Head Games

I’m sitting here at the kitchen counter with my laptop in front of me, Aitch is next to me eating MY pizza, and a glass of wine (I’m drinking the wine). And before you start thinking how fancy we are, the pizza WAS frozen.

Also in front of me is the paperwork I was going to go over with my mom. It’s the pre-registration packet for her neurology appointment next Monday. We, the family, know its Alzheimer’s, but I guess we think there’s a magic answer to our frustrations by taking her and getting that confirmation. Grandma came up yesterday so she could go to Doodicus’s Winter School Concert and then spend the night to avoid making two trips (she drives 20 miles one way to be here each Monday). We are getting more and more concerned about her in the house alone with Aitch. She “forgets” to feed her lunch or if she took a nap.

When she’s not here, she’s often waiting for my brother to show up on the farm and help her with something, except she can’t remember what it is she asked him to stop over for. She received a rather substantial refund from an insurance policy a few months ago, and after my dad followed up on it, he found it hadn’t been deposited. When he asked her about it, she had no idea what he was talking about and then became upset when HE became upset about her forgetting.

If you have personally experienced someone with Alzheimer’s then you know when they get agitated, the symptoms get worse. Well, it hasn’t been JUST the missing check, but a litany of topics that get brought up by my dad who tends to be a bit of an asshole. This past year has NOT been a good one for my mom.

So I finally decided to make an appointment for my mom to see a neurologist. She needs medication to help stabilize her moods while the disease progresses. But I wasn’t sure how to tell her she had the appointment. While a year ago she was wondering what was wrong with her and why she was forgetting more and more things, she is now at the point where she doesn’t realize there is a problem. When I finally steeled my nerves to tell her and go over the paperwork, it didn’t go quite as well as I had planned.

“I made an appointment with Dr. Braindude next Monday.”

“What for?”

“Uh…well… you know how you said you aren’t feeling well lately….”

“I feel just fine.”

“Well, you mentioned that you thought you were forgetting things.”

“That’s called getting old.”

And the topic was effectively dropped because I totally lost my balls. I put the appointment page in her purse and didn’t say another word. I’ll let the rest of the family know how it went and they can bring it up over the week with her. On the upside, she’ll probably forget that it was me who brought it up in the first place.

12 thoughts on “Head Games”

  1. When you mentioned your father being angry with her it brought a flashback. My FIL would get so irritated at my MIL when she got a story wrong, or left out a detail, or didn’t want to go somewhere…you get the picture. What we didn’t know at the time was that he *knew* he was losing her. They had been together for almost 55 years and he knew she was slipping away and it TERRIFIED him, but everyone knows that ‘real men’ don’t show emotion (other than being pissed) so he never talked about how he felt, until she was gone. He finally realized how much he missed her and felt like a real shit for being a shit. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen. He was like a lost puppy.

    My only assvice is to be softly direct with her. Tell her you love her and are worried for her safety. Believe me, she knows what’s going on. It’s just something she doesn’t want to face. She is most likely at the earlier stages since she is okay one hour and not the next and I am sure she realizes she is missing clumps of time but doesn’t want to deal with it.

    Absolutely none of this makes any of it easier on you. Nobody wants to see their parents fade. I wish I could give you a big hug and just let you have a good cry.

  2. We are going through something similar with my FIL and memory issues and I understand a bit how difficult this is to deal with and to live with. I’m sorry.

  3. So sorry. Both the grandmothers in our family are cognitively impaired and they cannot be left alone with our child. I hope the appointment goes well, but there definitely aren’t any magic solutions out there.

  4. Ahhh – good luck. It sucks that you’re not getting a lot of support from your dad. I hope you can get some kind of help from the neurologist.

  5. I’m sorry about all this. Seeing my grandmother going through it, I am horrified every time I think of my mom maybe going through the same: it was bad enough when I wasn’t involved/responsible.

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