Mom lived in a beautiful assisted living facility called The Blake for just a few months before being told she could no longer live there safely. Once the diagnosis was confirmed we had a lot of decisions to make. After being told mom qualified for hospice we decided to bring her home on a trial basis.
My family and I are surprised how quickly the disease has taken over. Sometimes she does not know who I am or her other grown children. She can’t remember the names of her 11 grandchildren except for mine. Although she has been calling Aaron by a different name the past week. She does ask about Matthew and his girlfriend Mia by name.
Hospice has been wonderful. They have explained the different phases my mom is going through and why one moment she will know my name and a few moments later ask me where DuAnne is. These past few days she is convinced Todd is her husband. A few times Todd and I have laughed (not at her) but at some of the situations. Last night she asked for a hamburger from Burger King so I went to get it. At the drive through I paid and then drove off without taking the bag. Probably didn’t help that I was on the phone while going through the drive through. Lack of sleep and the stress of being a caregiver is exhausting. The prior evening I was up ALL NIGHT with her because she kept wanting to get up and cook Thanksgiving Dinner for all of her children. Hospice said she is in the Holiday Phase. All day she has told everyone Happy Thanksgiving even though we told her is was still October. When she told me she was so excited about Thanksgiving today I almost went along with it and cooked a turkey.
Every few minutes she calls me to come to her bedroom for something. When I told mom I was just there she looks confused and tells me she doesn’t remember it. The last time I went she grabbed my hand and said “I have a great idea. Let’s have Christmas at my house this year with all of the kids and grandchildren. She told me she wanted to do the cooking but we could bring a dish if we wanted but it was not necessary. She also wanted to have a “fudge party” and invite everyone over to have coffee and fudge. I didn’t tell her I have never liked fudge. My reply: “Mom, that’s a great idea. You always make the best fudge.” She looked so happy.
Tonight she told me she wished all of us would start going to church and not just on holidays. I didn’t tell her that my husband is a pastor and we go every week. If I just listen and go along with what she is saying she is less agitated.
Mom is just about bedridden now. Hospice comes 5 days a week to give her a shower and other things. She has lost her appetite and does not want to eat or drink. She is losing her ability to feed herself. She does not remember to use the bathroom.
As mom has progressed I realize that I cannot take care of her 24 hours a day with my family to care for and working a job. Even if I did not have a family or work I still could not provide the care she needs. And this breaks my heart.