My Journal
June 1995


Sunday, June 4, 1995

We've had a wonderful week except for one night when things got pretty bad and I called my sister to come try to calm my mother down and see if she could get back into bed. My mother got up hysterical, talking about someone, my brother, her brother, something about someone's brother going to kill someone. She was demanding that I call someone about it. That was about 10:00 p.m. My sister and I sat with her for about two hours, trying to convince her that nothing was wrong and that she should quit worrying and go back to bed.

Tonight she got up wanting food and is angry with me for not cooking something-- she feels that she hasn't had a meal all day and that I'm making her go hungry. It is midnight. I gave her ice cream, but that hasn't satisfied her. I also made the mistake of getting her to put her dentures in (pretty dumb, since they weren't necessary for eating ice cream), and now I don't think I'll be able to get them out again. She was shaking so with anger when she was putting them in, and I was so afraid she would drop and break them.

We had such a good day today. We ate at my sisters and then when my mother fell asleep in her chair there, I came home to clean house and do some garden work. I saw them from the garden, sitting under the trees on the hill watching me. My mother seemed content and happy. I could imagine my sister was telling me how hard I was working, making the flowers in the garden spot pretty for her to enjoy.

Tonight, though, I'm afraid my mother is wanting to get rid of me again.

Monday, June 5, 1995

I've just turned down an opening for my mother at the nursing home in town where my sister has had her on a waiting list even before I came home, I think. They had a bed that needed to be filled today. My sister didn't pressure me, and when I said "no", she said she thought that was what I would say.

I don't know if that was a mistake. But for right now, I think it was the right thing to do. Things have been getting some better, and we've had some really good days even some better nights, too, lately.

We were up only a few minutes longer last night. I left my mother alone and wrote in my journal, sitting in the next room. When I came back to check on her, she was cooperative. She had gotten up to walk into the kitchen, and I followed her. She was distressed by "being left here" by her mother or by Myrtle (my sister, who often in her mind is her sister, her sister-in-law, as last night, or sometimes perhaps even her mother). She let me help her get her dentures out, and then she went back to bed and slept a couple of hours.

At 2:00 a.m. she was up before I realized it, on the other side of my bed, shaking me to awaken me. According to what she was saying, it sounded like she had already been into the other side of the house. She was telling me about people being in there. I turned on the lights to show her there was no one, and she pointed to the few dishes we had used just before bedtime (a couple of glasses, the cups we'd used for our chamomile tea) and the bowl she'd had her ice cream in at midnight. She said those people had used those and left dirty dishes in the sink. She started complaining about thing being messed up and needing to be cleaned (except for those few dishes and the area where I sit on the staircase in the next room, the house was spotless because I had just cleaned it that day). Then she started talking about "that boy" who she said was in bed with me, so I took her back to the bedroom and showed her there was no one there.

I may be crazy, but I can't let her go yet. My life is too wrapped up in caring for her and doing all I can to try to make life a little more comfortable and cheerful for her. How can I let her go when she is my life?

Wednesday, June 14, 1995

I haven't written here in a week and a half because I haven't felt the need so much. My mother has her moments of extreme confusion, times of seeming stubborness when I could almost regret my decision about the nursing home, but things have been so much better. There have been no long nights of sitting up with her. The closest we've been to that lately was last night when she couldn't go to sleep when we first went to bed, so we got up for another hour of TV and chamomile tea. She is so much calmer lately. Even if she does have a bit of a catastrophic reaction in the night in response to a dream or hallucination, she's usually back in bed just a few minutes later, as she was last night, carrying her leg wrap ("the baby") with her. She had been angry because she thought I was mistreating "the babies"--she had said that as she pointed to the bed covers.

This is something that occurs pretty often. She thinks I'm mistreating either babies, children, or old people that she thinks are here in the house with us. Last night was one of the "I'm going to tell Myrtle" nights--meaning that she was going to tell my sister that she didn't want me here with her anymore. I'm getting used to that, though.

Friday, June 23, 1995

Again, things have been going along so well that I haven't felt the need to write here, until today. Now it's really bad. I'm glad tomorrow is my shopping trip/Alzheimer's support group meeting day, so I can get away from here for one day.

Yesterday morning at snack time my mother had indigestion that we couldn't seem to get rid of. Right in the middle of it, the Home Health nurse came to re-take a blood test--because of too high potassium levels. This has happened before, and just seemed to have been because the blood sat too long after they got it before it went to the lab.

To top things off, I had to have my mother ready for a 3:00 p.m. neurologist appointment without letting her know until after lunch--for fear of a negative reaction.

The doctor's trip went surprisingly well, but afterwards didn't. My mother was so tired, didn't want to watch TV after supper, didn't want to go to bed either after her pills, grabbed her dentures away from me when I was trying to put them in the container to soak for the night, making me spill water on her. Her dress got wet, and she complained, but she fought me as I was trying to help her out of the wet dress and into her night gown. She slapped me and told me she wanted me to get out of here and never come back.

I called my sister, because my mother was so hysterical, and I thought maybe her talking to her would get her calmed down. It did, and she got her into bed. In a few minutes, though, my mother was back up. But she was all smiles, telling me very sweetly that she would like supper, that she didn't get any (I had to coax her into eating any supper at all earlier). As she ate a snack, the smiles went away--I guess she remembered something, and she was apologetic.

Though my mother was alright for the rest of the night last night, she has been silent today. She has turned down walking outside on a beautiful day. When I asked if she wanted to talk or if she wanted me to read to her, she said she just wanted to be left alone.

