Wednesday, February 1, 1995
My mother had very little appetite yesterday morning and the night before, but she regained it by lunch time yesterday. She started telling me no one had been giving her anything to eat. And she was worried, saying she didn't have the money to pay for anything to eat. She held up a couple of paper towels and ask if that would pay for something for her to eat.
She had seemed pretty clear yesterday afternoon at 2:30 when we took a walk around the house, but by 3:30 when my sister arrived for a visit, my mother was just sitting and staring from her chair.
We were up this morning at 3:00 a.m. I have kept a record of the nights we've been up much of the night. They increased every month until January, which was the same as December.
I have just put away all the knives. I didn't think this would be necessary before, but this morning just before 5:00 a.m. I was so scared that she would find them. She was looking for one, she said "to peel the potatoes". She started rummaging through the drawers for one, and I gave her a spoon. Then she went all over the house in search of "the potatoes." She got angry with me because I couldn't help her find them, but she finally admitted there were no potatoes, and she sat down and fell asleep as I fixed breakfast.
Thursday, February 2, 1995
Yesterday we had a really good afternoon. We had the warmest weather in weeks. My mother wanted to walk outside. And she did--three times! She was out of breath each time when she got back, and she sat down to take a nap as soon as she got back. But just getting out made her so excited--so different--once she even wanted to run! Come spring--maybe things will be different most of the time. Maybe then she will even want to stay awake in the daytime and be active enough that she will sleep more at night. Maybe.
Saturday, February 4, 1995
We've had a very strange night tonight. My mother was fine today. I was even thinking it was so wonderful things were getting so much better. But then as evening came, things began to get strange. She didn't want supper, but I told her she needed to eat at least a little so she could take her pills. Then she wanted to take her pills all at once, not spread out as we do them before bedtime, because she said she just had to get some sleep. After supper, I tried putting a movie in the VCR, but she didn't want to watch it. I managed to get her to take her pills, and then she was in the bed by 6:30 p.m.
Just before she went to bed we talked a little about what was wrong, because I could tell something was. She was already angry with me before supper. It began while my sister and brother-in-law were visiting here for about an hour. She told me tonight that she didn't like me "bringing these people in here and sitting and talking to them." She said she didn't know what we were saying, and that bothered her. Also she said she didn't like me "bringing all these kids in here" and all the noise I make. We usually watch TV only for about an hour before bedtime. I know that she sometimes thinks the people on TV are real, and though she usually enjoys what we watch, there are times when the "kids" and "people" bother her.
We didn't stay in bed long tonight. I think I got between thirty minutes and an hour of sleep. We were up by 8:30 p.m. My mother sat in her chair and starred at me, not falling asleep till around 10:30. I hear her breathing and mumbling in her sleep as she often does--probably having a dream. I hope it's a good one.
Monday, February 6, 1995
I was pleasantly surprised on Saturday night. We went back to bed at midnight to sleep until daylight. Again, this morning, another nice surprise. I thought my mother was getting up to stay up at 6:30 a.m., when she went to use the bathroom in the other side of the house, but she went back to bed to stay till 7:30. It was so nice to stay in bed that late.
When she did get up, my mother complained of pain--a headache, neck ache, and as I suspected, indigestion. I gave her something for the headache first. She didn't want to come to the table for breakfast but said she might eat a few bites if I would bring it to her. She ate only a little, and still complained of hurting, so I gave her something for indigestion.
She was still in her gown when the home health aide came to give her a bath. By 9:30 a.m. she seemed to be feeling well again, and we've had a nice day. I've read two magazine stories to her, and she seemed to enjoy them. Now at 2:00 p.m., she has fallen asleep again, resting peacefully in her chair.
Wednesday, February 15, 1995
We've had such good days and nights for over a week now that I haven't felt the need to write in this journal. Everything has gone so well that I really thought I was making wonderful progress at learning how to take care of my mother and get along with her. Then bang--reality again...
Less than two hours ago my mother held hands with me as we watched TV. She gave me the biggest hug before I helped her into bed. It was a little later than usual for her to go to bed, so I thought surely she would sleep well most of the night. She has surprised me now at 9:30 p.m., nearly knocking me out of the way as she headed straight for her chair, refusing to let me help her into her robe, saying she "wished they had got anybody but some of Mama's people" to stay with her. I think tonight I am a distant relative on her mother's side of the family. Her reason for getting up: "That old bed was killing me!" At least it isn't very cold tonight. We are having a severe thunderstorm--that could be the problem.
We had such good times the past few days. My mother has really seemed to enjoy it when I've read to her from Reader's Digest, from Guideposts, even some from a book about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Yesterday I gave her some Valentine's Day presents-- a little bag of candy, a sweat shirt I'd painted for her, and a card. She seemed so proud of them, showing them off to my sister when she came.
My mother was so worried about me just before bedtime. I wasn't feeling well--indigestion--and I had told my mother to help her understand it's something everyone has sometimes so maybe she wouldn't think she was dying whenever it happened to her. She told me she didn't know what she would do if something happened to me. And now she wishes I had never come.
She is sleeping in her chair now. The memory loss is a blessing as well as a curse. When she awakes, she probably won't remember her anger towards me. I hope not, anyway.
Saturday, February 18, 1995
We were up the rest of the night Wednesday night, and we've been up most of this night, too, but my mother has been calm, though she didn't want to put her robe on, and it's a bit too chilly tonight to go without one. At 3:00 a.m. she decided to go back to bed, but she got up again about a half hour later. She's been friendly with me, and we even had a snack of soda crackers together. Once later when she awoke from sleeping in her chair, she said something like "I couldn't sleep much when I went back to bed with her" Then after a bathroom visit, she started to go to the kitchen and then stopped, saying "I guess she's not got breakfast ready yet." It's a bit early, but I guess it's time for me to start breakfast.
Friday, February 24, 1995
My mother's appointment with her neurologist was yesterday. I learned about some things I should be doing with my mother, though I'm not so sure some of them will work well. The doctor encouraged me to try to get her to be more active, to stay awake more, to exercise. She also said I should try to get her to sit up straight, and that, I really doubt I can do, as my mother's poor posture in her chair is a habit she has developed over many years. I have also learned that in all my cutting down on fat and lowering my mother's cholesterol, I've lowered her protein intake too much--this we learned from the blood tests that Home Health has been doing. I've got to do better--got to get it all right.
Saturday, February 25, 1995
We were up much of the night last night and again tonight--very early--starting at 8:00 p.m. My mother is so confused tonight. She keeps talking, telling me that I need to get a job. I think tonight she thinks I'm someone who has moved in with her, taking advantage of her for room and board, living off her. She has also just accused me of staying up all hours of the night and bothering her.
When morning comes, I will have my day off for shopping and attending my monthly Alzheimer's support group meeting. I wish I could get a little sleep, but at least I will have a day away. My sister will be here with my mother. It's strange that my mother never complains to my sister about me. She always complained about her sitters who had been hired to stay with her. But when I'm gone, my sister says that my mother just worries, afraid that I've gone away and won't come back. She has also worried, though, that I have taken her money with me.
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