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Downhill Slide

It’s been a week and a half and there is much I have seen and been told. 

Grandma doesn’t know days of the weeks or even times of the year.  Her short-term memory is fading even faster now. 

My parents took her to the trailer yesterday, for the day, so they could cut the grass and water the flowers, etc. 

She was upset because the neighbour was there and felt he should be at work; she wondered if he was retired now.  My mom told her it was Saturday.

Then she was upset by the kids being up there and riding around on their bikes, walking by, etc. and felt they should be in school.  My mom once again told her it was Saturday (for starters).  A short while later she once again seemed angry about the kids not being in school.  My mom then explained that it was July and the kids don’t go to school in July.  Grandma wanted to know when they would be going to school.  When told September she got angry and said they should be in school.

I know that even in 30’s and 40’s they did not go to school in summer.  They may have gone from 9-4 but it was still September to June, or so I believe.

She will ask the same questions and can be told the same things repeatedly.  I know it’s unfortunate for me to have to watch it but it’s sad for the kids to have to see it.  My daughter is old enough to understand better but my nieces and nephew are not. 

I got to spend fourteen years of my life with my great-grandma which were wonderful.  My daughter, nearly sixteen years with hers.  To the little ones, she may be a distant memory only.

Bad to Worse…

So even though Grandma wasn’t too bad the first day (and the day I was there), things progressively got worse as the weekend went on.  They did not stay the extra day.

She once again latched on to my mom and I think she’s starting to lose the memory of my daughter and I.  My mom seems to be the mainstay in her memory.  She no longer has the ability to know the days of the week or even the times of the year.  Monday my daughter texted to say that Grandma thought my dad was at work.

Her nights became worse and then when they told her after lunch yesterday they were going home, she sat on the couch with her purse and looked through it 4 times.  But never said what she was looking for.

When they arrived at the house, I was there and the first through the door was the pug, followed by Grandma who said that the little dog had just thrown up in the driveway (it was the Golden!).  Then she asked me if my little one had been at the trailer with them.

It’s as though she’s going downhill at lightening speed now.  And her memories of me and my daughter are slowly going with it.

Even my mom said yesterday that she’s going to have to go to a home sooner than later.  I agree but will continue to speak quietly to her about that.  It will be quite the transition for my mom as well!

Will continue to post.

Well mom insisted on taking her to the trailer again for the long weekend!

The first morning, she managed to miss a step and fell.  She hurt her back and she skinned her elbow.  In so many ways it’s like looking after a child.  My mom had used some gauze and fixed it up before I arrived but I talked my mom into getting some non-stick pads (always the nurse) to use because it had bled through.

Before I changed it, I kept watching the blood seep through the thin gauze and grandma saw me.  She told me what had happened and then said that she’s getting old.  I told her we all are really and that she has to be careful.  I didn’t tell her that maybe she should think about a cane or a walker to help her out with these things.

She had a pretty good night I heard.  She wasn’t too disruptive.  Maybe because they have A/C up there and they cooled it down?  We didn’t let her have the cup of tea she’d wanted with supper and she hardly drank anything yesterday (at least while I was there) though with the heat that’s not wise.  My mom gave her a glass of water and kept checking it but she would only sip it.  With a back injury, maybe she didn’t want to drink too much so she wouldn’t have to try to manipulate her way to the bathroom too often.

I hope that she has a good time up there.  We keep wondering how many times it will be her last.  It’s not a call we make.  We can only do our best to look after her while she’s here.

She’s still behaving the same with the Golden.  Poor guy.  One minute she’s feeding him treats and the next minute she’s grabbing his nose and cursing at him.

My uncle now understands where her mental state is at… it’s always shocking.

Until next time…

Scary…

My parents have two dogs, an aging Golden Retriever who sometimes isn’t as patient as he used to be and a Pug cross who is 4 years old.  For whatever reason, grandma seems to have it in for the poor Golden.  She is constantly grabbing and holding his nose and she’ll tell him he’s bad and a pain in the “butt”.  I’m afraid one of these days he’s going to snap at her.

She is constantly letting the dogs out and in again and yet yesterday when we were outside she told our poor Golden that she was not letting him in again and yet he hadn’t been in because we were all outside!

It wasn’t a great day yesterday for her.  We were all watching the baseball game, the Jays had bases loaded and there was a field shot on TV.  Grandma says that there were just way too many people on the field and that it used to be that only so many were allowed and they all had their place to be.

