Hello My Name Is Dementia

I pray everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and I’m wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

Believe it or not, this Christmas was one our best. Our families traditional Christmas Eve dinner with my husband’s brothers and their families was great, It lasted almost until midnight, my kids, niece and nephews were trying to get me to take an idiot test but my son was laughing so hard when he was doing it, I got the clue I would fail right away, besides I live with my mother what more of a test do I need.

Christmas Day was relaxing, breakfast at Dana’s while watching my granddaughter open gifts, a little nap then an early dinner with just our kids, my uncle and mother. Yes finally a few good days in December, now let me explain why I haven’t written in over a month.

Hello My Name Is Dementia

Since I started writing this blog, I’ve avoided saying my mom has dementia, I would dance around by saying she has a little or slight dementia well folks dementia is dementia and by placing a word in front of it doesn’t change what it is. It’s taken me how many years to finally admit it.

I was recently asked if I was embarrassed to admit my mom suffers from dementia. It has nothing to do with embarrassment; its knowing that one day my mom will no longer be mentally aware of family. So it’s been easier for me to skirt around it. Don’t get me wrong my mom is a far cry from the final stages of dementia; I would venture to say she’s in the mild and entering the moderate stage. I’ll call it “she’s driving me crazy stage.”

I was asked by the medical professionals when I started to notice my mom’s mental decline, I would automatically say about three years because that’s when I became her 24/7 caregiver and when I started to notice changes, big changes. I now realize the dementia started about five years ago I was just to close and the changes to gradual to notice.

Some of are conversations we had three years ago that weren’t so gradual that should have clued me in to the dementia;

“Wasn’t it nice of Kaiser Hospital to give me and your dad a room before he died to have sex?”
“WHAT?”
“Wasn’t it good of Kaiser to give me and your dad…?”
“Mom, stop I don’t want to hear it, Kaiser did no such thing.”
“Yes they did you weren’t there.”

It took a year to get her to stop telling that story.

“It took me a few trips around the cemetery in the back of Chuck’s and Em’s car to throw dads ashes out of the box.”
“Mom, we had dad’s ashes placed in an urn and buried at the gravesite.”
“No, I threw his ashes out of the car you buried the ashes that were stuck in the cracks of the box that I couldn’t get out.

She is still sticking to that story.

“My name growing up was Patricia.”
“Mom, your name is Evangelina, Eva, and Eve not Patricia.”
“No growing up at school they knew me as Patricia.”
“Mom, your parents were from Mexico, you were born in 1924, your brothers and sister had traditional names from Mexico, why would they name you Patricia?”
“Well, that’s what they called me.”
“What ever Pat.”

“When you were younger I used to model.”
“Mom, you were a stay at home mother, you never worked.”
“I used to model.”
“Mom, your 5’1’ models are tall, dad worked nights and you never drove how did you get to the modeling jobs?”
“I modeled in stores.”
“Mom, coming out of the dressing room and showing the salesgirls and other customers how you looked while dad sat in the car isn’t modeling its showing off.”

This past month there has been other changes that have added to my stress, accusatory behavior and aggressiveness.

My aunt and uncle came over for a visit and my mom informed them;

“Nancy picked me up out of bed and threw me to the ground.”
“Mom, what are you saying, I can’t pick you up one let alone throw you to the ground you know that’s not true.”
“Well you did.”
Later that day;

“Mom, why did you say I picked you up and threw you to the ground?”
“Now I remember you picked me up and we both fell to the ground.”
“Mom, if I fell to the ground I would still be there.”

Now our family and friends know I have a dropped bladder, four herniated discs and bad knees, so lifting anything more then twenty pounds forget it. But what if someone who doesn’t know the situation hears her? Hmm, a misdemeanor maybe 6 months in lock up, or as I would call it a vacation.

“Mom, we need to get haircuts today, with your doctors appointment on Monday and with company and the holidays coming today is the only day we have to get it done.”
“Get your own hair cut, leave mine alone, I don’t need you to tell me my hairs long, in fact get out..”
“Mom, were getting our hair done today.”

Well, you thing that would have been that, but no she turned around and picked up her walker (one of those light weight aluminum ones) and threw it at me hitting my foot.

“Ouch mom what are you thinking that hurt.”
“Good, now get out.”

She has a few new names for me, they all have to do with the size of my butt, finally I couldn’t stand it any longer and said “I could lose weight to make my butt smaller, but there’s nothing you can do to change the size of your mouth,” she hasn’t called me names in a week. So here it is, while she is in the beginning stages of dementia she’s in the late stage of pure meanness.

But a few days before Christmas, we gave my mom one of her Christmas presents a new TV with an easier remote (this will be another entry later) since then she’s been trying to control her mouth and behavior. I guess the trick is to give a present every few days to keep her happy.

