Monday, January 26, 2009

Dealing with Dementia

We've put our mental illness night on hold because we're dealing with real mental illness in the family. Saturday my brother called me in the middle of the afternoon to tell me my mother had gone by ambulance to the hospital because she had become uncontrollably paranoid in the hospital wing of her residence complex.

Only the night before we'd spoken and she sounded very rational and on top of things, finally putting together the weird experience she'd had at the start of the month when she was in the hospital for two weeks following an incident with her leg.

My brother called again right before our friends came for dinner to tell me they were already sending her back home from the hospital. Bet those nurses who sent her away weren't thrilled by her quick return on a Saturday night.

I spoke to her the next morning and she sounded her usual self. She remembered that my brother and my nephew had come by for visits, but had no memory of any trip to the hospital.

I tried five times to reach her on the phone today but only spoke to her just now. She was in a bad state again, alas. The nurse who transferred me said she hoped I could help calm her down but she was too worked up and didn't want to talk to me either. Poor Mom.

I'm going to New Jersey to see her early Wed. so this blog will get quiet for a while.


Namowal said...

I'm sorry to hear about this.
To a limitedM extent I can understand, as my mom can vacillate between sweet normal to different kinds of crazy- paranoid crazy, "I-wish-I-were-dead!" crazy or angry "you @#^!!!" crazy. We've been begging her into seeing a psychiatrist but she refuses! It's scary, frustrating, draining...'d think that since mental illness often occurs in the elderly that there'd be more incentive for modern medicine to prevent it or treat it better.

That had to be hard when you called and she was too agitated to want to talk to you. How awful. Hopefully you showing up in person will raise her spirits.

I'll be thinking about you and your mom this week. Please take care.

Linda said...

Aw, Sally. That's so tough. I'm so sorry you and your mom have to go through this.

We'll be thinking about you for sure.

p.s. Wonderful photo

stray said...

It is a beautiful photo! Very sorry to hear you and your mom are going through this. Parents with dementia can change so much from hour to hour. I used to try to visit Dad around lunch because he was at his best. Evenings got scary, with fisticuffs and profanity. Once he thought people were shooting at us, and once he angrily scolded I'd never amount to a d--n if I couldn't change a tire.

Mean Jean said...

Hope your visit soothes her. We just got word that Mr. Mean's mother is being moved to a full nursing home (from assisted living) because she is so confused. She can't remember how to work her tv so she goes to bed at 8 pm, forgets how to get to the cafeteria..etc.

Sally said...

Thanks for all your kind words. Sorry the Means are going through this too. Imagine how overwhelmed these places are going to be when the baby boomers all get their walkers and lose their minds.