Monday, November 15, 2010


I haven't been writing much, lately, here, there or anywhere. Truth is that taking care of Mom is burning me out a bit. Lately I feel like I am tired every minute of every day. I'm not sure if we're going through a temporary phase or if we're entering a new stage of Alzheimer's, but Mom has been particularly, ummm, quirky lately.

Where I have previously been able to anticipate her next move and prepare for it, she lately takes me off guard.

  • I go to put lip balm on her lips, and she bits the end of the chapstick off.
  • I let her smell a candle, and she licks it.
  • She breaks into dance at the most inopportune moments--more often than not when we're surrounded by displays of glass.
  • Her fixation with her hair and hairbrush has returned, she brushes her hair constantly, and calls me on the phone to tell me how much hair she's recovered from her hairbrush.
  • I looked up this evening to find her combing her hair with her fork, while we sat eating in a restaurant.
  • She wants to tell you that you are beautiful, or handsome. This sounds endearing, but strangers are very put off by it. I run constant interference, worrying that she'll some day approach the wrong person, and end up with her feelings hurt, or worse.
  • She wants to constantly shove a blanket in my face while I'm working in her house. "Here! This will keep you warm." 
  • She cannot find the toilet tissue or flushing handle in any bathroom besides her own, so needs assistance everywhere we go.
  • I've mentioned before that the slightest discomfort brings forth a response of pure agony. I'm supposed to take her blood pressure every day, and each time she screams "Why is this happening to me?"
  • She rarely puts the phone back on the hook, and if I do not call her intermittently throughout the day, I arrive to find her sobbing, telling me she thought that I no longer love her.
In addition to all of these little issues, her attention span is waning. When I direct her, for instance, to slide her foot into a shoe, she agrees to, and then walks away, shoeless. When I remind her she needs to put a coat on, she says "ok" and continue out the door as if I haven't spoken, only to turn around and announce that it's freezing outside. Herding her through a door, or to the correct car, or away from the mens room is a constant chore.

We have then, a giant Catch-22. She is lucid enough to not want to be sequestered. She wants to get out, go shopping, go do something. But taking her out is getting to be more than I can handle, alone. Getting and keeping her attention requires a certain amount of sternness. Holding the car door for her, and telling her to get in doesn't work. "Mom! Get in the car! We have to go now!" will get her attention. It also, often, hurts her feelings, and we come back to "I know I bother you."

I've written here before that I have gotten some in-home help with her. Daily help has been a Godsend to be sure, but her condition advances, and I seem to fall further behind. I have enlisted the help of medical counselors to start shopping for assisted living in Alzheimer's facilities after the beginning of the year.

I feel incredibly guilty. I feel like I should shirk off tired, and continue to do everything I can. I scold myself "It's not about you! You don't even have this disease! You have so much to be thankful for! Stop feeling sorry for yourself!" But I also feel like I'm exhausted to the point of  making myself sick. I'm too tired to do what i need to keep myself physically and mentally healthy. Meal planning? Exercise? When, 10 p.m.? I find myself answering every question addressed to me with some story about my mother. Things I do, I just do not do any more. I don't even know what things I do.

I have no tidy way to finish this post up, I'm too tired to think of anything clever. My mother, she is precious, and I do love her.

Alzheimer's sucks.

The end.