Saturday, 22 November 2014

D is for Dementia



I'm not going to lie the past six months have been a mixture of sheer despair and desperation, I cry and cry I accept the situation then I can't then I cry.You see my mum has gone from a bubbly woman who gets bored of the perfectly lined Laura Ashley wallpaper and turns it into something out of Country Living with her own two hands, to a woman that sits before me struggling to put a glove on her hand, when in fact its not a glove its a manky old sock. I want to say hey mum that's a sock lets get you dressed you can act normal now please joke is over, really really long joke is over now. But I can't because my mum's personality has completely changed she is no longer my mum, she even smiles differently.

The trouble is she doesn't believe she has a problem each appointment (and believe me there are many) we have to trick her into going with the promise that we will take her to a garden centre or for a meal. She never knows why we're there and we have doctors with zero empathy trying to get us to say whats wrong in front of her without completely hurting my mum's feelings, how do you say yes she sees imaginary stick men who make jewellery and she doesn't wash or clean her teeth anymore, she calls a clock a box with numbers oh but besides that everything is fabulous.

My mum has a history of depression, booking holidays and then crying on the bed saying she doesn't want to go at the last minute, she had little to no social life her home was her life hence where I have inherited the passion for interior design -  I had a drill in my hand at age 11. Now that home stinks is unkempt, no pristine bed linen not plush cushions. Then there is the dramatic weight loss that had us stumped see she doesn't remember to eat she's gone from a voluptuous fourteen stone woman who relished eating clotted cream and scones at 10pm whilst watching Downton to a mere six stone shell who can't turn the television on, and when I turn it on for her she cannot concentrate on it for more than a second.

Me and my sisters sought a diagnosis back in July its only this Wednesday when I received a call to say that my mum has swollen ventricles. I ask the consultant 'so do you think its dementia' her response 'from what you've told me' oh dear. And to top all of my poor dad has to deal with my mum knocking on his wall (they are separated but live together families eh?!) at 2am to say can we go to Sainsbury's. My dad can't cope as he had a head injury when I was four, so getting him to persuade her to take medicine involves him remembering. This is where the social services step in, but that's another hurdle we have to leap. Then there is the constant guilt of me not being there enough but when I am she is agitated and confused as to why I'm taking the scissors, digital camera, notepads, 15 cushions off her bed. And when I leave the house I feel relief then a wave of gut wrenching guilt, I should move back in, I should quit my job, I should dress her myself, I should I should do so many things but she doesn't want help.

The purpose of this post is for me to both have a cathartic vent but for anyone else who is going through the same to not feel so completely alone, and to raise awareness that when you see that person wandering down the street clothes on back to front hair unkempt they're not scary or loopy they most likely have dementia.

I hope that if I reach sixty seven like my mum is and I get dementia that there is a greater understanding and awareness of this cruel disease, I know many many people who go un-diagnosed and having to wait five months to get my mum's just shows how desperately the process needs to improve.

If Terry Pratchett can live with this disease I hope my mum can to.


http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/

http://www.dementiablog.org/terry-pratchett-on-dementia/

20 comments:

  1. Lovely post Hannah. Much love xxxxx

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  2. OMG, Hannah. I am so gutted for you. My Father had dementia, and it was horrific.
    I can't offer you enough love, sympathy/empathy and support in any way possible. X

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    1. Thank you sweetheart, I'm sorry to hear you had to go through the same with your dad xxx

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  3. Hannah, I with you all the way. My dear Grandma had Dementia for ten years and my Dad got diagnosed 4 years ago, changing almost overnight. No one believed us when we asked for help and eventually he ended up being sectioned as he was becoming dangerous. Fortunately his condition has stabilised but he's no longer my father, he has no idea who I am and gets rather agitated when I visit, which to be honest, isn't as often as I should, its too traumatic for both of us. My thoughts and love to you and your Mum. xxxxx

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    1. So sorry you've had to go through this twice, its truly heartbreaking I completely understand why you find it so hard to visit - your heart just gets broken each time you see someone so precious to you disappear before your eye. Sending you love xxx

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  4. Much love and hugs to you and your family. I went through something similar with my mother.

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    1. Thank you so much, I'm sorry to hear you've had to go through the same with your mum x

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  5. Hannah, my mom was diagnosed this year with Dementia. She says there is nothing wrong with her and she's NOT crazy. She taught English for 35+ years and asked me what the word proactive meant. The repeating things doesn't bother me as much as the overall change in personality. There is a really great book called The 36 Hour Day. It's so hard. I am a 12 hour drive away (it was 2 days before we moved in September). I am also an only child with divorced parents. My step dad has a mild case of Parkinson's. I feel for you. Hugs!

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    1. Hi Kim, I'm sorry to hear about your mum it makes it harder when they won't admit there is a problem, forever treading on eggshells. I will look up the book I was recommended one from the perspective of a son whose mother gets dementia The Girl in the Radiator I haven't read it yet but it sounds like it would be a cathartic read! Sending positive thoughts to you! xxx

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  6. I've been so bad at keeping up with blog reading but I was thinking about you & came to your blog so I've only just seen this. I'm so sorry. That's all I can say & it's really not going to help or change anything but I'm sorry you & your family & your mum are going through this. A big hug for you. <3

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  7. When I read your comment before work yesterday it really cheered me up so thank you sweetheart you're very kind xxx

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  8. I am so sorry to hear this about you mother. My grandmother (107 who lives in Edmonton, AB) also has age-related dementia, and I can no longer make my weekly telephone call (I'm in Las Vegas) as she has no idea who I am, and this makes her so very angry. Thank you for this brave, personal post; it makes me feel not-so-alone with my dementia-related issues. You and your mum will be in my thoughts....

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    1. Hi Percy I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother it is a very cruel disease. Thank you for sharing and your kind words.

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  9. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.

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  11. Oh my. I'm very late to this. I follow you on IG but only just found your blog, and then I see that Vix and Helga have been a-visiting too. Seems like we are all carrying the same heavy suitcase around. It's my mum too. 17 years and she's still just a whipper-snapper. My life revolves around it. She's gone from my mother to my child. I wonder how you're coping now? I love the fact that you've told it as it is. I always want to hear how other people feel about it and how they cope. Xx

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