I am so glad you are human Luau Makes the rest of us feel normal!! We have all had those moments.... especially in the beginning before our game faces are well developed. We have all felt like we wanted it to just end... NOW! Before Mom worked her way into the geriatric psych unit there were days I felt and did exactly as you have tonight. When Mom and Dad were in one of their huge demented altercations... WOW!.... just pass the vodka please! I have been known to just sit and listen hoping they would wear each other out! Yes, any of us that have been one on one with a testy loved one with dementia know where you are. Some are blessed with pleasant dementia and I often wondered why I earned two hard headed belligerent ones! After a while they chew on you enough that there is nothing left to be chewed on and it become blah blah blah blah. I got to the place I was repeated "Sorry Mom, I will do better next time!" as if I was the demented repeating a story over and over.
It is a gorgeous night out tonight, and that big blue moon is amazing. It's time for that once in a blue moon beer. From now on you might want to make sure the vodka stays OUT of the house. They can't find what they need but they sure can find what they don't need! I swear Mom could sniff out wine and sounds like Lucy can sniff out vodka. It's better for you when she doesn't find it.
So no, I don't think badly of you at all. You are doing the best you can in a very difficult situation. That is all we can ask of ourselves. Enjoy your beer and come back better than before
Luau, I feel your pain. Dealing with my mother in her drug addicted states at times was very difficult. But the "yes dear" method often worked - yes, mother, that's lovely; yes, you were wonderful when you did that; uh huh; oh, I see, etc. So, maybe try, "we're proud of your academics"; I know you enjoyed that; just acknowledge in a positive manner but disconnect. My sister would actually put the phone down when talking to Mama and pick it up peridically to say "um huh". She won't remember it the next day anyway. Mama never did. By the time she washed down 3 valium and a halcion with a glass of wine or Canadian Club she was in no shape to remember anything.
Thanks for keeping me and us in your thoughts. At the moment, things are good and not good. First the good. Lucy's mental status seemed to have stabilized at a reasonable level, after hitting a nadir around June-July. I attributed much of the improvement subsequently to better diet and controlling alcohol intake. Memory lapses are no longer as glaring, and her logic functions also improved. Now the not so good. It is still obvious that something is not right. Though her memory in general has improved, confabulation has become more frequent occurrence, and indeed is becoming problematical in a number of situations. We mostly let these confabulated versions slide without challenge, but sometimes they would catch us off guard, and tension results when she feels contradicted. She continues to be unable to find things right in front of her, she continues to be unable to comprehend that $100 does not pay for three $80 purchases, and she continues to insist fictitious events actually happened. Now for the really discouraging part. Neurologist cleared her completely. Says she is completely normal. Clear for driving. Perfect mental status, etc. What gives? Clearly I can see that things are not right. Am I the one who is mentally compromised? I am totally discouraged. Right now, I am simply biding my time, regaining strength. I am just hoping she stays at this level for a bit so I can have a breather.
Not all neurologist are created equal. Did he know of the symptoms that you have witnessed? Just because he can not find something on the CT scan doesn't mean there is not a problem. Was dementia ever brought up? Did they give her a MMSE or do any cognitive testing other than blood work and scans? I would absolutely want a second opinion because we both know Lucy is not normal! Can I assume this is a general neurologist and not one that deals with dementia? I guess I was lucky to have the Memory Assessment Research Service to get Mom's diagnosis. I would have been the one arguing with the doctor (yep I do that frequently ) No you are not crazy. Doctor's just don't look for the old folks disease in younger individuals. Beyond that they don't listen to symptoms as much as look at test... and there is no definitive test for dementia.
I am glad she has stabilized for now and hope it remains that way for a while. Keep the good diet rolling and the alcohol out of the house. Do the best you can while recovering yourself. You have been through a LOT! Take care of you
Isn't that the truth! I don't think much of this guy, nor his practice. I even had a conversation with him, and I stressed to him that I am really concerned about behavioral issues and her declining judgement and perception. He actually cut me off by saying that he will make the diagnosis, and thank you very much. On the visit, he chose instead to focus on her loss of consciousness, put her on some anti-seizure medication, and then declared her stable and great. Says there is nothing wrong with her memory or her brain.
Phooey. This is about a person who can't find something directly in front of her, whose memory seem to be a patch work of truths melded together in places by fiction, and whose 5+2 sometimes =4 and other times =8 and only occasionally =7.
