Midnight Mumblings

Life right now seems impossibly hopeless. At one point in time I was not concerned with current affairs or about politics in the slightest and now I cannot stop myself from devouring everything I come across. And all it does is make me feel more hopeless than the thing before. I want to believe that sanity will be restored and we will return to the rule of law but I don’t think it ever will. This crazy train is heading straight for hell and it won’t end until we’ve all been annihilated.

I hate to sound so bleak but it’s all I can think about. Everyday more shit happens, worse than the day before, and nothing is done. It’s like everyone that has any power just throws up their hands and go “what am I supposed to do?” Almost like a parent whose child is throwing an epic tantrum in the super market.

This year has truly been the biggest shit show and I’m 100% certain that it isn’t done dropping steaming pile after like onto me and the world.

All I can think about is the speech Samwise recites at the end of Two Towers and the hope he speaks about even when everything seems lost.

I need a Samwise. I want A chubby, gorgeous man, who loves potatoes, and doesn’t like to dance to come to me when I’m at my lowest, and tell me it’ll be alright.

Right now feels like darkest of times. And what’s unfortunate is it can only get worse.

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Familiar Strangers

It almost seems as though my mother has a list of specific “Dementia To-Do” items she must accomplish. At first it was leaving the gas on all night and now we’ve moved onto inviting strangers into her house.

The event happened in a small window of time when my mother’s care taker went home (aka next door) to take care of some business. When she returned my mother informed her she had invited a man in. Panicked, her caretaker texted me immediately and asked me to review the tapes to see if she was telling the truth or if it was a delusion.

I immediately went to the ring app and followed the trail of recordings to see that she was telling her the truth.

When I questioned her about it the following day, she told me that she thought it was my “friend Josh.” I just let it go because I could tell she understood the gravity of what she had done. I also think she would have gotten upset if I had pressed her further, so I let the subject die. Hopefully this is a fluke, but I’m certain it will happen again.

As I review her response a few things pop into my mind. The number one thought is, is she lying to me? For someone who was so honest before her disease took over (so much so that she told me when I was 4 that there was no Santa Clause, cause she hated lying to me), she has become the polar opposite of that. She has no qualms with bending the truth or flat out denying things to me now. She will send them out without any remorse because the ultimate goal (in her mind) is to preserve her presence in her home. Any negative action on her part threatens that. And quite frankly it does.

The reason I think it was a lie is because when I reviewed the recordings she never once made any cues that she thought he was my boyfriend. She just offered to let him sit on her porch and read his book while he waited for his friend, who was at the neighbors house. Then when he followed her up the walk she (without hesitation) invited him inside. Once inside he asks her if she’s ever read the book “Fight Club.” The video ends and five minutes later the next one begins with him leaving and rejoining his buddy out front. She stands intent at the kitchen sink doing something (I know it’s not dishes because she only rinses utensil and plates and puts them back in the drawer.)

The other thought that has been percolating in my mushy gray is, did she really believe that it was him? And if so, did she really believe he was just hanging out in front of her house, hoping she would come outside and invite him in? Did she really believe that this short Latino man looked like my tall German-mixed boyfriend? If she did, does that mean her visual recognition for faces is starting to wane?

My mother has a telephone made specifically for those with dementia. There is a grid of 9 faces that when one of them is pressed it will dial that person. On Sunday, she said she was trying to call my cousin but instead called me. She seemed genuinely flustered on the phone when I answered so I don’t think it was her trying to “con me” into feeling bad for her, but a genuine accident. As I mulled that incident in my mind, I started to wonder if it is in fact the beginnings of my mother losing her ability to recognize faces. However, that is hinged on her believing this stranger was Josh.

Regardless of the correct answer, it is very apparent that my mother is quickly becoming a danger to herself. The only logical step from here is to put her into a group home. She needs constant attention and care, of which I cannot provide. Not to the level that is required.

Birthday Card Blues

My mother’s birthday is this coming Monday.¬† And as it is the first one since my father passed away, I want to do something somewhat special.

I started to roll through all the usual things, a trip to her favorite restaurant, some clothing that is comprised of some gaudy printed top and bright colored, flashy pants, and … as I thought about getting her the usual birthday card, I stopped and began to cry uncontrollably.

Since my mother’s dementia has progressed her ability to read has significantly decreased. I got her a card for mother’s day which she never even opened and instead focused only on telling me how much she didn’t like the 4 out of the 5 tops I picked out for her. (Which is absolutely out of character for my mother. She used to be the kind that would rather die than tell someone she didn’t like a gift.)

My gut reaction was truly puzzling to me. Yeah, it’s sad that she can’t read, but I didn’t understand the overreaction. Most of the time I usually just feel the ache in my chest and move on. As I picked it apart (as I tend to do with most of my thoughts) I realized two different things.

