Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dementia and Terror

My mother has been slipping mentally for years, ever since my father died in 1983. She decided there was no point to anything in life after his demise. Her children and grandchildren meant little, if anything to her. Every ounce of devotion was reserved for her husband, my father, who was not so wonderful as to deserve canonization. He wasn't very nice to her, and he certainly wasn't nice to us. He was a master of sarcasm and put-downs, and he had a bad temper and a free hand and/or paddle when he was displeased. My arse remembers this well.

Her refusal to live her life after he was gone is finally going to land her in a nursing home. She has been in an assisted living facility for a couple of years, and up until recently, I could trust her to take her medications if I set them up in containers for her every week.

Today I went to fill the containers and discovered she had moved them all from the spot they had been living in for the last two years, and had placed them in a different cupboard, with all the days of the week out of order. Some containers still had pills in them, though she swore up and down that she had taken everything I gave her as usual.

She also swore up and down that today is Tuesday, and indeed, she had the Tuesday container near her water cup. No amount of assuring her that it is, in fact, Wednesday, could divert her from believing today is Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, trying to get her meds to her in a snowstorm, my car spun out and slammed head-first into a snowbank. My daughter and I weren't hurt, nor was the car damaged, and some men came and pushed us out so I could continue on my way. But I thought, as we drove along, that the time has come for me to accept that I can't do this anymore.

Ma doesn't care about anything, and has been longing for death for the past 27 years, and I risked my life and my daughter's for the sake of this miserable person who does not love us and would rather be dead.

I'll be filling out the nursing home application in the next few days. I don't expect to be able to accomplish it in one evening. There's too much to document. I'm exhausted before I even start.

And more than anything, I'm afraid. Desperately afraid. Is this my future, too, when I hit my 80s?

If my husband is not one of the lucky ones in dealing with his cancer, will I, too, bury myself alive? I'd like to think I wouldn't, but let's face it people; I suffer from chronic depression. Even though my life isn't really so bad, and in fact sometimes it's damn good, there are days when I get bogged so far down, I wouldn't mind lying down for a nap and not waking up again.

Luckily, I have a few wonderful friends who cheer me up in their own special ways. (Hello, Mal, and Mary, and Grant, and Sue, and...) But sometimes I get so far down, I'm not capable of reaching out, or even hinting that I'm in trouble.

Right now, I'm bordering on being in trouble. I don't want to fill out that application. I want to bury my head in the sand -- or my own personal equivalent, bury my head in knitting. Thank God I have a good project going!

This hurts. Too much. Retreat. Run away...

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