Dementia, Alzheimer’s – Mental Illness


My mother’s condition took a different turn last night. First of all she said someone had informed her that her uncle John had died – I wouldn’t know him etc. I said I did know Uncle John and he had died when I was a child, long before her mother and if he had lived till now he would have been at least 130! Then she was in the real world of thanking me for looking after her – and she didn’t want to be any trouble. The lull before the storm; it’s been one hell of a night with her in and out of bed, wrestling with me – she couldn’t get back in because according to her there were maggots and my dad in there! Now I’m not sure if this has to do with a rotting corpse (my dad died nearly 10 years ago) – or Dad’s fishing exploits! She was quite aggressive and in an attempt to stop her flailing arms I took hold of them at the elbows. She wrenched herself away, saying ‘don’t poke me with your elbows!‘ Hello!

I’m really tired and need to go back to bed now that she is actually resting, but I have things to do – like going to collect her prescription and looking at the weather, it may mean another long walk in snow and freezing conditions. Maybe I’ll just keep on walking…

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willosworld

Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

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