Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dementia Day

Today was a dementia day, but in a good way.

I have come to look forward to our dementia/Alzheimers support group meetings.  It's a small group, but the discussions are very helpful.  The group was a little smaller than usual this week because the spouse of one of the members had died.  We knew the end was near and I'm sure that in many respects the death was a relief, but our hearts go out to all the family.

Sometimes the subjects discussed give one pause.  A new members was there about a parent who had a stroke (which nobody knew until there was an MRI) which has resulted in symptoms of moderate Alzheimers, to the point where family members, even the spouse, are not recognized any more. What is scary about this is that the victim is not that much older than Walt and I are and this thing came unexpectedly, from out of nowhere.  It always makes you think about how fragile this life we have is.

I suspect that when one develops Alzheimers, whether gradually or more suddenly, the victim him/herself has the easiest time of it.  The more the disease progresses, the more they retreat into their own little world and it is left to the well members of the family to deal with all of the problems surrounding the disease.

One of the members of the group and I stood in the parking lot and talked for awhile after the meeting.  First time that has happened.  She looks forward to returning and learning more about the conditions and how to help herself.

I was home for an hour after the meeting and then had to get to Atria to pick my mother up for her doctor's appointment.  It amazes me how little (i.e., none) resistance she had to this appointment. Everytime I have suggested she might want to see her doctor for such-and-such, she gets that coy, flirty tone and says she'll go to the doctor when she's feeling better (or when she really has a problem).

But Atria gave her a form that had to be filled out by her doctor for her annual exam and so she didn't complain, except many times in the exam room about how much she hated doctors, how she hated putting on a gown, how she hated pills, how she hoped she didn't have to come back again for at least a year, etc.
But she got along well with the doctor who, of course, didn't believe she was really 94 years old.  (That always starts any first meeting out well.)   Unlike the gerontologist I took her to, she took her time did everything I hoped she would do, and filled out the form.  And other than hating doctors in general, my mother seemed to like this one.  The best thing about having my mother with the same doctor I am, is that I can actually send her e-mail, which I had not been able to do because of the SNAFU in setting up her e-mail account which apparently nobody up the food chain had ever been able to fix for me.  Even going to the "big guy" (God) was no good.  Apparently even He can't tinker with Kaiser e-mail accounts.

But now I can direct questions (if any) to her doctor via e-mail using my account.

We're going to try a better system of making sure she takes her meds.   Dr. A. suggested turning the task over to Atria, but that would involve another thousand-plus and she only has to take four pills a day.  There is no reason why I can't make sure that happens. 

I didn't go back to Atria with her, but just let her off when we got back.  I will go back in a couple of days to pick up her laundry and bring it home to wash.

Even though dementia was the subject most strongly on my mind today, it was a good day and the day is ending on a good note.

1 comment:

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