Doesn’t take much to load a baseball diamond really.  With bases loaded, you’re looking at 22 people on the field including 2 bat boys/girls and the on-deck batter.  But that’s just where her mind is at.

She also looked horrible.  She was complaining of the pain in her leg again which she said she was going to walk off and then stood but as soon as I sat down, so did she.

It’s no wonder my mom is going crazy… it’s scary!

 

Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day and we will be celebrating with gifts.  Since one brother already lives there, the question is whether the other will bring the girls over.

Either way, grandma will simply think that it’s just another day.  My parents took her along to the trailer yesterday to get a few outside jobs done–lawn mowed and edged, water the plants.  And do a general check.  Mom texted at one point wondering if grandma had any idea where she was.  She looked very glassy-eyed.

When I was over last night, it was very similar.  She just seemed to sit and stare at the TV while we discussed the Jay’s game that was on.  And, I’d have to search this to find out if it’s normal, but she pets things.  She stares off into space and she pets the couch, or a pillow or her pant leg.

My mom is still having a tough go.  I think she’s having a tough time just letting go.  She sent me a text the one day about grandma’s behaviour and I wrote back to say that it’s not going to get any better.  I think sometimes my mom thinks it’s a illness and she’s going to improve.  Sure she has her good times but mostly she doesn’t.  We all have to come to terms with her going downhill and we all have to prepare ourselves for the next step.

Time Away…

My daughter and I went to the trailer for the weekend.  It was a glorious weekend, the sun shone and the sunsets were amazing and then we came home on Sunday.  We stopped at home so we could unpack and start a load of laundry before heading over to my parents.

When we got there, my grandma asked if we’d had a nice time.  I didn’t know, with that question, if she knew where we had been or not.  So I told we’d had a great time.  Then she asked me 3 times if we’d had nice weather.  So, at the first chance I got, I told my mom this.  I was informed that she had no idea that we were only gone for the weekend as she had asked my mom what happens with school for my daughter while she’s away.

Time and disease are definitely catching up.  After supper she went back downstairs and then she came up, all out of breath and looked at the clock in the kitchen.  “Your clock says it’s 6:24.  So is mine.  So it’s morning.”  My daughter and I looked at each other and tried very hard not to laugh.  The disease is no laughing matter but the unexpected is.  It’s really hard to control the laughter sometimes.  You don’t want to laugh at her but you don’t want to laugh behind her back.  She can’t  help it, not at all.  But we’re hardwired to find things humourous.

According to my mom, she came up about an hour later and said the same thing.  Mom was worried that she’d come up at 10:00 thinking it was morning and that my dad had gone to work.  It never transpired.

I hope that my mom is working through the realization of this.  I don’t want to force anything and so we’ll just let it run its course, as long as nobody is hurt by it.

Sometimes it’s just an adventure to visit because you just don’t know!

Down time…

I haven’t seen grandma much this past week–my dad has been on vacation and so she spends more time in her basement apartment.  My mom has to go drag her upstairs for meals!

Yesterday she came up for supper and I have research to do–do dementia patients eat unusual combinations?  She put relish on her chicken (actual chicken breast done on the BBQ) burger.  Now I know this may not be unusual to some, or maybe it is but I don’t eat relish to start and I can’t help wondering if she gets confused as to what is before her–she sees it as a burger, something she puts relish on.  A year ago she was always putting mayo  and tomato (and lettuce if it was available) on her chicken burgers.  My sister-in-law was over and she just looked at me when grandma asked for the relish.

But she wasn’t too bad otherwise.  She seemed to know who everyone was, for a short time.  Again, during dinner, she referred to my niece as “that little girl”.

It is unfortunate that they are in and out.  And their awareness just seems to switch off.  One minute there, next minute gone.

We talked further about Long Term Care and we are able to go and tour the homes.  The rules suck though–if we put her on the list and her name comes up she has to go.  She ends up where ever that bed is.  IF we wait until we can’t do it anymore, we take her to emergency, the hospital admits her and they wait for a bed in her chosen facility.  Talk about a crazy system.  And if a bed opens up elsewhere then, she has to take it but has the opportunity to move to the chosen facility when a bed opens up.

Despite being a health care worker in this system, I’m beginning to see why my patients are telling me it’s a messed up system.  It really is.

It’s unfortunate but it is the world we live in.  All we can do is look after her and all I can do is look after my patients and do whatever I can in the system that holds us all hostage in its own way.

I digress… until next time.

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