The first realization had to do with my weird obsession with birthday cards. For a few years I would actually buy two. One that reeked of sentimentality and the other that was a giant joke. And with the sentimental card I would write a long paragraph about how much the person meant to me. The last few years, as cash has been tight, I boiled it down to one and stuck with my schmaltzy reflections.

Those days are gone with my mother.

That last piece is what led me to the next conclusion…

I want to be a published author and if I ever get off my lazy ass and finish editing my “completed” novel, maybe one day I can achieve that goal. And if I were to do that, no matter the subject matter, I would want my mother to read my book. Which, even now, would be a miracle if she could. She would pretend she was understanding, maybe even put a bookmark in to complete the ruse, but ultimately she would not. The only thing I could do was read it to her. Which would be sweet but… I broke down crying over the idea of a birthday card. How the fuck am I going to read her my novel?

This birthday I will just skip the card, and instead provide her the one thing she has been severely lacking, companionship.

An Adult Girl

I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that my mother’s mental state is very much that of a little girl.

Last night was one of my newly designated evenings to spend with her, in an attempt to lessen the loneliness she feels since my father’s passing. I go over after work, we have dinner, and we do some sort of activity. Lately we have been coloring but for whatever reason, I wasn’t feeling up to it last night; however it probably would have been a good idea.

Instead of the usual business we ended up watching T.V. There was a Friends marathon on the Paramount channel. (Had no idea that was a thing now.) It was playing some of the “best of episodes” to celebrate it’s 25th anniversary. (By the way, I need you to kill me, because I am officially old as fuck.)

I thought the re-watch of the show would be good for her because this used to be the show she and I would watch together every Thursday night. My mother loves/loved a comedy. Especially when they’re romantic ones. And I thought maybe the familiarity would be comforting for her.

During the re-watch she would giggle where it was appropriate, almost like she was waiting for me or the laugh track to initiate it. During the commercials she would titter at some of the more bizarre things that I couldn’t understand why she found them so comical. At one point she turned to me during the end of a Chase commercial to ask me if I had had that drink. To which I responded, “nope, I haven’t tried that Chase drink.”

I feel like an asshole sometimes with the way I respond to her strange questions. I am being relatively cruel, but I don’t think she’s even picking up on my sarcasm. She’s very much in her own world.

While I was making dinner she excitedly pulled out a thing of mashed potatoes she had made the week prior. She put them in the microwave and set the time for 5 minutes, which I’m sure is entirely too long but… whatever. She didn’t let the clock run out. She kind of kept an eye on it and turned it off when she thought it had been in long enough. However, then she completely forgot all about them until I remembered that they should be thrown away.

When I suggested tossing them she looked visibly distraught, but then waved her hands and agreed. And as I threw them away she rushed into the kitchen, grabbed the pot I had used to boil hot dogs (her favorite way of preparing them), filled it with water, and then dropped 4 unpeeled, unwashed potatoes in and began to boil them. To top all that off she got an over-sized lid and placed it on top.

I asked her what she was doing and she said she was making them for my cousin (who was supposed to arrive the following morning.)

Once I announced that the potatoes were done (I had no idea, I just wanted to go and didn’t want her using the stove before she went to bed because she’s already left the gas on overnight once before) she hurried in there and started to “peel” the scalding, boiled potatoes with a knife held at a 90 degree angle. Her idea was to literally scrape the skin off. I tried to help her and then she got annoyed with me, splashed them back in the pot and announced that she would continue tomorrow morning. She wanted them to be “ready when my cousin arrived.”

My cousin has this habit of travelling late at night and sometimes arrives/leaves in the early morning hours. My mother, so excited for his visit heard noises at 3 A.M. and went outside to investigate them in her nightgown. She was out there for 10 minutes searching for my cousin. When she had decided he was not there or the one who had made the noises she had heard, she went back inside.

This I witnessed all at 7 A.M. when i was reviewing the recordings to see if my cousin had in fact kept his word about coming to visit. (My family is notoriously flaky.)

From this experience I have learned I will no longer inform her of visitors. Because of it she gets excited and will do dangerous things that could be deadly. All I do is replay the possibilities of where every action she took could have gone wrong.

Midnight Terror

These trials of error with my mother living “on her own” are proving my initial response to be the only course of action.

That past few days she’s missed her anti-psychotic pill. Either it gets caught in the crook of her finger and she misses it, or she’s deliberately not taking it. I don’t believe it is the second because she’s very good when given instruction. Regardless, it has brought back some of the hallucinations.

