Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday- Back to the ER

Dear Mom,

I know I seemed angry today.  I was frustrated. I know you want to be respected and treated like an adult. But Alzheimer’s has taken over a big part of your life, and I can’t ignore that fact.

You don’t realize it, but we’ve put an “alarm” on the front door “just-in-case” you would try leaving at night or try to go outside for a walk by yourself. Today- when we needed to hear that alarm go off- it didn’t.

I’ve asked you and told you not to go outside by yourself and you have sworn that you wouldn’t even think of doing it. But you did.

Cher had just come in with Colt on the east side of the house when I heard Dad yell that you had fallen. You were on the front step outside of the house.

You were trying to get up, but I made you stay down to make sure nothing was broken. You kept saying, “I just wanted to see what the weather was like.”

It took me and Tom both to get you up. After this,  I know I can’t possibly do it by myself. You do have bad knees and I know that is a problem with getting you up.

You got mad when I told you from now on you have to use the walker. You don’t think you need to use it. Its not your fault you have fallen. It’s the house. (?) You don’t realize how unsteady you are on your feet. You don’t realize how you sway back and forth when you walk. You blame it on the house, on your knees, on your slippers, on your shoes, on your feet when they hurt…but it doesn’t matter the cause, it doesn’t matter who or what is to blame- the fact is you are not steady on your feet. And you need to use the walker.

And you CAN’T go outside the house by yourself. You can’t go down the step in the garage, or out the front door by yourself. You run the risk off falling.

You’ve been fortunate. This time. And the last time. And the time before that. One day, you might not be so fortunate. You’ll hit your head and it will be serious. You’ll fall and break a hip, or an arm, or a wrist.

Cher drove us to the ER. You didn’t want to go. You wanted to go to day care. Your “butt” hurt and your ring finger was so swollen and bruised I had no idea how your rings would come off without being cut off. I knew you wouldn’t like that.

You moaned on and off on our way to the ER. It’s hard to know how much you really hurt. I don’t think you feel pain like you should. You put extremely hot things in your mouth. You touch hot things and then your reaction to them being hot is delayed. Its hard to know.

We made you use your walker at the ER. You were mad. The doctor told you your rings had to come off. You didn’t understand. You kept saying that when the swelling came down you could get them off. He kept telling you the swelling won’t go down with the rings on and you could lose your finger. The nurse in you didn’t show up. You didn’t understand.

Threatened with the possibility of your rings being cut off, you asked for water and soap and you got them off yourself. I don’t know how. It had to have hurt like hell. But you didn’t make a noise. That worries me- it makes me more certain you aren’t feeling pain…

They x-rayed your hand and put a splint on your finger. You didn’t understand why. You said your butt hurts worse than your finger… well- you are going to be really bruised there as well. And they can’t do anything about it.

On the way home, you wanted to go to daycare. I said no, you need to come home so we can keep an eye on you. You wanted to go out to eat. I said no. You started complaining about how mean I am.

Sometimes I find it humorous that my mother calls me mean like my kids used to. But not today. No- nothing seems very funny today.

In less than two weeks time, I’ve spent two mornings in the ER with you. That’s a full day I should have spent working. That may sound cold. But it’s the truth. I’m fortunate I can take off like that. But there will come a day when I can’t.

I hate this Mom. I really do. I miss you. I have a hard time listening to you complain constantly. Its hard for me not to react when you tell me I don’t cook right, when you tell me I ‘m not dressed right. When you tell me my religion is wrong, that I read the wrong Bible. How is it that you can say you are proud of my being a minister and then tell me only the Catholic Church is right? Oh. It’s the Alzheimer's…

But its hard when the words are coming out of the mouth of my mother.

I’m doing the best I can. I know it upsets you when I don’t react to something you say- but really- I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. If I do react you get upset. When I walk away- you tell me I should stop and stay and talk to you about whatever your complaint is at the time. But Mom- your reasoning button is broken. I can’t reason with you and I can’t make you happy when we talk.

You seem happiest when I give you a hug. And most of the time I give them to you. Sometimes- when I give you a hug, I just pretend you are someone else. Because you are.

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