ONE WAY TICKET TO ALZHEIMER’S WORLD
Every single day I spend most of my life in “Alzheimer’s World” trying to anticipate mom’s actions and reactions. Sometimes I am successful, sometimes not so much. The following story is just one example how something very small can turn into something huge in just a matter of days, hours or seconds.
Last week my husband and I got up at our normal 4 am and stumbled into the kitchen for some much-needed caffeine. There laying in front of my husband’s coffee maker was a note from mom asking him to bring her home some boxes because she wanted to clean out her closets and box up her winter clothes for the summer. No big deal right…wrong!
My husband left for work and returned that afternoon with 4 boxes which he stacked in the laundry room for her, so they would be there when she needed them. He nor I never thought another thing about those boxes.
One Sunday night as we are laying in bed watching TV there is a knock on the door and mom sticks her head in. She doesn’t say anything, but I can tell she needs me. I get up and head for the hallway and when I get out there she is crying. I ask her what is wrong. She looks at me and says, “When did you say I had to move?” Of course, I am at a loss, not having a clue what she is talking about. I hug her and tell her once again that she isn’t going anywhere that she is staying right where she belongs.
She seems satisfied with my answers and goes on to bed. The next day when she gets up she is very “nontalkative” and I could tell something was on her mind. She said a few things here and there, nothing that lets me know what she is thinking. My husband comes home from work and then has to run back out. As soon as he leaves she sits down beside me on the couch. She looks at me and says, “do I really have to leave?” with tears in her eyes. I tell her once again that she is staying with us, that we want her there and then I hug her and tell her I love her.
Tuesday she makes a comment about her driving me crazy. I just told her she was silly, that I loved her. Now, for these three days she has been having nightmares every single night where she thinks I am telling her she has to move out. She says she dreamt she was on the side of the road with all of her things and no place to go. I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what could have happened between this week and last week when she was so obviously happy.
Last night I finally figured it out! She keeps seeing those boxes in the laundry room and thinks she is supposed to be using them to move out! She equates “boxes with moving”. That one small thing had sent her into a tailspin that lasted for days with no sleep for either of us.
Trying to play detective, to figure out why such behaviors are happening can be so scary and stressful. You have to be able to submerge yourself deep into “Alzheimer’s World”. You have to visit there often and try to make sense out of the senseless. It can be something as simple as moving some empty boxes out into the garage or it could be a UTI. You just never know until you show up with your passport and take that trip into another world.
I just hope one day I don’t forget my way back and get stuck in Alzheimer’s World myself.
Appreciate the good, laugh at the crazy, and deal with the rest.
I love you momma!