I spoke with mum the first time in a bit today, as she wasn’t feeling good earlier. Nurses never asked me to speak with her regardless and I felt uncomfortable askig for it, also, if I have to be totally honest, I didn’t want to speak with her knowing that she may be unable to hold sensible conversation. So today, when I called the care home and the nurse said my mum is not too bad, I asked to speak with her, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to communicate with her at all.
I started with saying that I wanted to talk to her and in response she was just repeating the word ‘talk’ in every sentence, but the sentences didn’t really make sense, except the first one, when she said she’s not in a mood to talk. ‘But I am your daughter – I thought. – Do you not want to talk to me?’
She always wanted me to call more often and I wasn’t doing that because, most of the time, we didn’t really have much to say to each other. She didn’t understand the world I live in and I didn’t want to talk to her about my problems as she would never give me any sensibe advice. One thing she used to say a lot was that I should move to a smaller flat. She didn’t understand that I can easily afford where I live and having an extra bedroom allows for more storage and having guests over (not that that happens a lot). Mind you, she was staying in that bedroom for 9 months and the plan was that she’d stay with me to the end of her life. Well, that was my plan; her plan was rather different.
I think she only came to stay with me because she wanted to show my brother that she can leave, hoping that would give him a wake up call and he’d stop drinking as a result. It didn’t work. My brother in fact realised with time he was better off when mum was at home as there always was food on the table and he wanted her back, and me – to take care of her, but he continues to drink.
I feel so sorry for myself thinking the time I spent with mum, when she was here, was so affected by all those problems we had at the time, and that are still present. I mean my brother drinking – it often felt like my mum brought my brother with him, as she was unable to stop thinking whether he paid electricity bill, whether he has something to eat and what if he kills himself because he was left all by himself.
On top of that she was constantly worrying about the money that was stolen from her by her favourite bank employee and the bank reaction, that, let’s be honest, was totally unacceptable – they didn’t take us seriously at all till after we informed the police. Mum was so worried about that money, even though she had no sensible plan of spending it. She was always very tight with money and once started argument with me because I bought a pack of penne even though I still had a little bit of spaghetti left in the cupboard.
I felt so powerless over her moods and so disappointed that she’s unhappy. I thought I’d make her life easier as she was able to go to town every day and do some shopping in Polish supermarket that had much better choice than the local shop in our village. I thought I’d make her life easier because she doesn’t have to have arguments with my brother any more, and yet, she let him scream at her over the phone.
If I have to be honest, I’m not terribly sure I wanted her to live with me. But I wanted to make her happy.
When she was here I really didn’t believe she may have dementia. Her memory was actually quite good and only recently I found out that there’s this type of dementia where memory doesn’t get affected to begin with. I did notice she changed and her ability to make connections between facts wasn’t great, but I thought, well, she never was terribly bright, she is getting oder and was through loads of stress, so that must be it.
There was only this one moment when I really thought something was terribly wrong. We started watching a film with quite a compex story and after around 20 minutes she summed it up in a way that a child probably would, simplifying everything that we saw. I was so shocked when I’ve heard her, especially that my mum used to like a good film. And then, after she said that, she didn’t want to watch it any more, she said it was strange.
So that was the moment when I thought something must really be wrong with her, but then, what I was supposed to do, call an ambulance? There’s no treatment for dementia and the drugs available can only reduce some symptoms.
In a way I’m really glad she only deteriorated when she was already in a care home and when I had power of attorney. If that happened here, when she would still be able to walk and I wouldn’t have access to her savings, I don’t know what I would do.
When I was speaking with her today, I remember myself thinking, I wanted to move her to a private care home because her understanding was still good, and now it’s not (or, to be precise, her speaking isn’t), so does that mean I’m wasting money? But it’s her money and she deserves quality of life that government care home was unable to provide (it was so crowded that if one in 10 residents would want to get out of bed and walk around the staff wouldn’t be able to perform their duties as it would be too chaotic).
Whether mum has dementia or not I don’t want her to spend the rest of her life in bed, unless she’s unable to get up any more, of course. But I wouldn’t want her to suffer for too long.
What I wanted to say when I started this post is that whenever I was faced with a demand I thought was too much for me, I would curl up in bed and refuse to do anything about it and mum was always making an effort to talk me out of my misery and finally she’d succeed. I want to do the same now: my mum has dementia, I’m not dealing with this, ever. I want my mum to come and talk me out of not dealing with her dementia. Does that make any sense?
Today is my day off but I feel rather groggy. I used the SAD lamp in the morning, as usual, but I think it may be general refusal to deal with life and the cold outside. It’s possible that the lamp is helping but is not remedy for everything.
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