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.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Very similar situation with my fiances grandmother!!! I felt like I wrote this article.


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