My experiences while living with my mother and her Alzheimer's Disease.(her birthdate = January 2, 1925)

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Mama kept getting up over and over last night. I had locked the dead bolt which really upset her. I would hear her digging through the kitchen drawers looking for something that would open the door. When I went to check on her, she fussed at me to "do that thing. You can do that thing." Translation: Unlock the door, NOW!" Around 2:00 she won, I unlocked the door. She went outside to find the people in our cars. I think this is the first time she has gone all the way outside in the middle of the night. I got her back inside, relocked the door--when she wasn't looking--and decided I would crawl in bed with her so she would calm down enough to go to sleep. She fought against sleep, but we both finally dozed off. Around 5:00 she started stirring. I asked what she was doing. She said she had to go to there (pointing at her bathroom). I let her up. She went to the bathroom, and then she made a beeline for the front door. I just gave up and went back to my bed. I guess she went back to sleep. I certainly did.

Since I was off for Good Friday, I wasn't certain Mama knew that today was Saturday. I tried telling her, and then I wrote it down. I finally got through to her. She made the cookies for the lady that talks (our preacher) and the man who sits beside us. She takes cookies each week to the preacher and one of two gentlemen in our congregation. The hug her and make a big deal over her so she keeps on cooking. Of course, I am making the cookie dough now as she got a bit heavy on the vanilla. I was afraid we would have to start an AA group for our whole church if I didn't take over. She still slices and cooks them so she can claim that she made them. Whatever.

We went to the Post Office and I stopped by my grandmother's old house to take some pictures. It is falling down so we are going to go ahead and give it a little help. I couldn't stand not to have pictures to help my memory. She sat in the car and was fine. We went in to town for a little bit. I wanted to drive by the cemetery and needed to run by the Teacher Supply Store in town. We came home and ate lunch then took a short nap. Mama never really relaxed enough to go to sleep. She did fall asleep in her Lazy Boy chair in the living room later in the day. At 6:00 P.M. she got up and heated up her plate of food for supper. Penny and I cook things, and she fixes her plate and heats it in the microwave. That way she thinks she cooked it. We finished supper, washed the dishes, and started watching Wheel of Fortune. When they were headed for the Bonus Round, she got up and got her plate out of the refrigerator. I tried to convince her that we had already eaten. She didn't believe me. She heated up her food AGAIN and fussed at me because I didn't eat anything. This is about the third time this week she has eaten twice. I hope this phase passes quickly or we will both be waddling out the door.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Either Mama’s personal thermometer is out of whack, or mine is, because while she is hovering under a wool blanket; I am sweating profusely. She generally sleeps in a fleece robe (sweat, sweat). For the past couple of weeks, Mama has been experimenting with "creative Pajama-wear". One night she had her robe on backwards. I tried to get her to put it on correctly, but she wouldn’t change it. Another night she had it on inside out; then inside out and backward. She puts her robe in a particular spot in the closet. If you move it, she does not recognize it. Someone (not me, of course) had put one of her dresses in the sacred robe spot. She wore the dress, inside out, to bed. No amount of persuasion from me could convince her to change. So I just let it ride.

I have started locking the deadbolt on our outside doors then hiding the key. Mama has a bevy of “tools” she uses to “open” the door. She has tried ballpoint pens, knives (we have put away all the sharp ones), and anything she thinks will work. One morning she had retrieved the keys from my purse and was trying to open the door with my car key. She was REALLY forcing it trying to get it in the keyhole. I was afraid she would break the key. That would NOT have been a good thing!

I started finding windows open over the past few weeks. I finally figured out that since she can’t get the door open, Mama has started opening windows. Our house is approaching the fifty-year mark and some of the windows are as old as the house. She has had trouble getting these windows open more than an inch or two. The windows in her room were replaced last summer. I went in to tell her good-bye one morning and she had one of her bedroom windows wide open. Have started trying to check on the window status as she gets up and roams the house looking for “those people”. Would not be real happy if she decides to escape through the window. It is quite a drop to the ground. Or maybe she would get stuck half in and half out. Goodness what would I do then? Call 911? Can’t you imagine that call?

It is lunchtime so better go. Happy Easter to one and all.