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Whenever I go to bed now, I don’t sleep. I think my body is in shock that I finally got in bed. My irregular heartbeat has kicked back in, from the stress of it all. (They say mine is classified as “benign” but it is still a very scary thing to feel it miss beats.) Once when I was being tested with a Holter monitor, it skipped over 4,000 beats in a 24 hour period. Now I only feel it when I take certain medications that affect it, or if I am experiencing high anxiety.  So I just lie there, and listen to Christian teaching tapes. (Kenneth Hagin, Sr. lately) I need all the faith I can get.

I awoke to the sound of my cell phone ringing loudly, and knocked over 2 or 3 things by my bed trying to find it, from a deep sleep. It was my mom. She said that Tony (my brother) was there, and that he was letting her use his cell phone. Apparently the patients do not have their own phones, and something was said about “taking her to a phone” once or twice a day. (If they are allowed, we will get her a cell phone.)

She sounded like they had almost killed her overnight. She said it was freezing there. The little warm, soft lap blanket that I had bought for her, a couple of days ago at TJ Maxx, “saved her life.”  (She indicated sometimes it was too hot, but mostly freezing cold.) She was asking me to bring some of her larger pants, and some slip on sweaters. She said that they go to the dining room for meals, and you can’t go in PJs. (Now I can understand this totally for people who are mobile, or not wearing a brace, but how the heck is she going to get pants over that huge leg brace?) She mentioned bringing a couple of skirts, but the truth is, she doesn’t have hardly any. That would be much better for her, but when you get her age, and in her condition, you don’t buy skirts, because they require hose, and she can barely get hose on without physically harming herself. So she gave me a list of things to bring, and I am once again overwhelmed, but I will try and think what could possibly work with a leg brace.

She whispered into the phone, “It’s like One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.” (Enough said–we all get the picture.) Then she said, “It’s nothing like I thought it would be.” My heart had already sunk at the mention of Cuckoo’s Nest. Visions of the inmates running the asylum, and wild-eyed Jack Nicholson filled my head, along with every horror story about nursing homes that I have ever heard.

She also mentioned that “the old people just stare at you.” (I remembered my own experience with the mainly comatose audience, when I was part of a program there at Christmas many years ago.) Even though at 78, my mom is one of “the old people”, she is not in the mental state that those around her are, and I am sure that it is very scary. She is showing some early confusion quite a bit now, and has been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s, but no one is really sure what the source of her confusion is. (All dementias and confusion are not Alzheimer’s.) She tried taking Aricept for it, but it had horrible side effects, and now she is on sample packs of Namenda (another medicine for confusion, and is tolerating it well-but the insurance company won’t okay it.)

I am too tired to cry right now, but I am sure that I will later, after I see her there. I can feel every emotion rise up in me, as we face this next part of the journey. I guess fear (for her) is my main one. Next would be fear for my own health, as I am not well, and I have bonded with her so much, that I feel like I am one with her. (I am very sensitive and compassionate, and it is easy to break my heart.) And next would be fear for my marriage, as I can tell that I am growing bitter from all that has happened since Sam died, and very, very weary. It takes a real toll on a marriage. There is no time for each other…ever. And there is the venting, and constant anxiety that overtakes me.

So I will write more about what it is like there, when I get home tonight. For now, I have many errands to run, and will probably not stop for the rest of the day. (I just hope that my heart and body are in agreement with that.)

Please pray for us every time we cross your mind, as I am depending on the prayers of others (as well as my own) to see us through this nightmare…




One Comment

  1. Sparkle
    This is so overwhelming when you see it in the here and now…my heart goes out to you. Both my husband’s parents suffer with dementia. His mother has been diagnosised with Alheizmer’s and his father with brain atrophy. They are the age of your mother…
    When you are in their home, it is a sureal experience. They seem to be in their own world and you have a choice, either enter in their world or keep your distance…and for my husband and his battle, it is distance because it overcomes him..
    You are such a good daughter and I know that you feel more pain than what your mother feels. I know that this is frightening for her and it will seem so “out there”…
    I wish I had words of wisdom for you right now, but I can only say that I am praying for your strength, your wisdom and for your faith…hold on…this doesn’t last forever.
    Your friend

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