Monday, November 16, 2009

Deja Vu

There is a familiar feel to where I am now in trying to understand what is happening to Mother. I am strongly reminded of the early days of coping with Kelsey's eating disorder. First, there came the denial. Not flat out, bald faced denial, but a more subtle "it can't be that bad really" kind of a denial, followed by the realization "no, it really is that bad" and then deciding I better figure out what I'm dealing with. And, like I found with my early forays into the world of eating disorders, people who are involved in Alzheimer's care are happy to answer my questions and there is material on the Internet, but I have to go and look for it. I, for instance, learned that delusions and hallucinations are common amongst late stage Alzheimer's patients from a pamphlet I downloaded. But, as I experienced nearly a decade ago, no one has stepped up front and center and offered to navigate me through the extremely murky waters I now find myself floundering in. Of course, who would do that exactly? Who would be so bold as to assume I need and want the help? Most of you may be thinking that I am a smart enough person, I should just do the homework to figure it out. The problem I have found in both cases is my research is hampered by my own ignorance of the situation. Sure, people may be willing to answer my questions, but do I know the right questions to ask? Do I even know the right term to Google to find the resources I need?

Not always, I have found. And, like before, I have initially done more things wrong that right. As an example, I have spent the last year working to correct Mother on some of her more outrageous statements. I let it go when she calls me my dog's name or thinks that plastic flowers are real, but I have corrected her on some of the things I found harder to live with. When she asks me where something is that she tells me she has been asking for, but in fact never has, I have been quick to try and correct her. When she accused me the other day of both lying and stealing, I reacted like I would if anyone else accused me of such egregious things; I defended my reputation. I'd like to think I did it calmly, using my therapy words and tone, but I corrected her nonetheless, or tried to. I realized I did it in part because she's the mother. The mother is supposed to be the wiser one, the one who loves and supports you and gives you sage advice. It's almost as though I reverted back to the old days with Kelsey when I wanted her and expected her to just snap out of it eventually. I guess I thought if I corrected Mother she'd think about it for a minute, realize her mistake with a "Oh yeah, that's right" and everything would be fine. Well, Kelsey didn't simply snap out of it. Mother never will, of course. She will only get progressively worse. What I ended up doing was aggravating both of us actually. And, I am learning, aggravating Mother only serves to escalate her psychosis, if that's even really the right word for it.

Oof, and the anger. Oh, the anger is very familiar. It may be misplaced, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. As with a rebellious, scared teenage child, a failing, scared elder will lash out at the closest caregiver. I have been told that, and even though it helped to have someone say it to me, I recognized that is what is happening. I am the "safe" one, the one that will take it square on the chest and still keep coming back for more. Unfortunately, my chest is pretty bruised after nine years of this from my child and from the knowledge that I wasn't ultimately strong enough for her. I definitely am not sure I am strong enough for my own mother's volleys. But, well, I look around and there's no one else around. Greg helped out yesterday by making sure Mother had her TV on the right channel for the game, saving me from missing the start of it, but when it comes to the really tough stuff, that's not his problem. He's nursing his own bruised heart after all.

The one thing that is very different from before is there is no coming out of this one. I can rest a bit easier with the knowledge that, no matter what I do, Mother will never be cured. All I can do is try and make it easier on her and everyone else around her by not whipping her into a frenzy every time I see her.

I've wondered what the point is in making me relive all of these emotions and trials and tribulations again. Does the cosmos want to see if I learned anything from the first go round? Or is it just some sick twisted Karmic joke being played on me by some Raiders fan in the sky (surely one of them has made it up to heaven at some point)? Or is this just my turn and everyone will be tested at some point? Or, is it just random and this is just how my particular cookie crumbled, as Mother might have said way back in the day? I don't know anymore than I know why someone decided to allow the Browns to have a Monday night game. So, I'll worry over it some other day - it's time to turn this horrid excuse for a game off and get some sleep!

1 comment:

  1. Cheryl, just remember, you're smart enough, you're good enough, and gosh darn-it, people like you! (even Raider's fans - this one anyway)