It’s been an exhausting and mentally challenging week. After a magical Monday, Ma started to descend into paranoia, confusion and disorientation. By Friday it was a challenge just to communicate. I was starting to lose patience with the repititive paranoia of people in the house and taking her things.
Saturday morning I came home from shopping to find her distressed and telling me that the police were in the house searching for her lost items (there was nobody there). I couldn’t convince her otherwise and she just sat and kept on about her lost items. Then the doorbell rang and I found a paramedic on the doorstep enquiring whether we had requested an ambulance. Turns out that Ma had rung for help… I burst into tears and the wonderful paramedic asked if he could come in and check Ma. He spent quite a while with us checking Ma and asking questions like he had all the time in the world. In the end he could only suggest I get back in touch with her doctor as there was nothing physically wrong.
Her doctor is a wonderful man who turned up that afternoon and organised emergency blood tests to check her electrolytes, as this can lead to confusion. After battling through the afternoon and getting her into bed I lost control once more and started a screaming match after being accused of taking her things. Totally illogical and unnecessary. I could hear myself yelling at her but I couldn’t stop until finally I turned and left. I hated myself for yelling and not being able to stop; I hated myself for wishing I was free of the burden; but more than anything else I hated the fact that my mother was gone and I didn’t know whether this time she would be back. This was the worst I’d ever seen her and the longest she’d ever been ‘absent’. I sobbed my heart out, I was so angry, tired and sick of feeling powerless and helpless. She was up from 11pm until 3am looking for things to pack so she could get a taxi. I finally got her to bed after 3… I think only because she got cold.
Putting her into care seems like the easiest option. It would solve all the problems. People, well meaning I know, ask you stupid questions: like what do you think will happen? Man, if I knew the answer to THAT question I’d let them know. I don’t have the answers.
So after descending into the pit of despair I came to the conclusion that I was wrong about the importance of labels. I am now desperate to find one. If I was to take the easy option and place her into care without finding out the true nature of her problem then I’ve failed her. If it’s dementia, well at least we know and care may become the only option. But, what if it’s related to her medications? There are at least three meds she is on that cause hallucinations and confusion. In her increasingly fragile state these side affects can manifest and increase in severity. The same could be about interactions. What about if it’s vascular? What if there may be a solution out there? If we exhaust all possibilities and I’m forced to place her into care; at least I know that we tried.
So today I stayed home with her. She had the best night’s sleep in a long time. I must admit that I lost the plot yet again when dealing with her hallucinations and ended up jumping up and down on her bed to prove nobody was there… childish I know!! Apparently as I could have squashed an old lady!! I used sage and Tibetean healing incense and she took a sleeping pill at 11pm. She slept until 7:30am!! She was bright albeit still a bit confused. Around lunchtime we talked about what had happened and about respite care. She said she would know what was happening next time and that I was to tell her if she started ‘going off’… if only it was that simple!! So, she’s back for the time being and our search continues for an answer. The roller coaster continues on it’s merry way dragging me along behind it.