Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tearing it all Down: Death and Dying

This is post number 400 and this one I am about to share with you is difficult for me so I need to tell it slowly.

Poison can seep inside you like a lusty spider crawling into your ear while you are asleep. At first you only get a hint or two of something being wrong. You ignore those until the poison is so obvious that you have to get medicine or die. 

Yep, that's me 1962
My mother has become that spider. She is slowly sucking the life out of me with her poison and no matter how hard I try to find medicine for my condition I keep finding an empty pharmacy. You would think that by now there would be a medicine that would prevent a person from having to suffer through the decay of a parent.  Maybe there is but I have not found it. Alzheimer’s is a hard thing for anyone to swallow, especially when it affects the person you love the most, your mother and your best friend.

She has been the center of my universe for as long as I can remember. A mother usually is. With the looks and charms of Grace Kelly this Norwegian beauty could have had any man but when she found out that she was pregnant with me she desperately grabbed her chance at a better life far away from Norway. She married a charming American, one that was not my father, but one that she had been dating and more importantly, one that was available. You have to remember that in 1957 moral conduct was viewed differently. A woman in Norway did not just get an abortion or raise a child on her own.

For the first time in three years since my mother had her stroke I am going to take her for a drive, the first time she has gone any further than her front door. As I am writing this I still wonder if I will get her out of the door and into the car. I have finally made a stand and it was not an easy thing to do. 

“Either you go to the doctor or you go to a nursing home because I cannot do this alone anymore.”

Many words were shouted and tears fell in secret, as they still do. There are other members in this “household” but they turn their head and say, “Deal with your mother on your own. “ I really can’t blame them because she has alienated everyone in her family. I am the only one she ever talks to anymore. She has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with her children, her grandchildren or anyone else. She has no friends, no hobbies except the television and daily newspaper. This is not the woman I remember.

The worst part is that we are living in the same house. Every single day my husband, my son and I have to share the same space with a woman that has changed from something beautiful into a troll. My mother has turned the walls of this household into deadly mold and everyone within these walls is breathing it in. I really hope that I can get her out of the door and into the doctor’s office and that he will be like the Wizard of Oz and give her some magic pills that will return her into the world of the living. If not, maybe he can give me some pills to deal with this.

I will keep you posted. If you have any words of advice on how to deal with a parent who is forgetting your name I would love to hear it! More of this story to come...........


D.G. Hudson said...

My MIL has dementia, which is similar to Alzheimers, but she could still feed herself until she became almost totally blind. She will be 98 yrs old this year. I've written a couple of posts about the experience of getting her into a care home. I finally had to become the one in charge as hubs couldn't tell his mother she had to go into a care home, I had to.

We had experienced her getting lost and being brought back by the police. Once she fell getting off transit and we had to get her from the emergency room of a nearby hospital. Another time we had to watch while the surgeon sewed up the gash on her head from another fall. I'll leave the links below if you want to read the posts.

It's not easy. Good luck Siv! It's human nature to resist getting older and incapable. Some do get violent.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The Lakota say that the cycle of child and parent is a circle: in the end we become the parent of our parent, knowing better what is best for them than they do.

I pray you can get your mother into that car and take her to medical care that will get her the help her condition needs.

It is hard to take the jarring change in character and temperment. The brain tumor slowly transformed my mother into someone I often did not recognize -- but The Father was kind and there were still flashes of the Mother I knew. At the end that was the Mother who looked up at me and smiled.

But there were storms and biting remarks. As your mother was there for you as a child, you must be there for her in the twilight of her mind even though she rails and yells at you.

You know my email. Write me. I will write back. The road ahead is often dark and filled with pain. I am saddened that your family has chosen to turn their backs on you. Some decisions cannot be undone. You may forgive them, but they may never be able to face their actions and inactions.

To deny the dying of the light and the dying of the mind is only natural -- may The Father grant you the strength for the next step. Roland

Botanist said...