The woman we hired to¬†intermittently care for my mother throughout the day informed me this morning that my mother told her that she awoke to a man standing in the room and a disembodied female voice telling her “he’s not supposed to be here.” This little episode holds true to a video I previously viewed last night.

After Jessica (the caretaker) spoke to me on the phone about the missed medications, I went back through the recordings to see if she had woken up at any odd hours, which indeed did happen. I noticed that she had awoken at a quarter to one, and when I viewed it I saw my mother panicked, rushing from the bathroom whispering “oh, god. Oh, god.” She hurriedly climbed into bed and wrapped the blanket around her. The video ends there. So I don’t know what else had occurred after until the next video showed my mother moving in her room at 3:30 that same morning. Upon reviewing those I just saw her organizing the things in her bedroom, which she tends to do during a manic episode.

There was only one video from last night where she awoke, again, around 3 A.M. In it she is standing at the edge of her bed looking around at what seems to be an unfamiliar place. There is panic etched into her ghostly white face. Again, the video stops recording before I see what she does next. However I can only conclude she got back into bed because the next video recording isn’t until 6 A.M.

All of this could be remedied by getting her into an assisted care facility. I haven’t broached that subject with her (even still) because she is adamant, without hearing the term “facility” or “home,” that she wants to be at her house. And I understand that. She wants familiarity during a time when she’s lost the man she spent 24/7 with while simultaneously navigating losing her identity. I want to give her what she wants but… At what cost? Either I pay an insane amount of money for her to share a room in an unfamiliar place, which would cause terror, or continue on this current path and have her terrified there.

Every day I curse “god” and life for laying this bullshit at my feet. I am caught between what should happen and what my mother wants. I want her to be happy, but in the end nothing seems to make her happy. The one thing I dread doing is moving the husband, the K-9 brood, and myself into the house. That I absolutely refuse to fucking do. I keep telling myself “I want to live in MY house,” but isn’t my mother saying the same thing?

Hurricane Josh

I genuinely feel as if I am going insane. Last night I got into what I have now coined a “thought hurricane.” Everything I could be worried or concerned about started swirling into a category 5 storm in my head. It started out as panic to why my aunt hasn’t answered my two messages about my mom staying with her, to which spun in the possibility of my mother’s care taker trying to take advantage of her financially (although she has not given me any reason to believe so.) All of these thoughts swirled around so much that I was doubting everything that was real.

To add to the chaos (for whatever reason) I decided to shave off all the hair on my face and torso. (I left the hair below the waist, I am a lady after all.) What I can gather from that little episode is trying to take control of things in my life I otherwise do not feel I have any real grasp.

This morning the storm had somewhat subsided, but I got a text from my mother’s caretaker that she had left the gas on last night and when she came for her morning visit, to check on her, it reeked of it. It had been just slightly on all night. I had to take a trip to the house and tell her to not cook, to which she responded by giving me a shitty expression. She refuses to accept her new reality and is fighting against any effort I set forth.

I don’t want to put my mother into care because it’s not what she wants. And I respect that. But at what point do I stop listening to her and just do “what is right?”

This past Friday evening the husband and I took her to the ER. She has been complaining about bad stomach pains any time she eats. When I arrived to take her she was happy as a clam. She even rated her pain as a 1 to the attending nurse. (Shoot me.) The trip was almost a waste of time. It turns out she has a UTI and then I got further confirmation from the doctor and nurse when they said “she lives at home?” Even they were perplexed why she wasn’t in a facility.

All of this is my personal hell. I am left holding all the responsibility. And I am the one who ultimately has to make the choice when I cannot. I take too many voices into account and give equal weight to each. Which in the end just makes the scales even with no real conclusion.

Running Away

I really wish I could run away from my life. I would drop everything and disappear into nothing. I’d clean out what cash I have out of the bank, ditch my cell phone, and drive to a town I’ve never been to, as far away from “home” as possible. I’d change my name and be someone else entirely.

All of this is fun in theory but the moment I start to break it down logistically it’s almost impossible. And in the end I would ultimately miss my life, my family, and my friends. It’s just at moments where I feel so overwhelmed that it would be nice just to get a breath of fresh air away from the baggage and bullshit that consumes my every thought.

I have been described as a very cerebral person and they are not wrong in that assessment. I very much am, to my own detriment. I pick apart of every situation, word, choice and future as much as is humanly possible. Yet in doing so, I drive myself mad. I wish I could stop but nothing I do silences my inner monologue. (Podcasts or comedy albums sometimes help.)

What I find most confusing is there is nothing at this moment that is too overpowering; well at least today. This wanderlust just fell over my shoulders for no apparent reason other than it’s been awhile since I felt like garbage. So instead of leaving my life behind I’m going radio silent for awhile. I just want to be left alone.