Thursday, August 4, 2011

Part 1: Elvis and New Teeth

Grandma waiting to see the dentist.
The key to surviving Dementia is patience.... patience... and more patience.  The caregiver has to have enough patience to answer the same question at least 50 times in one day.  Today, Grandma knew that I was her granddaughter, but couldn't remember my name.  What was weird is that she could remember my sister's name until we saw her at her house.  It is like dealing with a child that is at that stage of asking one question after another.  Only in grandma's case, she wants to know who they are, how many kids, are they married, and when is the last time they came to visit.  If you answer the last one with an answer that you were at her house recently, then she gets frustrated because she wants to remember so desperately but can't.

So, today I spent 10 hours with Grandma.  Let me say that again... I spent 10 HOURS IN A SMALL CAR WITH GRANDMA!!!  Answering every question about me over and over and over and over and over and over!!!
*Please reread the last three sentences in order to get the full effect of what I went through today.

Exhausted at the end of the day.
Don't get me wrong!  We had a great day!  Not one problem other than all the questions.  I handled each one patiently.  Then I started to have fun with her, I told her I didn't have kids and  I wasn't married but lived with this guy that I wanted to marry.  Now, here is a woman with dementia that is asking the same questions over and over and over again.  And the minute I lied to her, she looked at me and said "Oh, now you are playing."  YES, I am playing with you and you know it.  So, why do you keep asking me?  LOL  I really wanted to scream it, but I didn't.

Because so many things happened today, this will probably be a three part summary.  Secondly, I am exhausted from the day.

Waiting on the dentist.
The main goal today was to go to the dentist and get new teeth.  Somewhere in grandma's house is a good pair of teeth, but this guy named Dementia has stolen them along with many other things.  Daddy told her that we were going today to get her new teeth.  At 6:30 AM, I was ready and was expecting to find her still in bed in her nightgown.  I found her in her bed fully dressed waiting on me. I let her know that I am ready if she is ready.  She was excited about getting new teeth.  I couldn't believe she remembered what we were doing.

She started telling me how sweet I was for taking her to the dentist.  I'm thinking "Grandma save your sweetness for when you are extremely tired at the end of the day."  LOL

We get to the dentist office in Bryant.  Let me say right here... If you have a dementia loved one that needs new teeth, Arkansas Dental Center in Bryant Arkansas is the best place to go!  Everyone there is extremely helpful and really know how to take care of the elderly.  Grandma was so relaxed and loved all the Elvis pictures in the place.  She kept talking about Elvis while we waited on the dentist and how good looking he was.  Elvis was everywhere, and I teased her about loving him and thinking he was cute.

 We waited about 10 minutes.  Grandma is in the chair when they have her pick the shade of her teeth.  She wanted the pretty white ones.  And then they came in with the bill.  She said "oh my lord!"  I told her not to worry about it, I was paying for it.  She calmed down and said ok.  I didn't mention I was paying with her check.

She told them to put her name on them so "that man" wouldn't get them again.  According to the dentist, people switching teeth happens often in the nursing home.  Well, grandma is not in the nursing home and neither is "that man"!  The dentist was really sweet with grandma and she cooperated so well.  I was amazed.
New teeth with her name

We left around 9:15 a.m. and had to come back around 3:30 p.m.  Around 3:00, the dentist receptionist called us and said they were ready.  Grandma was so excited.  We returned and within minutes Grandma had new teeth.  She tried to smile but it was a little scary.  LOL


We successfully achieved our goal and had a great day together!  I will try to write part 2 tomorrow.  There are so many other things that happened with Grandma: Sara's cats attacking her, Grandma running out of Crackerbarrel, Grandma inviting random people to her house, driving to visit Uncle Brent, seeing all of Ashley's kids, and last but not least grandma telling me how to get home.  Don't miss it!!

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