I have no advice to offer, I'm afraid, just good wishes. My grandfather withered away before my eyes, and spent some time living with us before he became too much and had to go into care. It's hard. Remember the woman she used to be, and know that the things she says and does are not that same person.

EvalinaMaria said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I know it's very difficult and your family suffers. My partner's mom has dementia, they were lucky to get her to the doctor. Believe it or not but after she had to give up her driving licence and start walking everywhere she got a little better. I visited her a month ago and she has her moments, for example: we were eating grapes, she looked at it and said "those cherries look pretty good". She tells stories over and over and over but also she has good moments when she is 'normal'. She is talking her medication and I think it is helping or slowing down the process.

Don't tell mom that she is sick and has to go to a doctor. Tell her that it's time for a checkup or something like that. Ask her to go for a walk with you.

You are in my thoughts and prayers,

Michael Di Gesu said...

Oh, Sis,

I am so sorry for your predicament. Thankfully you had a wonderful relationship with her before her illness.

My dad was abusive and I cared for him in the end. Only three months, but it felt like three years. A daily gnawing at your spirit has to be so difficult.

You have INCREDIBLE strength. I know. Your life had started in turmoil and seems to be still.

I wish I had magic to give you in any form. I wish I had the answer for you. Sadly, there is none. But three is always hope. Each day is a new beginning. Dig deep. Remember something she loved. Coax her. There must be SOMETHING that she wishes to see outside her room. A place she loved as a child. A place that was happy for her. Often our childhood memories are our happiest. Ask her if she'd like to visit the house she grew up in, or a special place that gave her much joy.

Gather a bouquet of her favorite flowers. Perhaps a bottle of her favorite perfume. Our sense of smell can conjure up many memories.

I know these suggestions aren't much, BUT it may be a key to unlock something in her HAPPY memories.

I hope you can feel the SUPER HUGE, SUPPER STRON, BEAR HUG, I am sending you virtually. ADD to it BRIGHT BLUE, NORWEGIAN EYES, and a KILLER ITALIAN SMILE. That's all I can offer you so many miles away....

Suzanne Furness said...

So sorry about your mum, Siv. I can relate and understand the pain you are going through. I had to watch my mum disappear over several years following a major stroke. She couldn't speak or write so communication was so hard. I really hope the doctors can help you but whatever happens know you are not alone and there are people out here to talk to. Talking helps I find. x

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Siv .. this must be so difficult to live with .. and it's very sad that the family cannot empathise with the situation and be of more 'help' - even if it's just being kind about your mother's problem.

It's not her fault .. or yours .. and somehow you have to help her through ... just appreciate where she's at - that will make her easier.

I don't know what I'd do .. but there was a Dementia/alzheimer unit where my mother was .. and when they opened it a Dr came down to give a talk .. and he had written a book on the subject - short stories - about different effects on each of us ... people who suffer and carers ...

Here's the details: by Dr Graham Stokes

The stories are short, poignant and to the point .. they teach ...

I read some to my mother, as she used to own a Care Home .. and said what an interesting subject and wanted to know more ... as we age, to a point we all get some form of senile dementia.

I hope you can buy the book and read it ... and then I hope it will help you a little and perhaps you can encourage your family to assist a little more ...

I know people don't understand .. nor do I - but this little book was really eye opening .. big hugs and I do hope the doctor can help in some way ... but go with her as best you can .. it doesn't matter if it's muddled thinking, if you can laugh ... but it's tough and will be ..

Big hugs again and lots of thoughts .. Hilary

Siv Ottem said...

Thank you all for your kind words and support. I will let you know soon how the doctor's visit went.

shelly said...

I wished I had words of wisdom. for you. My grandfather had bouts of dementia before he passed.

But I'll tell the story another time.

Hugs and chocolate,

Linda said...

I read this post and the one about getting your mother to the dr. It's amazing how she had her outfit chosen for the day. My heart goes out to you. Thankfully we didn't have to deal with my mother in that condition. She did NOT want to have alzheimers (her sister suffered many years with it) and burden us. We lost her this past spring. Take care of yourself too!