“Congratulations! You are the proud new overseer of a healthy, old, mentally decaying parent.”
Dementia is everything backwards. But it’s not just backwards. It’s sideways. Inside out. Reverse. Forward. Stop. Go. It blurs dreams, this world, other worlds, decades ago, today.
Dementia is a fucked up cut form of LSD that you’d ask your drug dealer for your money back.
It’s nearly impossible for me, the overseer, to explain to you. And it makes absolutely no sense for the person experiencing it.
As a one time user of hallucinogens, I get it. I know what she’s trying to explain.
“It’s like it all collapses.” My mom brings her hands together in a soft clap like she is praying.
“You have to believe me. My coffee pot and cell phone are not here!”
Oh I believe you. I know what you are saying. You are somewhere else, mother.
Tripping is almost impossible to explain to the uninitiated.
It must be so bizarre to start your hallucinating journey at age 79. My mom was once a highball drinker. But always had a strong negative bias to any other drugs. She always judged marijuana smokers as “stoners” or “pot heads.” Other drugs were so outrageous to her that she wouldn’t even discuss them.
Now her mind is doing it by itself.
The chemicals and connections are going haywire. Past and present and future move over her as she sits still. Her mind is no longer staying on the agreed human perception of time as a steady, forward moving line.
It’s clearly a bad trip. There’s anxiety, anger, fear, sadness. And I, the overseer, the dad that was once the son (and still am the son in a certain space and time) have little luck turning this trip around.
Sometimes I do though.
- 72 of the Cutest Animals – a series I found on Netflix.
- Her cell phone. “Just press and hold 4 to call your friend.” (She often times doesn’t believe me that’s how it’s done.)
- She’s stealing stuff from her hospital bedroom bathroom right now.
- Now she’s tying her hair back with torn apart plastic bags. She says this will be a good show for the neurologist that is supposed to come later today.
She might really be losing it.
I’ve read that the thing about crazy people is that they often times know they are crazy. But they do it anyway.
That’s how it feels right now.
She’s letting her mind go. You can feel the fight leaving. Reality just isn’t worth the struggle.
I can’t say I blame her. End of life reality is not pleasant. The built in anxiety of dementia is overwhelming.
So far, it doesn’t seem to bother me. When the all night fits start, that I’ve read about, that might be a different story.
I see this is part of the life journey. It’s not causing her physical pain. It’s an ebb and flow of mental anxiety that I’m hoping someone has a pill for.
Dementia runs in my family. I’ve seen this all before.
My grandmother would say that over and over and over again.
Try finding that poem in the ’80s without the Internet.
It was just the obscure thing she would repeat hour after hour. Day after day.
And then she would pee herself. Then she’d shit herself.
The first time you see dementia is the worst time.
This is the part I think I can handle.
The trickier part is balancing this with the rest of my life.
My wife. My kid. My business.
These are the things that really worry me. Can they handle the new dementia patient in their lives?
Where does the line get drawn? When can they not take any more?
How do you balance the needs and desires between all these people?
My mom is wrapping up. These other people are my future.
My past pokes and prods my future. I can’t let my past ruin my future. But my past still is my present.
And that’s where my own mind gets fuzzy. What will happen? How will it play out? What direction will all this go? How will I keep this time and space balanced so none of it collapses?
We’ll just see. Hopefully the path will become clear as we move down it.