Life in progress


#JusJoJan 2018, the 12th – Aggravate

Things are going from bad to worse with my mother, and smoking is once again the culprit. For those of you who missed it, I wrote a post in November (click here for that post) about my mother’s tendency to fall and break bones when she went outside for a cigarette at the retirement residence where she lives. Before I discovered that she was falling because she was sitting on the seat of her walker and taking the brakes off before she stood up, the nurses took her smokes away from her, which necessitated that she ask for one so someone would know she was going out. She got a walker without a seat, and she got her cigarettes back. It was all fine and dandy until last week.

They caught her smoking in her room. They took her cigarettes away, and this time they’re not giving them back. She can still smoke any time she wants, she just has to get one on her way out the door. Not a big deal, right? Not if you don’t know my mother.

When she was caught, she apparently didn’t know she was doing anything wrong. The nurse that called me said she walked into my mum’s room and asked politely for her cigarettes. My mother handed them over willingly. Her senile dementia is, of course, the reason it is now a problem.

Now, she:

  1. Has forgotten that she smoked in her room.
  2. Says they’re accusing her of smoking in her room because they can smell smoke on her jacket.
  3. Says they shouldn’t have gone into her room when she wasn’t there and taken her cigarettes.
  4. Says the nurse who said she was smoking in her room is a liar.
  5. Phones me 10 times a day to ask me if I have something to do with the fact that her cigarettes are with the nurses.
  6. Phones me 10 times a day to ask me where her cigarettes are.
  7. Complains to the nurses 20 times a day that she should be able to have her cigarettes back because she doesn’t smoke in her room.
  8. Complains to the management that the nurses are lying and she wants her cigarettes back.

All this finally came to a head two days ago when the management called me, clearly aggravated, to say that when someone with dementia gets to the point that their forgetfulness causes them anxiety, it’s necessary to start considering a nursing home.

Perhaps there’s someone out there who can verify that this is a fact, perhaps they’re just getting tired of answering the same questions 20 times a day. All I know is if my mother goes into a nursing home, there will be no more smoking, and she’s only going to go downhill that much faster.

I don’t know what to do. Explaining things to her–even if she understands, which she usually doesn’t–has no lasting effect. I feel like putting her into a home is tantamount to condemning her.

Aren’t I cheerful today?

The above paragraphs of moroseness are brought to you by Just Jot it January, and in particular, prompted by the word “aggravate,” provided by Fandango! Thank you so much, Fandango! You can find Fandango’s JusJoJan post by clicking right here. Please go and say hi! To participate in the prompt, please visit this post, where you’ll find the rules and you can leave your link in the comments.


And so the true paranoia sets in

I had no idea that it was a ‘thing,’ but apparently, with senile dementia comes paranoia. As my mother ages I’m thinking more and more that I need to research the stages, before she goes through them.

Last night she told be that she had been talking to her sister, six years her senior, on the phone and that her sister is losing her mind. My mother loves to complain about anything, but when it comes to her siblings, nothing has ever been more delightful to her than being superior to them. Being an only child I can only assume that this is a result of early childhood bullying, or simply being told what to do, since my mother is the youngest of five.

Anyway, she was gleefully informing me about how her sister had related the same thing story times in the space of five minutes, and then the subject of my mother’s apartment came up. To backtrack a bit, before my mom moved to town, I lived in her apartment since I hadn’t found a place of my own. Her apartment came available on the market, so I bought it. Then when her old house sold, she bought my house and I moved out of her apartment the day she moved in. Confused yet? Just keep going.

She forgets that she came to visit me when I lived in her apartment. She swears up and down that she never saw the place before the day she moved in. When I tried to remind her last night, she not only denied it, she told me that I was the one who was losing my mind, not her – she’s obviously worried about it even if she won’t admit it.

What really got under my skin, and is worrying me, is that she accused me of saying she saw her apartment before she moved in just to make her think she is going crazy – like I’m doing it maliciously.

I’m getting close to the point where I’m going to have to move her into a place where she can have assisted living. Not a nursing home, necessarily, but a retirement home at least. She wants to move in with me, but I just can’t handle it. My children have to come first, as well as my own health. She is just too much work.

I’m just afraid if I wait too much longer, she’ll think I hate her. This paranoia thing is really scary.


Yet Again

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada today, so I have my mother visiting for an extra day; normally she only spends Saturday night at my house. There are many changes going on with her, in her advancing age, though for an octogenarian she’s not doing too bad. Her memory is going, she has a harder time getting around, and her skin is thin, so she tends to cut herself quite easily. But the change I see in her that bothers me, personally, the most is her increase in being judgmental. It affects the way I feel I must do things, even in my own home.

Take last night for example. After the kids go to bed I must sit in the room with her while she watches TV. If I don’t, I don’t hear the end of it. If I decide to stay up, she stays up. If I go to bed, no matter how early, so does she. So last night I wanted to get some homework done for my course. I couldn’t concentrate on the story I was reading from my textbook with the TV going, so I thought I’d read in bed. With a glass of wine. I know that this is unacceptable behaviour, in her eyes, so I waited until she was brushing her teeth and I snuck upstairs with my glass of wine and my book and pretended I was going to sleep.

I’m almost 50 years old, and I’m still sneaking booze – just like when I was a teenager, except now it’s in my own house. Why don’t I just put my foot down? It’s not worth the aggravation of having to explain to her over and over that just because I have a glass of wine before bed doesn’t mean I’m an alcoholic, nor does staying up for an extra half an hour mean I’m going to be tired all day.

Just one of the many reasons my mother won’t be living with me any time soon.