Saturday, July 8, 1995

I haven't written here in over two weeks. It isn't because there haven't been incidents I could write about, little things I've observed about my mother, both perplexing and amusing. But there have been no more nights of her getting up to stay up during the night and no more major catastrophic reactions. She occasionally wakes up during the night confused, but if I can get her to use the bathroom, then she will crawl right back into bed.

The Fourth of July didn't go well at first, but we found a solution. We were at my sister's, and my mother didn't want to go out to the backyard to eat with the family after waking up from a nap in a recliner. We wouldn't give in and made her go out, telling her everyone was out there and wanted to be with her because they loved her. She was a little better after eating some. Then a niece brought her a puppy to hold, and she seemed more content than I think I've ever seen her, just sitting holding a little collie puppy all afternoon.

I am fortunate to have these memories of my mother--the times we walk outside, sit under the peach trees on the bench looking at the flower bed I've fixed for here (now abloom with impatients, with coleus and caladiums sprinkled throughout them), the times I read to her, or when we sit holding hands, watching a good movie. This is the year of my life-- the year when I'm doing something really worthwhile and saving memories to last a lifetime. I hope that there will be at least one more year of this.

Monday, July 10, 1995

We had a setback last night. My mother began trying to get up at 10:00 p.m. Each time I told her it was still night, she got more and more angry. She said she wished I had never come here. One time she told me I had been "saying it was night all day." She was up continually between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m.--wandering through the house, stumbling and almost falling, but refusing my offers for help. She did go back to bed each time, but only after wandering throughout the house. I got no sleep, because as soon as we went back to bed, she was up again. Then when she got up at 5:00, she asked why she had been "left in this place." I told her it was her home, told her all about herself and her family, as I have done hundreds of times before. Breakfast and the rest of the morning have gone fine. She is taking a nap in her chair now.

Thursday, July 13, 1995

I don't know why last night--or rather 2:00 this morning--hurt so much more than usual. I don't know if it was what my mother said or just how she said them or what she did. Maybe I was just tired and it hurt more this time. She said the same things she's said before: That she wishes I had never come, that I was trying to take over everything and to take her house from her, and that I didn't fix her anything to eat all day yesterday. She sat on the side of the bed and told me that she wanted me to leave her alone and that when daylight came she was telling someone in her family that she was getting me out of here.

She had crawled back in bed by 3:00 a.m., and she slept until 6:00 a.m., but I didn't sleep much. I lay there and cried for over an hour.

I fixed her an extra special breakfast this morning, but she didn't eat it. She had jerked away from me at 6:00 a.m. when I tried to help her put her robe on, and she was still angry with me at breakfast.

Friday, July 14, 1995

We are up at 10:30 tonight, just three hours after going to bed. My mother said it was too hot in the bedroom. Actually it was cooling a lot in the bedroom because of the fans in there, but it's as hot as can be here in the other side of the house.

It is getting worse again, and I don't know how much longer I can do it. I thought I could make my mother happy by coming home to take care of her, but I'm not. Maybe a nursing home would be better for her.

Tuesday, July 18, 1995

I don't know what is happening this month. We're having really bad times every couple of days. One of them was around 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.

There was a storm. I brought my mother's supper to her at her chair so she wouldn't have to come to the kitchen. She ate it, but when I started giving her medicine, she had a little trouble getting one pill down, and she got really angry. She said she wasn't supposed to take this medicine.

I had turned the TV on after the thunderstorm ended, and we were watching a movie. Suddenly my mother yelled: "Get those kids out of here!" She started pacing the floors, and I just left her doing that after I saw my trying to explain was doing no good. I went to get the beds ready for the night. She followed after me and, thinking I was a different person, told me that I didn't know what was going on in this house and all about that woman in there trying to give her those pills.

We talked about it for a little while, and I told her I was only giving her the medicine she takes every night. She told me that she wasn't sick and that she didn't know that I was staying with her. She said that she couldn't pay me.

Finally when she was calm, we went back to watching TV, taking medicine, and then to bed, with no more problems.

But we have had problems all day yesterday and so far today until I took her for a walk, read to her, and then she fell asleep. She is either too hot or too cold (cold in July?), the food is no good (though the same food was good yesterday), there's too much noise (from my cooking and washing dishes?), or I'm mistreating the children or old folks she thinks are living here.

Thursday, July 20, 1995

Meal times usually seem to be torture for my mother. She usually pushes back her plate, eating only a fourth of what I've given her, which is only a small portion anyway. Today she ate only a few bites.

I asked her today to let me know when she feels bad, and if it's indigestion, I can give her something for it before meal time so that she will feel better and we can eat.

But we weren't communicating so well today. When I said that, she thought I was accusing her of taking something that wasn't hers. So she decided she won't eat or take any medicine again, because she thinks I'm trying to kill her.

Last night we were watching an old Walton's rerun. Even on her favorite TV shows, there's something occasionally that will upset her. In that episode, Cora Beth was developing a drinking problem. I brought my mother a glass of water to take a pill with, and she wouldn't touch it--she thought it was some of Cora Beth's alcohol. Same thing with the glass of Coke in my hand--she thought I was drinking. She got hysterical, said she was never drinking any water her again, and she told me she wanted me out of her house. I had to call my sister to come try to calm her down.

Copyright © 1995-2004 Brenda S. Parris
Background copyright © 1999 Brenda S. Parris

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