I arrived at my mother-in-law’s hospital room this afternoon to find another version of Sally. She was agitated, convinced she had witnessed a horrific fight, and refused to eat. She knew who I was but not really where she was at.
I’ve gotten used to the fact that dementia and Alzheimer’s can change up personalities from day to day. Today I found out it can change within hours too. I’ve watched her change almost every hour today. It can be frustrating.
The virtue you must possess the most of when watching over someone with dementia is patience. There are days when I can handle it with ease and days when I’m ready for a straight jacket. Today I found out why the nursing home where she’s been getting physical therapy always has MASH on. It works miracles for calming her down!
Watching episode after episode of MASH today made me feel a connection to Klinger like I’ve never felt before. He worked so hard to try to go home with a section 8 but then ended up staying when everyone else leaves. I get that now.
There are times when I want to find a reason to run away from watching over the parents but I keep coming back. I keep making the appointments for their doctor visits. I keep going shopping for them. I still feel so stressed that I think I need padded walls and the option to choose either the red pill or the blue pill. I pass on that chance and keep moving forward.
Days like today though make me want to crawl in a hole. Instead, I’m sitting in an uncomfortable chair typing with my thumbs on my phone as Sally sleeps. I can tell that her mind has taken her somewhere else. I can’t help but feel envious.
More than likely, I’ll leave here and drive home with the music blaring and trying to forget what it feels like to watch her go through this. Driving alone with the radio is another fabulous form of therapy. You have to look for the ways that allow you a form of escape.
The most frustrating thing about all this is she is the one who keeps hurting herself. She won’t drink and she ends up on an IV drip like she is right now. She refuses to eat and it seems to fuel the effects of the dementia. How do you help when they refuse to help themselves?
All of these factors make me feel like I’m losing it. I feel delirious at times. My brain goes into meltdown mode. I don’t know how to fix things for them and I definitely don’t know how to fix things for me. I just feel like screaming at times. Act like a two year old and throw a good old-fashioned temper tantrum. What I would give to have a day as a two year old!
It’s almost time for the changing of the guard for the nurses. Time to start getting my things together so I can head home after they get finished. I hate leaving since they don’t get a true feel for how she is doing in five minute visits for vitals.
Cool! She’s reacting to the music. I think I found what we need. I need to get her a radio for her room when she gets out of the hospital. Looks like I’m not the only beast calmed by music.