Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Choices and Changes: Our Aging Parents (7/6/16, part 14)

I haven't written much about this journey with mom for several days, I guess perhaps I'm trying to process all that is going on. I was there last week and left with more questions than answers; more concern than previously and a higher rate of frustration than before. A week ago we finally got in to see the neurologist, a pleasant female doctor who mom and I both liked. She asked questions, poked at her laptop, read paperwork and hmmm-ed. She decided the previous assessments by other medical professionals of "rapid onset dementia" fit. She prescribed medications, handed me a note that said "call social services and they will help you", while quietly mentioning that mom shouldn't be alone too much or drive and that she needs a caregiver in the house everyday.

That was 8 days ago and what have I accomplished since then? I don't know. Talked to a lot of people; interviewed caregiver agencies over the phone; struggled to make sense of the process of taking the damn pills that mom is determined to avoid. A slight ray of hope arrived in the form of the county social worker who offered to come to the house and make an evaluation of the situation, mom's condition and help guide me through this process. Process? What IS the process? Talk to mom on the phone each day to try and confirm that she took her pills? Half the time when she goes over to look they are still in there so she clearly isn't taking a damn thing. Does it matter? I don't know because we have a follow up appointment with the neurologist next week and I wondered if she would be looking for improvement from two weeks of medications....but some people tell me there is little hope for that. And with mom's calculating and persistent refusals to take the pills I'm losing hope.

Today I lost more than just hope; I felt like the life started to drain out of me. A random chat with mom turned ugly when, in an effort to prevent a repeat of a few weeks ago when I didn't write down that we had an appointment (I told her on the phone the day before but that doesn't seem to count), she screamed at me to never do that again and how little she cared for what I had to say. Retreating after that volatile afternoon I decided to try and give her the heads up just in case it would help, and so today my plan was to explain on the phone and then also send an email. The phone conversation wasn't pretty; she has no interest in being told what to do and "she will make that determination when the time comes" - and yet.....I could go on for pages but it doesn't matter. She wants to fight and rail against me and still I'm trying to do the best thing possible; have caregivers come IN to the house so that she can stay there, possibly for longer....but I don't know anymore. I just don't.

"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa