I am learning so much about the world of the elderly and with it the world of Alzheimer’s. I had not had much access to my momma in the past.
Sure I called every day but it is easy on a phone from miles away to not notice the little things. Now seeing her every day, the patterns emerge and what you thought was just an odd comment is more of the norm the altered reality of life with momma with her constant companion-Mr. Alz.
Some days she seems fine and almost can tell who I am before I introduce myself. Other days, like yesterday, her eyes are wild and frightened, her reality is so warped. Nightmares play out in scenes of normalcy. Things she thinks are beyond belief, crazy.
The odd part is that the most re-occurring belief is one of persecution. Everyday she has a story of how she was left out, belittled or bullied. I have learned these things do not happen.
Saturday we brought her new clothes and in child-like abandon, she tried on new things and her smile lit all the way to her eyes. She said it was like “Midge Brown’s birthday”.
Yesterday, we found her frantic by her doorway. She had been dressed in pants with zippers and buttons. She could not manage them herself. She did not understand. She thought she had gotten too fat to get the pants down over her hips. We took all the zippered pants away yesterday.
She seemed subdued yesterday. But she wanted to see baby Kendyll. A great-grandma holding her great grandchild. It was a special moment. A rare moment these days when the clouds have not settled too close to her brain.
I worry constantly now. It is another gift of having her close by. I can no longer act as if all is okay. And the guilt. It is overwhelming. No matter how often I see her, no matter what I try to do, I feel I should do more. It is not enough. It can never be enough.
I have learned some things in this time about decency and kindness. I have learned to greet each patient with a smile. I try to remember their names and their stories. So as I walk the halls with my momma, perhaps I can acknowledge someone else’s parent with their name and a remembrance of some of their personal history.
Perhaps it is the best I can do.