I mentioned before about the education that Dorothy had given us, mostly they were words to describe how she would be acting and changes in behavior to be aware of. They were:
- Forgetfulness- all around
- Asking the same thing over and over again
- Not being able to engage in a lengthy conversation
- Not remembering common words, places, things she has always known
- Stating that she didn’t need to remember that – because, it wasn’t important
- Putting things away in odd places
- Getting emotional for no apparent reason
- Being Defensive for no cause
- Saying false statements about your siblings, family members or friends
- Trying to play your siblings, family members or friends against each other
- Easily agitated
- Feeling claustrophobic out in the open
- Having to get up and leave suddenly, for no reason
- Made up stories
She was right, all of these things happened to her and are they still happening to her
I can remember driving her to my uncle’s-her bother-in-law’s- home to visit with cousins. They both have health issues and we thought it would be a fun to see everyone and spend some time together. On the way up (It was a three-hour drive) she must have asked me 100 times where we were going. I responded every time in an even voice with the same answer “ we are on the way to see Uncle Tom”. Sometimes she would ask me “did I just ask you that?”- I’d always answer “yes, mom but you can ask as often as you like”.
I warned everyone to be prepared- I was not sure what “Dorothy” would show up. But, you can’t really prepare anyone who doesn’t know first hand about this diease.
We walked in arm and arm- thank goodness it was a beautiful sunny day- and she was happy go lucky. She sat quietly on the back deck, listening and engaging-she was not really knowing or connecting with anyone. When talk of Gran (dad’s mom) came up, she, out of nowhere went off as to how I never liked Gran and how poorly we got along. No one said a word. There was no reason to. She repeated herself several times before I changed the subject. It was a very uncomfortable situation-they did not understand that it was the Dementia talking- not her.
When we left a few hours later- by the time we got to the front driveway from the back-deck area (a thirty step walk)- she had no idea where she was or who she had just seen. When I told her where we were and who we’d seen – she looked at me in a state of confusion and said that this just wasn’t true. We got in the car and headed southwest- it was a clear evening and the sunset was going to be spectacular.
Peace and Love,