Monday, March 9, 2015

A New Phase

My mother's initials are M.A.D. The irony was not lost on me last week as she was moved to a memory care facility. The one that I felt like was a dungeon. Though I was less focused on that meaning of it and more nervous she would exhibit behaviors in line with the angry definition. If I were her, I would have been angry.

As it was, I was angry. I felt betrayed and frustrated and guilty and sad and overwhelmed and hopeless. If only Dad had called home health care for help like I'd been bugging him to do for the last 6 months. If only I'd been better about going over there to help him. If only... The list is endless.

Regardless, she would have had to move somewhere eventually.  Alzheimer's isn't curable. And she was in really bad shape the last weekend of February. She couldn't string words together coherently. She shuffled when she walked and couldn't perceive depth without fear of falling. Dad's inability to keep her blood sugar under control and monitor her medications just exacerbated the symptoms. Not to mention his verbal abuse when he would lose his temper with frustration at the situation. That makes him sound like a monster. He's not. He's an old man in a difficult spot who was never the caregiver. He did the best he could.

Mom is much better after only a week in the memory care facility. I was worried she would be furious that he left her there, but she was so addled in the beginning, she didn't realize what was going on. Her blood sugar was over 400 when she got there on Monday morning and was down to 200 by Thursday morning when we had our family and staff assessment meeting. When I took the girls to play Bingo with her Saturday, she was speaking in complete sentences, able to read "Free Space" and get a joke that I made. Still not really able to keep up with a conversation, but being well cared for has made a huge difference.

I wish I'd had the time to type entries the last month or two about the different care places that were options and my feelings on all of it, but things have been really hectic. On top of the guilt I felt at Mom being moved there, I wasn't able to see her until that Thursday meeting because our whole family got the stomach flu starting the weekend before. And there were bright moments in the doldrums - DH was given an award in recognition of all his hard work on the project that sent him to Germany last fall. S took 2nd and 3rd place in the novice division of cup stacking in her age group. She also had a piece of 3D mask selected to be displayed at the high school art show; only a couple of kids from each grade from each school in the district received that honor.

That will be the real challenge now. Finding time to visit her as frequently as I'd like. I felt badly that I only saw my parents about once a week or every other week before. But I can't leave her alone that long now. We've entered a new phase. Praying for strength and patience.
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