Written and submitted by Fran Watson.
I never imagined I’d be losing my mother
Day by day
Moment by moment
To something called Dementia.
I imagined we would have quiet times
Of playing board games,
But a thief stole in and claimed her vision
And gone were the puzzles
The games of Scrabble
Even crazy 8’s.
Next to go was her memory.
“Why am I here in this place?”
“When can I go home?”
“Where are my things?”
“I think I own this building, I inherited it.”
“Do you know where my room is?”
“I never see you.” Mom I’ve been here every day.
“Why can’t I go with you?”
Because you can’t walk, you are in a wheelchair.
“Yes I can”
Mom you need help to go to the bathroom
To get in and out of bed it takes two people
“Your father was here, he slept with me last night”
Dad has been gone for almost 20 years
But they tell me to just agree with her so as not to upset her
But it upsets me…
Confined to a wheelchair her days drag by
She sleeps or goes out into the sun, “to absorb”
“I’m glad you’re here” she says then dozes
Each day the same, but a little different
The meals she doesn’t remember
The time of day she has no idea
Waiting, wondering why she is still alive
“I told you I wouldn’t hang around, but I’m still here”
It’s okay Mom, we are glad you are still here.
It had been coming for some time. Since last fall she had been in and out of the hospital with various infections and we thought she was gone in March when her blood pressure dropped and she had another infection, but she rallied even without the medication. The problem was she was no longer able to walk on her own. She had needed help for some time and I had been staying at her residence 24/7 for weeks. It was time to make a change to a nursing home. We did the paperwork and then waited. She had to stay in the hospital as she could not go back to her residence. That meant we had to clean out her room – giving away many things that would not fit in her new room – dressers, chairs, tables, and her electric bed. Family took what they could, but we just gave away what was left.
My sister lives 5 hours away, so she tries to come up every other weekend which helps, but the main care giving falls on me. I feel very guilty if I can not get in every day, even though I know that she is safe. There are little things that are not being done, that they don’t have time for because they have too many people to look after. I’m worried what will happen to me when I get to be 98 years old.