Alzheimer’s & Dementia

11th Feb 2011

It’s 1.45 and Mother is on the rampage again. She woke me an hour ago and in the space of 15 minutes had me up four times with her messing about. Now I can’t get back to sleep and she is muttering away in that awful deep voice that she conjures up in the night.

This current situation had been going on now for over two weeks. Occasionally she is shattered and will sleep most of the night, but I am so used to her waking me up that I wake up naturally and then have to go and check on her.

I am particularly alert at the moment, as she fell over last evening and hurt her leg, so she is walking worse than ever and I am frightened she may fall again and do herself a serious injury.

Before going to bed I let her soak in a warm bath, thinking it would help ease the sore joint and it was only when she took her clothes off did I realise that she had badly bruised and cut her arm as she put it out to save herself as she fell. I had been dozing on the settee on account of last night’s lack of sleep due to her pacing across the landing incessantly. Just as I was dozing off she would leap up and head for the kitchen. As it is in disarray at the moment, with boxes all over the place on account of have the improvements done (for her benefit). I didn’t want her setting foot in there in case she collided with something.

“What are you looking for?”

“The toilet!”

“There is no toilet in the kitchen, you are going the wrong way. It is upstairs.”

“So I can’t go to the toilet then?”

“It is upstairs, you are going the wrong way.” The conversation continues in the same way until I had to get up and take her to the toilet – and so it continued for about an hour. Finally I was allowed my 40 winks then suddenly I roused to find her off to the kitchen again. “What do you want now?”

“The toilet.”

“I keep telling you, the toilet isn’t through there, it’s upstairs.” Still she takes no notice and heads for the kitchen. Still dozy I leap up to get her, by this time she is a yard into the kitchen as I take her arm. “Now look – where is the toilet in here? There isn’t any and never has been, but soon there will be one in this direction.” I try and lead her out, but she turns violently and pulls away from my grip – only to end up on the floor. No doubt blaming me as she always does, but to any onlooker it would be obvious why she fell.

I have to get her to her feet, which further exacerbates my bad back, caused by Sunday’s performance. I see she is limping more than usual and check out her leg. I can see no visible sign of damage apart from a few scratches, but I guess it will soon become bruised. I then decide on the soothing bath. What a joke that turned out to be. When she got undressed I discovered a great bruise on her arm and a couple of gashes where she must have banged herself as she put out her arm to save herself. I suppose it could have been worse, as last time she broke it!

I tucked her up in bed around 11pm and I retired around ten to midnight, but couldn’t sleep at first as I was wondering it my dishwasher would be delivered between 6am and 8am as promised. I guess I dropped off before 12.15am only to be wakened by mother half an hour later – and that was only the beginning of a night of no further sleep whatsoever. She paced around constantly until in the end I decided to film her, as it was apparent that it was pointless me returning to bed. I ran the batteries down in my camera and while I was trying to get a bit of charge back in them I went on Facebook and also sent a few emails. I made a few audio recordings as even when she was in bed she was talking incessantly in that deep masculine voice. Then the pacing started once again. I got dressed around 4 am.

Though I hold the late diagnosis of her urine infection partly to blame (how can it take 10 days to get a result?), she had been on antibiotics for over a week now, so therefore feel that this is the dementia moving on to a different stage.

My dishwasher arrived at 6.30am – marvellous – so now it is adorning the sitting room, as the kitchen still isn’t finished – or even started!



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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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