Alzheimer’s & Dementia – Through The Eyes of a Caregiver
We are set for mom’s doctor’s appointment. In a few days, we should hopefully find out what’s going on. In the meantime, I plan to make note of any odd behaviors or happenings. The doctor needs to know as much information as possible. Most importantly, I want to make sure I arrange a moment alone with the doctor to fill him in. All things considered, telling the doctor about the few things that have happened away from moms ears would be best.
The doctor’s appointment was 2 days away, and I let mom know. However, I don’t know if telling her was the best thing to do. Several times a day she was calling me at work to ask me what time she was supposed to go to the doctor’s office. By the fifth time, I was still calmly telling her, that it’s not today. When it’s time to get ready, I’ll let you know. At this point, I started feeling a bit of urgency about getting mom to the doctor. Either she was losing her mind or I was losing mine!
Car In & Out of the Garage
The day before mom’s appointment I got a call from her at work, but it wasn’t to ask what time she was supposed to go to the doctor’s office. She had a very calm relaxed voice and asked if I could come to the house and help her with something. She had a little problem and she needed some help. I told her I would be there in a bit. We live only about 5 minutes from where I worked, so I took a break to run to the house to see what was going on. I pull up to the house and mom’s car is pulled out of the garage. The front end is partway in the garage and the front bumper halfway off.
I went into the house and mom is sitting on the sofa watching tv. Undoubtedly I’m like, what the…? The car is partway out of the garage with the bumper torn off and mom is calmly sitting in the living room watching tv! Something is wrong with this picture! I asked mom what happened to the car? Hold on to your hat for the answer I got to this one! She said, “I don’t know”.
It was like that when I went out to go to the store.”
The first thing to remember here, at this point in the game, I have no clue what is going on with mom. Therefore, when she gave me that answer, I turned into a huge question mark! Another key point is that I spoke before I thought. I told her, mom, I just left for work a few hours ago and the car was in the garage safe and sound. You’re up and dressed so where were you trying to go and how did you rip the bumper off the car? As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I regretted it. Mom blew up! Then she wanted to go take off in MY car! Oh, no way that was going to happen.
I just let mom storm on into her room for now. My head was mass confusion. In the meantime I found some help getting mom’s car back in the garage, and the bumper wired back onto the car for a temporary fix. After that, I went into the house to see if mom had cooled down. She was back sitting on her sofa watching tv. At first, she seemed to be ignoring the fact that I had walked in the room. Then she looked at me and said, “I did not do that to the car!” I just told her, ok. After all, there wasn’t any reason to continue arguing with her and upsetting her.
I realize that something is going on with her and it wasn’t going to do any good to continue arguing. At this point, it was just going to upset both of us. As long as we make it through the next day and a half until we get to the doctor to see if we can get some answers. An extra note: Evidence of the damage to the car bumper, garage door frame, and garage door opener railing, mom, or somebody, was trying to go somewhere. They were backing out of the garage, turned the wheel, caught the bumper on the garage door frame and ripped the bumper off. Yes, another note for the doctor!
Finally, the appointment day is here. Perhaps we will finally get some answers to why these crazy things have been going on. When mom got up that morning, I told her she could go ahead and get dressed to get ready for her doctor’s appointment. Much to my surprise, she asked me why she was going to the doctor? I asked her if she didn’t remember the doctor had called and said that she was due for bloodwork and to see him for a follow-up. She said she really didn’t remember that but she’d get ready anyway. At that very moment, I had this funny thought, wondering if mom didn’t have Alzheimer’s. I don’t know why it popped into my head. A bit later, when it was time, we got ready and headed out the door.
Finally Made It!
A small part of the weight was lifted when we finally pulled up at the doctor’s office. Sounds strange, I know. As soon as we walked into the office, I sat mom down and I went to the window and got mom all checked in. As planned, I told the receptionist that I really needed to speak with the doctor before he had any conversation with or examined mom. Easy enough, the receptionist said that she would get a note to the nurse.
After a short wait, the nurse came out and called mom’s name. Mom turns and looks at me. I told mom, the nurse is calling you. She said I know but aren’t you coming with me? I told her I was definitely going with her and we got up. The nurse directed mom to the little room where all the lab stuff is. Well, it’s the Lab. She then turned to me and told me the receptionist was going to buzz me in. The nurse told me to go on back to an office where the doctor was waiting to speak with me.
My Visit With The Doctor
Firstly, let me tell you, my mom’s doctor was the most wonderful person I had met in a long time! This doctor was very kind and understanding. He really took the time to listen to me and didn’t rush me or act rushed. You know how busy doctors are. They’re always zipping around and it seems like they are only hearing half of what you are saying. No offense to any doctors that may read this. I know you guys are super busy. I was just very impressed by the sincere time my mom’s doctor took to speak with me. After all, I needed him to hear everything I was saying because I was wanting answers. Don’t misunderstand me, everyone needs that. I was needing that at that moment.
At last, I was able to explain to the doctor the things that have been going on with my mom. The hot water incident, strange phone calls, getting ready for her appointment every day, except today of course. The few times that she had repeated herself within a few minutes. But that hadn’t gotten bad YET! He said he would do a little test with her that they do for, yes, here it comes, Alzheimer’s! I knew it was coming. It’s a memory test. And we’d go from there.
A Moment With Mom
When I got into the room, mom was already waiting where we’d be seeing the doctor. Mom looked excited to see me! She said, “there you are,” with such excitement! When I looked at her face, it was almost like a frightened lost little child look. She had been left in this little room all alone and abandoned. My heart sank. I sat in a chair next to her and she put her hand on top of mine. She told me she thought I had left. At that moment, I felt as though I was looking and speaking to a little girl. At that moment, I was talking to my daughter, not my mother. I can’t explain the erie role switch feeling that was felt at that moment.
Enters The Doctor
When the doctor came in, I had to gain back my composure. I wanted to be able to focus on what was going on. First, the doctor advises us that from the lab report, mom has a urinary tract infection. Surprise to me! Of course, the doctor asks if she’s had any discomfort. Mom looks at me. Why are you looking at me? I have no clue obviously! She hasn’t said a word to me if she has been having any problems. She finally answers by saying, “maybe, a little”. Alrighty then! I told her that she should have said something. Of course, mom says she didn’t want to bother me with that. Confusion is setting in here! You can call me at work every five minutes about other little things, but not a UTI?
Moving on, the doctor starts asking her questions and every question he asks, mom looks at me. I don’t know if she’s wanting me to answer or if she doesn’t know the answer, or what? I told her I was going to leave the room if she didn’t stop looking to me for answers. The doctor doesn’t want my answers. By the way, the memory test, I don’t think I’d do too good on it if I was being scored! Nonetheless, it’s a several page series of questions and a couple of drawing activities. Mom got through the test and the doctor and nurse left the room to go “score” it and they’d return shortly.
This Blog post on Alzheimer’s & Dementia – Through The Eyes of a Caregiver is going to consist of several posts. This is a special “real-life” account of what I myself and my husband went through as Caregivers for a parent with Alzheimer’s/Dementia. It is my hope that this information will be of some help for people going through the same issues, trials, and tribulations that we experienced. I will be totally honest about the good, the bad and the ugly. Because if you are just being faced with the question of whether or not you should be the caregiver, nobody should sugarcoat the duties and responsibilities. I know it’s your parent or loved one, but you HAVE to be able to withstand ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! That’s the honest truth.
Part III, the continuation of
Alzheimer’s & Dementia – Through The Eyes of a Caregiver
Take care & Be well!