Friday, February 13, 2015

"I Can't Remember Things!"

The winter of 2015 has been a doozy here in America!! Lori and her husband were very aware of the cold weather, too. The storage room with the futon on the floor which she and her husband had as a makeshift bedroom was freezing. Even the dog chose to sleep in another room, but they were happy knowing their mother was warm and comfortable in the master bedroom.  And they were also grateful to not be living in Boston shoveling 6 feet of snow!! Then the phone rang.

It was 1:30AM. Lori's husband picked up his cellphone. "This is impossible, "he said. "Lori, your phone is calling my phone!"  Lori was still very much asleep and hardly able to comprehend what he was saying. "Pick it up, find out who has my phone!" Lori was slowly waking up. "Hello. Mom, is this you? You want Lori to come downstairs? Okay, she's on her way."

Lori entered her mother's room, and found all the lights on, and her mother was sitting in the lounge chair very confused and anxious. "Mom, how are things going for you?" Lori's mother was shaking her head, "I am so confused. I must be crazy, really crazy. Lori, I have lost my mind!" "What happened?" Lori was quietly ready to listen. "How did I get your wallet, Lori?" Her mother was gesturing to her night stand where Lori's open wallet was sitting. "I don't know, Mom," said Lori. Now we are both confused. Maybe we can figure this out together." "Lori, I need some water, let's go to the kitchen."

Once in the kitchen, Lori's mother sat in her favorite chair at the kitchen table. "Where am I? I don't know where I am." Lori explained where she was and (although this same question and explanation had come up, literally hundreds of times, she repeated herself as if she was telling her this for the first time), her duration of being where she was for over a year, and details of things that had happened, etc. "Why don't I remember things?"  "I can't remember things, and don't know how I got your wallet, but know it was yours because I saw your license."  "It doesn't feel like I have been here with you for a year, and I can't remember coming here in the first place." "What is wrong with me?  Am I crazy? I think I am crazy!"  

It was as if Lori's mother was waking up, really waking up to present time consciousness. Lori filled in the gap of silence with deep, deep breathing so she could approach the truth with a calm and relaxing vocal inflection. "Your heart and circulation problems have affected your brain, mom. This causes you to be forgetful, very forgetful at times and you have lost your short term memory. Your current doctor thinks you have something called vascular dementia. It is terminal and there is no cure.  But the good news, (according to research) is that people can live with with this condition for 3-30 years, and you have already had this for over 3 years."

Lori's mother was silent, and then almost looked relieved. "Okay, that helps. So, I guess I'm not crazy then. " "You aren't crazy,  but occasionally, at least in your past when you liked to go dancing in the 1970's wearing short skirts and white go-go boots you may have been considered a wild woman!"  She started laughing showing her beautiful blue eyes, toothless grin and angelic face. They both laughed together out loud, and then Lori's mother yawned.  "Well, I better get to bed."

Lori brought her mother back to bed. Once she was tucked in, Lori's mother struck a serious pose, looking up at the ceiling as if a mile away she said, "Not being able to remember things is very, very scary Lori." ( She looked like she was going to cry, and she rarely ever cries.)  "I am so sorry you have to go through this, mom. So, so sorry!" They both sat in silence breathing deeply while Lori softly stroked her mother's shoulders and back. Then Lori said, "I'm here to help you remember mom,  and I will support your every step. This is really hard, it really is,  isn't it?" "Yes, it is , Lori, " said Lori's mother. (More silence and gentle massage.) Then Lori said, " We will get through this together, mom!"  Lori's mother just nodded her head in silence. "Everything is going to work out because God's got this, and God loves you."

Lori's mother breathed in a deep breath, and said, "Will you stay with me?" Lori said, "Would you like me to sleep here with you?" "No, you can go back to your own bed." "Yes, I will stay with you, mom. We will walk through this together."  And Lori stayed with her mother until her mother fell asleep.

 In the morning there was no memory, or exchange about what happened the night before.

 Copyright 2015 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.

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