Lori did not feel well, and was fading. The holiday season, along with hosting her daughter's Christmas party, car pooling, shopping, church activities, musical activities and care giving activities were exhausting her. All of Lori's joints hurt, her throat was sore, and she had the chills. Lori cleaned the house, made meals for her mother, drove her mother to appointments and was convinced she was coming down with something. So she upped her vitamin C, and took some healing herbs, a chiropractic adjustment and a much needed nap. With little warning, Lori had a cough, and it wasn't just a quiet productive cough, but a violent, non-stop dry cough. Lori was coughing all night, and Lori's mother was worried.
Lori needed sleep, but was not sleeping. She would go to bed at 8PM, then at 1AM, all the lights in the house would be turned on, followed by shuffling feet and mumbling. Lori's bedroom door would fly open, followed by her toothless mother wearing unmatched socks, tasseled hair, and an over sized robe "Where is the Vicks?" Lori, you need Vicks so I'm taking the car to the drugstore. We need to get you well, now where are the car keys?" Lori would get up with her mother who already had gone into her grand daughter's room looking for Vicks. All of the cupboards in the kitchen were opened looking for Vicks, the medicine cabinets in all of the bathrooms, and even the kitchen drawers had been prodded for Vicks. "You need Vicks and a vaporizer, Lori." Lori would calm her mother down, and would close all of the cupboards, and would turn off all of the lights. Her mother would finally settle down, and with all of the lights off, Lori would go back to bed. Then at 3AM, all of the lights would go on followed by shuffling feet and mumbling. Reminiscent of the movie, "Groundhogs Day" where the same scene is repeated over and over again, Lori's bedroom door would fly open, "Where is the Vicks? Lori, you need Vicks." The same scenario would play over and over again every few hours. The first night, Lori's mother woke her up 3 times. The second night, 4 times, and by the third night, Lori was fearful of developing walking pneumonia, or even death (okay, a slight exaggeration) from lack of sleep, and ended up seeing her doctor. Lori was afraid that her mother would get sick, too from sleep deprivation.
Experts on communication techniques regarding dementia (Naomi Feil, MSW), say that all behavior has meaning behind it. Lori had a history of having pneumonia as a young child where her mother would stay up all night with her slathering her chest with Vicks and rocking her to sleep next to a vaporizer. So, Lori was not offended by the interruptions that happened in the middle of the night, because she admitted that she herself was guilty of waking up the entire house with her non-stop coughing. "That's it, Lori." Her mother said on night three. We are not only getting you Vicks, but you are going to see a doctor tomorrow. Bronchitis can easily turn into pneumonia, Lori." Her toothless mother at 3 AM was making a lot of sense. No one would even guess she had dementia with those comments, and then as always with dementia - there is one thing said, that gives it away and this is what Lori's mother said: "And tomorrow we will call your Uncle Ron, and he will see you immediately. He always enjoys seeing you Lori." Lori's Uncle Ron was a medical doctor, and he and Lori had a very close bond. But Uncle Ron was dead. He died 10 years ago, and lived in another state. "Okay mother, I will see the doctor tomorrow, I promise."
So, Lori saw the doctor, and the medical staff admitted that antibiotics would not work for what appeared to be a virus, and that the flu shot that had been advertised non-stop on the radio, according to the medical staff, was not appearing to stop the flu strain in our town!! So, since Lori was not a fan of drugs anyway - she agreed to take a strong cough suppressant as needed at night to help her and the entire house to sleep, to sanitize everything, to wash her hands and to follow her mother's advice by going to the drugstore and purchasing a vaporizer and 2 large jars of Vicks!!!
When the care giver needs a care giver, it can sometimes be, the care giver's mom!!! And what was interesting to notice, was without Lori's interaction (when Lori was laid up for 6 days), Lori's mother would appear to be in her own silent world. When Lori started feeling better, Lori's mothers energy level seemed to improve too, and the staring into space, ended. Lori's mother initiated more activities on her own. She would invite her grand daughter to play marbles on the living room floor, she would play with the dog, would write in her journal, would watch football games and liked to play Sudoku.
Copyright 2014 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama Nicey
The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics. How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.