Saturday, April 10, 2010

Strong Medicine

Yesterday, I experienced full throttle, what Mummy's condition really looks like.

Mummy had a doctor's appointment on Thursday at which they fitted her with a device to monitor her blood pressure for twenty four hours. For a 'normal' patient, this would be no big deal. The patient would go home with the device and return the next day. My mother is no longer a 'normal' patient.

We went home with the device and at least once during the course of the evening, I was required to explain what the contraption was. She went to bed and it seems that at some point in the night, the device either came off or was removed. By the next morning, when the device had to be reattached, mother had no idea what it was nor why she was saddled with it.

What is worse, I believe the presence of the device exacerbated her condition. Obviously, I have no proof of this. My only evidence is that for the first time, I really saw what dementia looks like in my mother. No fewer than 6 or 7 times did she ask me what the thing was and where it had come from. The previous day was totally gone. Absolutely no recollection of having been to the doctor and any adjurations to the contrary, I now know that it is likely that more often than not, she has no recollection of anything further back than perhaps 5 minutes previous.

I have continued to live in a measure of denial pretending, or hoping, that Mummy is still fairly aware of her surroundings but I realize now that that is simply not the case. She is entirely dependent upon us to translate her surroundings for her; to give her hints as to where she is and when; to tell her who people are, and frankly, there may increasingly be a need for us to tell her who we are.

And so it is. This is the surreal world that is Dementia.

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