Yes, I will be seeking another neuropsych, but convincing her to see someone else will be difficult for a while. She is so proud that her doctor has declared her 100%. I am very sad to realize that to get her to another neuro person may have to require a major event or serious downturn of cognition. For the time being, I've got no more gas left in the tank. So as bad as it sounds, I am simply coasting right now, taking care of other things, like my son's college applications, my work, my own health, etc. Funny, I am actually getting used to her new state. Just this morning, she expressed surprise that my annual first responder's refresher course will take an entire day this weekend. She thought the event in past years only took an hour or two. I **know** for a fact that the event has **always** taken the entire day, for like the past 25 years. So either she has lost her marbles, or I have lost my marbles. Sometimes the certainty in her recollections do make me wonder if it is I who lost a few marbles.
When I run into one of those arrogant wannabe doctors it just drives me nuts. Their creed is DO NO HARM, but when they clear someone that is definitely not 100% they are doing harm to everybody involved. I could really crawl up on a soap box but you know what I am talking about. You can't diagnose an illness with no test to prove it's existence without symptoms and family input. I am sure Lucy is beaming at her accomplishment and you want to pull out hair... preferably the doctor's!
I know you are exhausted, more mentally than physically, and there is so much more in your life that needs your attention. I don't blame you one bit but hanging back and seeing where this goes. You may be right that it is going to take another major event to get the next step accomplished. It's a shame but reality.
As for Lucy's reality... you got it. Her reality is as real to her as yours is to you. She is as convinced she is right as one can be. Yes, she dos tell you what she "knows" with conviction. To us it is bizarre confabulated ramblings but to her it is as real as the words on this page. That is why they can almost convince you that YOU are the one losing it. That is why we have to know their thought processes in order to deal with them. When we figure out that we can't convince them that their reality is confabulated it does make life easier because we stop trying. If she wants to think that class is an hour long before just agree... and express your regrets that they have now changed it to an day long "Sure Mom", "I'm sorry Mom", "Guess I got that wrong Mom"... Wish I knew how many times I repeated those lines and similar ones. Unless she wanted to do something life threatening, that is how I had to deal with her.
Enjoy your son for a while, help he get ready for next year, and work on your own health. There is time for Lucy. .... And next time make sure the neurologist specializes in cognitive decline Hang in there !!!
Yes, alternate realities seem to be the main thing right now. As long as dangerous behavioral issues are under control, I can deal with these alternate realities. These confabs happen so often that I stopped worrying about them. Most often they are trivial and very benign. Like this morning when she went at length saying she much she loves the routine of having strawberries for breakfast and how she has been in this routine for the last 10 years. (Not true, since I remember her grapefruit, then blueberry, then papaya and mango periods... and the difficulty of trying to find good mangoes in the middle of a Northeast winter!). Less frequently the confab could pose difficulties, like last evening. She complained when I mentioned that I will be stopping by to look in on my mother in November when I will be on a work trip to the west coast. She complained that I was just came back from visiting her this month (of course not true), and that I have gone out there at least half a dozen times this year already (definitely not true!). So this was one of those times I felt the need to take out the calendar to remind her that it was physically impossible for me to to have been out there this month, and that the last time was when we visited together in our June trip. It was only necessary because I don't want this whole thing to start blowing out of proportion as to how I worry more about my mother than her... etc etc. Mostly, confabs are usually just the 2-hour versus all-day meetings variety. Or why we are having teriyaki chicken 6 days in a row! (Also not true! But I did tell her that if she wants something different, she has to speak up before the meal happens, not after the fact!). Or why we never have any vodka in the house anymore (Because you seem to loose another handful of brain cells each time you have a drink, but I didn't tell her that.)
Neuropsych person specializing in cognitive decline. I hear you. Working on that part.
Luau, I think you will see down the road as she gets worse. In the mean time it is good that she is stable. Sometimes you could enjoy her fake story. Yet sometimes you need to tell her it is not so... It is hard at this time. My late FIL had so many fake stories about his neighbors and friends... He thought the neighbors would give him "back" money as a "co-op" thing (the house was a single one.) He thought he had 2 girls to chase after (the same old lady friend.) He thought he needed all that checkbooks to pay people. He didn't understand my husband had the power for his finances, so he thought of anything that "made sense" to him.
Also, do take away things that make her suspicious or think of "fake stories". You will see. If some stuff makes her see the same fable, take it away. Everyone is different.