Dementia and learning to live alone

I have not posted recently because I am not quite sure how I feel.  There has been a lot going on for me which has seemed to put my life on hold.  My Mum who has had vascular dementia for a while is in her final stages of life.  She has been in a wonderful nursing home having not left her bed for a year.  Each time we get a call from the Doctor to say “please come it is only a matter of days”, she rallies round and surprises everyone by recovering!  She has a will of iron and it seems that she wants to hang on to pass away with my Dad.  She doesn’t want to ‘go without him!!  At 93 he is not quite ready to go so it seems she will fight to stay longer.   My Dad visits her every single day for a couple of hours at least and sits with her talking to her and strokes her face and hair.  She hates it when he leaves and when she was still able to talk she would say to him “I could be dead by the morning” to try and keep him there!   My Mum has a great sense of humour and it is still there.  Still it is hard sometimes looking at her and knowing it will possibly be me in time to come.

Interestingly and remarkably her dementia seems to have improved the more her body has degenerated.  She is so aware, and sharp with a memory that amazes everybody.   I got to have a private conversation with her a few weeks ago and made my peace with her, I felt I could understand lots of things she was trying to say, and later she would look at me and ask me to tell my Dad what she meant when she was speaking.  Such is the benefit of me having Alzheimer’s that I felt I could know what she was feeling and trying to say.  Of course none of this would have been possible had it not been for the fact her mental cognition has improved.  Is this a common thing I wonder?  Perhaps you can tell me if you have experienced something similar with your loved ones in their final stages of life.

So, I have been travelling to stay with my Dad when I am called.  Sadly, like a lot of families these days there is little harmony in our family because of my sister who resents any input from myself and my brother, and I find it so stressful being amongst it.  Because I sound so normal, they do not realise that I find it hard to cope with it all.  I simply just want to stay, do cleaning, washing, cook his dinners, help him do things he wants to, visit my Mum, and stay calm.

What of me?

I have been learning to live alone again.  Not hard, but I seem to spend more time faffing about.stop-faffing-and-hurry-up  I now have a bus pass enabling me to catch the short bus ride into the town and do a little bit of exploring.  On good days I will walk along the river, and on days when I am in too much pain, I sit and read and, dare I say it, enjoy my own company.  At some point I will organise my paperwork so that I know where everything is, because I do what most people do and that is – I tidy up!  Meaning to return to the pile of papers and letters that I should be dealing with, I find I have not actually put everything in one place.  Oh yes, you all know the scenario of putting something away for the moment, then not remembering where, well I manage to have several places that it seems are beyond any sense or reason.   It takes time to develop those squirrelly places doesn’t it?

The people in the other flats are very nice….but seem so old!   Okay, the housing is for people over 55 years of age but why do I feel like I am the youngest there!   The elderly gentlemen meet in the mornings in the communal room and joke about being the League of Gentlemen, and I joke back that I thought they were the Hell Fire Club.  I have been invited to join them all for Bingo on Tuesday nights, games Wednesdays, and a quiz on Thursdays.  Is it ungrateful of me to wince inside whilst I am explaining it is not really my kind of interest.   It is strange living alone in a town where you do not know anyone, it feels kind of living in a silent world.

I also have not been well with a stomach complaint – whatever next!  Why can’t my bile duct behave itself, especially ten years after my gall bladder was removed.  It is simply not cricket!!

I still worry about my future.  I hope that the care home I will end up in will be so lovely as the one my Mum is in.  I see my Daughter not being able to cope with the stress of it all, but hopefully by then she will be more robust.

For the moment I am just trying to get by day by day.

Thank you all for your continuous kind words of support I really appreciate it. 🙂

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