Conversations with my mother
My Mother's health has been improving nicely, the extreme anxiety and depression have now pretty much all but passed.
The 'mood' altering medications IE the anti-depressants have done wonders and she is a lot happier.
The memory however is deteriorating. I tend to notice it more than I did before, putting much of 'confusion' down to just Mum being Mum and at times not wanting to discuss things.
A few weeks back I took her to the 'geriatric specialist' for the follow up of the formal dementia assessment. Even though she had been to this doctor less than two weeks before she had no recollection of it, which was rather telling in itself.
We all knew the outcome before hand but the diagnosis was confirmed as advanced dementia most likely caused by the degeneration of her vascular system. Whilst the cognitive tests are generally very good the clinical diagnosis is based on parts of the brain 'shrinking' which is a sure sign of the disease.
We were also told that dad, whilst seemingly very forgetful has only mild or early signs of dementia.
Over the last couple of weeks I noticed a pattern that up until recently I hadn't really seen before.
When my parents are together and my mother gets confused or forgetful, my father will jump in with a totally unrelated story or anecdote, it's usually something inane or silly and quite often about a child hood dog or situation.
I realized that he subconsciously tries to minimize my mother's confusion by interjecting. It's certainly not conscious on his behalf, and half the time he isn't really able to follow the conversation or train of thought himself.
It's just ingrained behavior that he does.
But with my mother for a while it has been obvious that complex reasoning escapes her and has for some time.
These days it's just easier not to enter in conversations with her where she will get confused, because that causes anxiety.
Most conversations with my mother will involve her telling me the same thing multiple times, and half the time even if you do tell her something its variable whether she will actually remember.
My father rang the office today so my mother could ask me for the boy's parents address so she could send a Christmas card to them. I did remind her that she would see them on Christmas Day so a card wasn't necessary, I wasn't sure whether she remembered or not.
In the course of the couple of minutes conversation where I told her I was at work working, she repeatably asked me what I was doing.
Each time I told her I was at work working away.
A few moments later the same question, but with some variation in theme, then at the end of the conversation she asked me why I was at home.
From what I have read about this type of disease it doesn't progress in a steady fashion, she can be stable for a while and then there will be a big change in her cognitive state of mind.
I am pretty pragmatic I suppose about it all, and so long as she is happy and not upset, anxious or depressed we can take each day as it comes.
Some days are good with her and she sounds on top of the world, whilst others like this morning are a little bit more difficult.
Conversations with my mother are both entertaining and frustrating, the mother I know is still there but day by day I can feel it slipping away.