could work that night. I had a crew to run on a night project, and my days, and nights, were soon to be a little crazy. 

Monday morning arrived, and I arrived to check on my mother. She still wouldn't eat, and only briefly awoke to speak with me. I stayed as long as I could, but had to get some sleep for work that night. It wasn't enough, and the long night at work left me exhausted. I had talked to my cousin, and the report my mother was still mostly sleeping, and not eating, led to more concern. 

I arrived home after seven Tuesday morning, took a shower, set my clock for 11:00 am, and tried to catch a few hours of sleep before I went to see my mother. At 10:00 am, I was awakened by a phone call. It was a caretaker at the home. My mother had passed. It was over. and I was relieved she had some dignity during her last few days.

I've written a long post, and somewhat wandered away from the original inspiration for writing. I was thinking about the President, his obvious dementia, and delving into my experience to solidify my opinion. While I'm not a professional in the medical field, my experience with my mother left me with a perspective on those with dementia. The subtle signs can easily be missed, but the fumbling of words, forgetting of names, confusion, and dependence on others is far more than subtle. How the medical profession doesn't become vocal about the condition of the man that is not mentally capable to run a country is beyond me. That, and even an in-patient procedure requiring anesthesia may leave him in a condition where the Vice President will be in charge. 

So, here we are. How history reports this era is yet to be seen, but even before the election, Biden was showing signs of dementia. That, and he was hidden from those that needed to know his positions. Regardless of how this is all perceived, I can't begin to believe there was an honest election, or that Biden had anything more than a small minority of people to support him.

I can only do what I can, hope for the best, and pray those so willing to sacrifice a country for tyrannical power are severely punished for their actions. Hopefully, enough feel the same, and the efforts to destroy the United States will end.  



10 comments:

  1. Never a fan of the current resident of the White House, I still felt that running him for office could be thought of as elder abuse.

    I am sorry you had to go through that bad period with your mother and sorrier that she had to endure it as well. It very much reminded me of a time when I had to explain to my elderly father just who I was. Thank you for sharing her story.

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    1. I'm sure there were, and are, moments Biden is stressed to the breaking point, and they have to use medications to keep him calm.

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    2. I agree, Vicki. Not even Joe deserves this.

      I hate Joe Biden with the heat of 1000 suns... but... when I see the 'pundits' lampooning a doddering, shambling vegetable and laughing at him... that ain't right either. There are a lot of things wrong with the world today... and some of it is on our side of the political divide too...

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  2. I agree with all of you, and vacillate between anger at the abuse of an elderly man who clearly has dementia and anger at him being an incompetent, evil ass (which he was before the dementia). I really hate that he's being used to dismantle our country.

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  3. It's definitely elder abuse, but Biden is far from a nice guy. I doubt he'd have any concern, if he was clear headed, and someone else.

    What's most unbelievable is the subterfuge, unwillingness of enough to demand investigations, and how the entire mess could have been resolved in weeks during the election cycle. My experience tells me people are not that stupid; they're just too complacent.

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  4. I lost Pa Wilder to dementia. I remember the last time he recognized me . . . thankfully, I had said everything to him I needed to say before it set in.

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    1. My mother knew me, and my cousin to the end. She didn't recognize any other members of the family.

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  5. The problem with retiring Peking Joe is one of the frying pan and the fire. Do we want Kamala as prez?

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  6. Harris would be a good puppet. The final result would be executive orders that would infuriate, possible violence, and criminal acts. Those betting on the U.S. economy losing would make trillions on their investments in currencies.

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