Monday, March 19, 2018
Call Me by "MY" Name.
Months before I placed my mom in a nursing home, she would have moments of confusion, I always found these would be warning signs of what will come. One day she no longer recognized me as her son, she thought I was her youngest brother, that was a wake up call to put more effort in finding her care. After an hour she came to her senses and was back to normal.
Finding a spot takes time and when I moved her in, the stress of living in a new situation really took its toll, her confusion became much worse. To add to that, a constant changing of a cocktail of drugs for anxiety, sleeplessness, stress, blood pressure etc, only made things worse. It was no surprise then that she soon forgot I am her son.
I tell people my sister and I take whatever little gifts we can get, there is no use in being upset over our situation. The truth is, there is no cure, things will only get worse, there is nothing we can do about it except to try and give her the best life that we can. That's not to say there aren't days where we are in tears or feel angry at the world.
My gift is that she always knows me, she is excited to see me, she just no longer understands how we relate to each other. She no longer calls me Steven, she sometimes calls me by my father's name or by one of her brothers names. If you ask her however, where is Steven, she will point to me but if you ask who is that, she will say her younger brother. It
bothers me a little but I have gotten used to it, I know I can't take it personally. A good friend of mine who worked with Alzheimer's patients warned me about this years ago, plus it's almost two years now since I placed mom and I became her little brother.
With new medication things are going really well for her now and I stress the word now because I know it will change. I felt that was this year's little gift and we will gladly take it. You can imagine then, the wave of emotion that hit me the other day as I was signing mom out, and she was in her room getting her coat, I heard her excitedly tell the woman helping her, "my son Steven is here to take me out"! I know that may be the last time she ever calls me Steven, I am not going to read anything into it, I just closed my eyes and smiled as I accepted one of life's small gifts.