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6/9/09

Cheaper Than Therapy

My mother has dementia.

This is my journey down the meandering, pot holed, bumpy road that is life after strokes, bypass surgery and memory loss.

Here's hoping that at least some of these posts will make you laugh and perhaps even help those who are on the same road.

A disclaimer: this is MY experience, MY recollection of events. Others may remember things differently.
My brother and sister may well remember me being a much bigger bitch than I'm going to recall. So be it.

I guess we should start at what I've come to think of as the beginning, the death of my father on April 30, 1999. She really hasn't been the same since, in spite of her being quite young at the time, having just turned 63 twenty eight days earlier.

May 2000. She has a quintuple bypass, for reasons that still escape me. She had excellent cholesterol levels, in the 120's, in spite of eating a meat and potatoes diet, no exercise, and smoking. She did not have chest pains or any other symptoms of heart disease.
After the bypass, her memory really took a beating, so much so that I asked her on many occasions to check her medication to see if some were interacting with others in a bad way.

Fast forward to May 2007, she has a stroke, called an ambulance and spent several days in the hospital, but didn't tell anyone except her sister, after the fact.
At some point after this she stops taking all of her medications, blood pressure, diabetes - everything. When I saw her in Oct. 2007, she looked bad, skin sallow, thin, old, worn out. I, not knowing any of the above, chalk it up to a bad day. Her "boyfriend" has had back surgery and she had been taking care of him, so she would have been tired.

April 2008. My brother and his family and myself are in FL for the family reunion. Mom looks like death warmed over. My mother is a petite person, just 5' 1", normally a size 8-10, but now has lost even more weight since I saw her 6 months ago and is a wearing a size 4! Her skin is literally hanging off of her.
She can't go 10 minutes without drinking a lot of something, is peeing constantly, and very, very irritable. Her mind is a freakin' sieve. She has to read the recipe for blueberry cake (which she could make in her sleep practically), about 10 times before it makes sense and by the time she gets to the pantry or refrigerator, she's forgotten what she went for and has to go back and read the recipe another 3-4 times. It's disturbing.
When I ask when was the last time she had her meds checked, she tells me she doesn't do that anymore, she "feels normal" when she doesn't take them and hasn't seen the doctor in over a year. Wow. Are. You. Kidding?!

I'm totally pissed off at her, not knowing she's had a stroke. I think she's just arbitrarily decided to stop just because. I want to shake her. And the boyfriend...ugh. More on him later. I tell everyone who will listen to me that she's stopped taking her meds. When I come home, I call her doctor and tell him. I'm furious with him too.

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