We have been referred to a neurologist hopefully he’ll explain what stage of dementia she’s in, if there’s medication that will help, or if it’s just her venting frustration and anger.

I think the New Year is going to be like a Roller Coaster, so fasten your seats belts the ride is about to begin….

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9 Responses to “Hello My Name Is Dementia”


  1. 1 GAIL December 30, 2009 at 6:21 am

    NANCY…I’M SO GLAD YOU ARE BACK ON THE BLOG…YOUR X-MAS TREES ARE REALLY THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON…THEY ARE ALL WORKS OF ART….THANK YOU FOR MY GOODIES….I ATE WAY TOO MANY OF THE GRAHAMS…YUMMY….I SHARED WITH JULIE AND AMYS FAMILYS….GLAD YOU FINALLY GOT TO MEET JENNI…..

    • 2 Nancy January 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      Gail, it’s always fun to see you, it was really nice to meet Jennifer and like you said she is a cutie. I’m so glad you like the trees but I just didn’t have the energy to decorate the rest of the house, there’s always next year. I’m glad you liked the cookies, I had to arm wrestle the candies you brought over from Mac, they were delicious.

  2. 3 Jennifer December 30, 2009 at 7:10 am

    HI NANCY
    YOUR HOME IS BEAUTIFUL. THE TREES ARE OUTSTANDING. MISS DEMENTIA WAS VERY GOOD. I KEPT THINKING AFTER WE LEFT WHAT SHE MUST OF THOUGHT OF US. IF SHE KNEW WHO WE WERE? MAYBE SHE THOUGHT WE WERE THERE TO TAKE HER AWAY? THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE VISIT AND I CAN’T WAIT TO READ YOUR UPDATES. HAVE A WONDERFUL NEW YEARS…
    JENNIFER

    • 4 Nancy January 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm

      Jennifer, I’m so glad I finally got to meet you now I can put a face to the name. In fact you reminded me of my daughter Dana who up until the day we had her was going to be named Jennifer.

      I didn’t get a chance to ask how your dad was doing, I know you have stories to tell, you might consider starting a blog to help with the insanity.

      I glad you like my Christmas Trees, this year however I couldn’t find by tree toppers so they really weren’t complete. Maybe I’ll have my act together next year.

  3. 5 Barbara December 30, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Oh boy Nancy! I know where you’re at! My Mom isn’t angry but she can be sarcastic sometimes. Her short term memory is going.
    There is a really good book called ‘Elder Rage’ that might help you. It is the true story of a daughter helping her Dad and he is a raving monster compared to your mom but you might get some ideas on how to cope with this.

    See what I wrote about it here on my old site…

    http://seniorsafari.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/book-review-elder-rage-or-take-my-father-please/

    • 6 Nancy January 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      Barbara, you always have good advice, I’ll look into the book “Elder Rage” reading about someone worst than my mom might make feel not quite so bad.

      I enjoy reading Barbara’s blog; http://seniorsafari.wordpress.com, it’s the best, but I will miss; http://allbymyself09.wordpress.com.

      • 7 Barbara January 4, 2010 at 8:32 am

        Yes, Nancy, that book will help you get a new perspective plus you might be able to use some of her ideas on coping with the anger. Check your local library and see if it’s there.
        I haven’t even been posting on Senior Safari–it seems nothing happens around here that is postable (is that a word?). It’s just more of the same blah, blah, blah and I don’t want to bore my readers.
        I’m still keeping up with my art sites though–I love doing the artwork. It is my only creative outlet and helps me get through the days with Mom.

        My serious art is at…….
        http://3bdigitalart.blogspot.com/

        My funny/silly art is at…..
        http://mousemusings-bbb.blogspot.com/

  4. 8 Jan Heinen December 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    I came across your blog while browsing. I lived with my elderly mother who has dementia for two and a half years while waiting for a nearby facility to be built. It was both a pleasure and the most difficult job I’ve ever done at the same time. Eventually I discovered that the best way to handle absurd conversations or statements was to just agree with them! My mother is now in this facility, we still have absurd conversations, I still agree with her, and we still enjoy peaceful times together.

    You’re a brave woman!

    Jan Heinen
    liftchairreviews.com

  5. 9 Nancy January 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I can handle the absurd conversations, it’s the rude and sarcastic comments I can’t handle. She knows what buttons to push to upset me. I dream to one day be able to have peaceful times like you do with your mom.
    When I get to the point where I start thinking of an assisted living arrangement, she controls herself for a few days or weeks; I fall into a false sense of security then Bam! Back to square one.
    Hopefully this year will be better for both of us.
    I visited your web site, we have two lift chairs, one in the den and the other in her bedroom, and they make it so much easier for her to get up on her own.


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