With Alzheimer’s, there are good days and bad days. In a single day, there are good moments and bad moments. In a single phone call, there may be good minutes and bad minutes.
I don’t usually know if my mom is my mom, or if the Alzheimer’s is more present until we start talking, even in person. It can change in a moment with trigger words (that I don’t realize are trigger words until it’s too late, if they trigger anger). There are good trigger words for bringing her back to happiness, such as “ice cream”, “waffles”, or “bacon”. Okay, so I guess it’s food. Foods she enjoyed when she had taste buds trigger joyous memories for her.
I have triggers too. The longer we’re in this, I see why there are numerous books on caregiver care. This disease is traumatic for both of us.
Today I had 3 doctor appointments. Before the 2nd appointment, my mom called wanting to visit home. I have been told by memory care doctors and children of people with Alzheimer’s that they can never go home again … even for 5 minutes or a simple drive by. This is because the moment they get back to the memory care home, it’s as if they have never been there before, and the acclimation process to the memory care home starts fresh. Sometimes, they don’t ever acclimate again.
I don’t have to figure out how to deal with that until covid settles down, and she’s allowed to have fun outings. Until then, covid is the answer as to why there are no visits home. However, today, nothing mattered. She just started screaming and ranting about her need to see what she her home. Not that she’d recognize it. She thinks the home she most recently lived in is her childhood home that she moved out of over 50 years ago. I did my best to calm her and end the call on a good note, even though when she’s angry with me, she likes to stay angry.
At all 3 appointments, they took my blood pressure. At the 1st one, it was 125/70. This is about normal for me.
At the 2nd one, it was 151/94. I asked the nurse to take it again at the end, because I had just spoken with my mom in the parking garage. She stopped me and said, “Say no more, I have one of those too. She raises mine at least 50 points every time.” At the end of the appointment, it was 149/90. Not great, but it was a short appointment and this was going in the right direction.
At the third appointment, it was down to 135/84. Still not my normal, but closer to my normal, and a start in the right direction.
Her anger from this morning still weighs on me this evening. I never know if she will still be angry with me in 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days. Or if she’ll let it go now and then remember in 5 months. There’s no explaining it to her, because the disease alters her ability to reason. This is so frustrating for all involved.
Moral of the Story: We all impact one another, for good or bad or both. That impact may be mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual. According to chaos theory, the simple flutter of a butterfly’s wings can start a tsunami. We impact one another. We mark one another with our words.. May we all want and try to make it a positive impact to better each other and ourselves. I need to work on this.