Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Dementia

Have you ever wondered what goes on in a Dementia patient's mind?  I often wonder what Grandma is thinking.  She looks at me sometimes, and I can tell she is deep in thought.  Probably trying to figure out who I am, but then she will say "Don't you have 3 girls?"  So, something is connecting in her mind.

Last night, I spent the night with her and found her in bed when I got there.  She said the heat had gotten to  her.  It was 104 degrees outside.  It felt like 90 degrees in her house.  I turned the AC down to 68 to cool the place off.  Since, I was a little girl, her and grandpa always did everything to save a penny here and there.  From turning out the lights to unplugging the dishwasher, they had to save a penny. If there was a little red light blinking, then it was using up energy and costing them another dime that they did not have.  I know in her mind, she turned the AC up so it would go off and not run all day.  You have to save a penny.

Grandma's habit of charing the phone every night.
Tonight, she was trying to charge the cordless phone
on an 8 track cassette adapter.
We have routines and patterns that we grow old doing.  You do something so much that it becomes a habit without thinking.  Grandma is that way.  She has the habit of turning the AC up, turning all the lights off at 7:00 pm, and unplugging everything with a blinking light.  I found the dryer unplugged the other night.  It doesn't even have a blinking light.    She worries so much about saving money that she has flash lights for you to use after 7.  She has bat eyes.  She can see in the dark and doesn't need a flashlight.

Her habits even extend to her teeth.  She hid her teeth from Grandpa.  He would get up before her and put them in  his mouth.  Of course, the lights were out and he couldn't see that they were hers.  Then she would get mad, and hide them from him.  So, now she is scared the guy is going to get them because that has been implanted in her head for so many years.

So, I tell you all this to explain what happened last night with Grandma.    Around 9:00, grandma decided to go to bed.  I was in my room and I opened the door with her standing there.  She informed me that she was going to bed and I needed to do the same.  She gave me her teeth and told me to hide them in a very safe place.

About 10:30, she came in and scared me once again.  I was watching tv.  She said I needed to turn the lights off.  It was keeping her awake.  So, I said I would in a few minutes.  11:00 pm rolls around, and I still have the light on and tv.  This time, she was a little bit more stern with me.  She said it was time to turn the lights and tv off because I was burning up money.  I told her to go to bed and not worry about me.  Now, here is where I started thinking about what she was thinking.  She thinks I'm still a little girl, her granddaughter, and some what of a stranger.  Stranger?  Yes, I look familiar and she recognizes me by name but her brain doesn't make the connections when she is tired and upset.  So, she knows I am family, but who I am and how I am related to her doesn't connect every time.

I finally turned the light out and laid in bed with the iPad.  She came to the room and told me that it was time to turn the "tv" off (my iPad) and for me to go to bed.  She stated several times that the men folk would be coming in soon.  She then informed me that I needed to come and sleep with her.  Oh lord!  I told her no and that I would move when they told me to move.  :)  She told me to put up my toys and go to bed.  LOL

This continued until about 1:00 am.  At one point, I was totally asleep and out cold.  You know one of those times when you are sleeping so hard that you don't know where you are!  Well, when you are that deep in sleep and you wake up with grandma in your face telling you that you need to put up your toys...It is SCARY!  I literally about jumped across the room.  Once, I realized what was happening, I woke up and told her to go on to bed.  She was pointing to my iPad and iPhone.  I pushed them under the cover and told her that I would put them up in the morning.

Of course like anyone else with Dementia, short term memory resets in the morning.  I woke up with Grandma looking for her teeth.  I got ready and packed up all my toys.  I found her in the kitchen eating breakfast.  She smiled and said, "Good morning, honey.  Did you sleep good?"  I wanted to say "NO, some crazy lady kept me up all night."  But my dementia set in and I said "I did, grandma."  She finished her food and I left.  I hugged her goodbye and she told me that she loved me.  She may not know my name every time or that I am almost 40 years old, but she knows she loves me and I love her.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Calling In The Troops

When you can't find something or do something, your last resort is to call in backup.  Grandma lost her teeth again.  Daddy called me this morning to come help find them.  I told him that I had a pair but I didn't know whose?.  How many of you have a spare pair of teeth in your house?  Well, I do for the occasions that Grandma's loses both pairs of teeth that she owns and can't keep in her mouth.

Well, I couldn't get to grandma's today, but I sent the troops.  Kiley, Shelby and Molly!  They went to Grandma's house and proceeded to go through all of her stuff.  Grandma usually cannot stand for people to go through all of her stuff.  The last time we called the troops in, she ran and put her teeth in.  She hadn't lost them, she just needed someone to trigger her memory.

This time, Grandma loved that everyone was at her house.  No teeth and a happy grandma!

Kiley is spending the night with her tonight.  She has been staying with Grandma off and on for a couple of months now.  Grandma loves sitting with Kiley and talking about clothes, shoes, and what she is doing.  We thought it was weird that Grandma hit it off with Kiley so easily.  Then, she started calling Kiley-"Carole Anne."  Things were made clear.

Kiley said that Grandma fell yesterday and is hurting tonight.  Nothing major, just some bumps and bruises.

Quick Recap

Summer 2012...Grandma is still going strong.  Daddy took her to a family reunion a couple of weeks ago and to visit Grandpa's grave.  Grandma was wiped out from the day of events.  On the way home, she asked Daddy..."Who's funeral was that we attended today?"  He reminded her that it was a family reunion.

About two weeks ago, she lost her teeth.  Daddy called me to come over and hunt them down.  I looked everywhere and couldn't find them.  So, my mother being very blunt and bold with Grandma takes the entire group of grandkids to her house.  She walks in with all of them and tells them to find Grandma's teeth.  Seeing this group of crazy kids running through her house caused Grandma to go into a slight panic.  She realized quickly that they were going through all of her stuff.

Mom went to the back room to watch Molly and Jayce.  Grandma went out the back door and then walked back in with her teeth.  So, now we are wondering...if we take crazy kids...will crazy Grandma remember more?  hmmmm

Grandma has good days and bad days at this point.  You never know if you are going to show up on a good day or a bad day.  I showed up on a good day and it turned into a bad day about a month ago.  Here is how it all went down....

Mom and Dad went to a family reunion in Tennessee.  They took Pidge and went to visit all the Greenways.  I went over to take care of Grandma.  I get there and we had a great time visiting and talking about Grandpa.  She was so excited that I was staying with her.  Then she got to asking about Gary (my dad).  I told her that he was out of town with Brenda for the night.  Then she went into this long spill about how they got married behind her back and had been living together for over 40 years and no one told her.  :)

Mom posted pictures of the family reunion.  So, I shared them with Grandma on the iPad.  She was fascinated that we could hold the tv in our hands.  She caught on quickly to moving the photos and zooming in.  I showed her a group photo of everyone at the reunion.  Then she spotted Daddy.  She said..."isn't that Gary?"  I said yes.  She said..."I knew it!  He didn't tell me he was going to be gone and  in another state."  Then the night went down hill from there.  She went on and on until almost 11:00 that night about how she was going to get ahold of Daddy and give him a good chewing.  She said that was so unlike him going over into another state and not telling her.  She finally calmed down and went to bed.

Many things have happened over the last year.  I haven't had time to write all of them.  This is just a few in the last couple of weeks.  So, until the next time...which I promise will not be as long.