Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Engagement ~sigh~

March 29, 2010:
As told to me by my sister yesterday(3/28) Mom thinks she is engaged to an old high school boyfriend named Kenny Glass. My father is just going along with the story. Apparently now mom thinks dad is Kenny Glass. Guess that is better than what she has previously thought...that dad was HER dad. Maybe now she will let dad sleep with her.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

3/25/10: The Phone Call

Dad called me last night just as David and I were going to bed, it was about 10:30 PM. After this call I could not get to sleep. I can't recall word for word but here is how it went:

Dad: "Hi, I'm sorry to be calling this late but your mother needs to talk to you."

Me: "Okay."
((Dad hands the phone to Mom))
Mom: "Hi (pause), who was that man you were just talking to?"

Me: "(gulp)Dad."

Mom: "(long pause)What does he look like?"

Me: "He's bald, wears glasses, has a short beard and a little round belly."

Mom: "Why don't I recognize him?"

Me: "I don't know Mom."

Mom: "Who is the man who was with me all day today?"

Me: "From what I know Mom it was Dad."

Mom: "What is his name?"

Me: "Well, his nickname that you and all your friends call him is Hal. His legal name is Harold Forrester Junior."

Mom: "Why don't we call him that?"

Me: "Why don't we call him Harold? Because he never liked that name so everyone has always called him Hal."

Mom: "Where has he been all these years?"

Me: "He's been with you Mom."
((At this point Mom is beginning to sound tearful.))
Mom: "Why don't I recognize him?"

Me: "I don't know. What does he look like to you?"

Mom: "I don't know."

Me: "Do you feel uncomfortable having him in the house with you?"

Mom: "Yes, very."

Me: "Do you want me to come there tonight?"

Mom: "No, it's too late for that."

Me: "Why don't you two sleep in seperate rooms."

Mom: "Oh, I will take care of that."
((All the while that this conversation is going on Dad is sitting next to Mom))
Mom: "Do you want to talk to him again?"

Me: "Sure."

Dad: "Hi"

Me: "Has this been going on all day?"

Dad: "Yes, she doesn't believe that I am your father."

Me: "Have you two talked to Camille yet?"

Dad: "Yes, just had the same phone call with Camille."

Me: "Do you want me to come."

Dad: "No, nothing you can do."

Me: "I'll check in with you in the morning."

In later cell phone texts I asked Dad if she has trouble recognizing other people. Here is Dad's text reply: "Sometimes. She thinks she's engaged to Til Parsons or Kenny Glass. She does not believe she is married to me. This is the worst she has been."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

He's Your Husband Hal, Not Your Father

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mom is still in and out of reality. However, now days she seems to spend most of her time out of todays reality...living in her past. She is floating in a crazy time warp combining todays reality with yesterdays. She is convinced that she and dad live in her parents house. She doesn't understand how they got there, in that house.

The house my parents live in is/was moms dream house. Before my parents bought that house mom used to drive by it wishing she could go inside one day to look around. When it came up for sale in the late 1970's, (mom was a realtor) she immediately went in to look at it and put an offer on it. She was elated that they were able to purchase her dream home. I was 11 years old when we moved in and my parents still live there to this day. (This house never was her parents house)

I've been told by moms caregiver that she will ask about my sister (Camille) and me making sure that we are at school. "Camille is at Central High and Anne is at Atherton, right?" as if asking for confirmation that she is correct. Yes, she is correct that Camille is at Central and I at Atherton, but that was 30 years ago. Moms caregiver agrees with her and changes the subject.

More often than not Mom thinks Dad is her father. She will look right at him and ask "do you know where Hal is?" or "do you know when Hal will be home?". She has nights where she won't let Dad sleep in the same bed because "it's not right to sleep with my father".

I can see the sadness in my fathers eyes when mom doesn't know who he is. He knows that he has lost his wife, almost forever. This disease is so cruel.

Mom still knows Camille and me, our husbands, her grandchildren. Why is it that she can look at dad and not see Hal, her husband?

I love you mom. I know you are in there, somewhere. But it is getting harder and harder to find you.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Do I Answer That Question?

Sunday January 31, 2010

This afternoon I received a phone call from Mom. Phone calls from Mom these days are very rare. There once was a time (before dementia) that a day wouldn't go by that one of us didn't call the other. Now, however, a week or more may go by and I don't hear anything. Yes, of course I could pick up the phone but throughout my day of household chores, running errands, and taxiing my children to and from school and their extracurricular activites the day slips away and before I know it the day is over. Not an excuse by any means but an explanation. I should do better about checking in and in the past I was much better about it. Now, I just don't have it in me. Terrible, I know.

Todays phone call was a pleasant one. Pleasant up until Mom asked me a heart wrenching question. Her question was... "Do you know where Mother and Dadoo are?". Mother and Dadoo are my grandparents, my mothers parents who died more than 30 years ago.

"OH MY GOSH!" I thought. How do I answer that question? In my head I'm trying desperately to find an answer. My reply was "what?" trying to give myself a few extra seconds to think of something to say. Mom asked again..."Do you know where Mother and Dadoo are?" then she added "they have just disappeared since yesterday". Nothing is coming to me, I cannot think of anything. Do I tell her that her parents are no longer living? If I tell her they are dead how will she react? Will she cry, will she say "oh that's right", will she tell me I'm lying? I could feel myself starting to sweat and after a pause that seemed like an eternity I simply said "no" and changed the subject.

For nearly 3 years I have attended a monthly support group for caregivers of alzheimers and dementia patients. I have learned so much in those 3 years, how to care for, how to talk to, and how to react with those who suffer from memory loss and I am so grateful to have all of that knowledge. But being confronted with it is another story. When Mom asked me that question about her parents I froze and forgot practically everything I learned. I was so scared of breaking her heart by telling her the truth so I just didn't tell her anything but "no".

If anyone out there actually reads this blog, please tell me how do you think you would have answered that question?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Father or husband?

Several things have happened since my last post, I will keep this brief. December 13th our family said a final good-bye to my Aunt Nancy, my fathers sister. Mom and Dad flew down to Mobile Alabama (where Aunt Nancy lived) to see her before she died to say their good-byes. My sister, Camille, and I drove down to Mobile and met up with Mom and Dad a couple of days later. It was a bittersweet moment for all of us but we're so grateful that we got to see and talk to her before she passed away. Aunt Nancy knew she was dying. It was great to see our 4 cousins, her sons. It had been about 8 years since the last time we got to see each other. Other circumstances though would have been better.

After being back at home we began gathering for family Christmas functions. My cousin, Anne Stewart, hosted this years family dinner. Mom began telling the story of how we all drove down to Mobile to celebrate Christmas with Nancy and her boys (remember Mom and Dad flew down). Mom kept talking about how long the drive was. Then she said she was not aware that Nancy was going to die and she did not realize that she was saying a final good-bye when she visited Nancy in the hospital. Of course everyone knew what really happened...we try not to correct Mom on some things...it will only embarrass her.

Moms dementia seems to have taken another slip. Over the past week Dad has mentioned to me that her confusion is getting worse. More often she is convinced that Dad is HER father, not her husband. She also believes that their house is the house she grew up in. He told me he overheard Mom telling my Aunt Margaret (moms sister) on the phone that "mother isn't here right now, not sure when she will be back but Dadoo is here" and handed Dad the phone. My grandmother (moms mom) passed away over 30 years ago and my grandfather died before my grandmother. Dadoo is the nickname that Mom had given HER father when she was a little girl.

At this moment I'm awaiting a phone call from my father with more stories of moms confusion. Needless to say he is very worried and upset.