My Mother’s Almost Diagnosed Dementia

My mother called today to tell me what happened with her visit to the doctor yesterday, two months after I begged her and tried to bully her into going. He has ordered a brain scan. Score one for me. He thinks she is doing well with her care. Score one for mom and I lost a point on that assessment, as the doctor and I differ there. He also has sent her to a geriatrics daycare three days a week, and those folks will be doing further assessment on her, through observation and oversight. Score big for doc. That last referral makes me much happier.

She also told that me she is filling out her medical POA right now, to be held by her ex-wife. I will be happy to see it. I wish she had picked her Episcopalian priest to manage her care, but someone local is better than no one.

So I hope I am done bullying my mother into compliance. It took me a few years, and I had to become quite aggressive about it. I think it worked. I don’t want to be angry with her anymore over anything.

She still will not move up here, but she has always chosen to be separate from her family, so this is nothing new. I suppose I ought to let go and let her decline from a distance. It kills me not to be there to argue with doctors and insist she live in a clean house, but it is also not what she wants from me. I suppose I shouldn’t worry any longer. I do feel a bit of relief. I would feel a bit more relieved if she would wrap up all her loose ends, but the medical part is the most important.

My Mother’s Dementia

My mother is in the earlier stages of dementia. For a few years I had been asking her to get her Medical POA sorted. She never bothered. She won’t move to live by me, so that I can manage her care. Tonight she called me to yell at me for mistreating her and to tell me to be more respectful. She is right, I know, but I told her she knows why I am angry with her and I am going out of my mind worrying about her. I told her she can have me quiet and compliant or she can let me speak my mind and be honest with my emotions. She backed down again. She probably suspects. I went so far as to tell her that something is wrong with her, and I can tell more on each visit she has here. It now takes her two hours to eat a meal, on some days. I think she does not want to hear it. She has always run away from reality, refusing to hear unpleasant news and the like.

I did my very best to explain to her, through allegory, what is going on with her and me. If she were from the community I spent my adult life in she would get it immediately and be grateful for the grace in which it was delivered. But she is not from there. I have habits she does not understand, habits and manners foreign to her. I don’t know if she can understand that I was talking about her without talking about her. Which is the only polite way to do it, in many places.

She assures me she is going to go to her doctor in a few weeks, though it is not my business, she made sure to say. She suggested that she rewrite the letter that I wrote to her doctor, since it is “unreadable” in her opinion. She had cut her visit here short and I had not access to a printer before she left, and had to do it by hand. I reminded her that doctors can read unreadable writing. She had forgotten that. I am not sure how she was going to copy a letter that she cannot read… apparently she had a plan. I am less sure that she will deliver the letter, which asks the doctor to give her a brain scan and why, without using the term dementia. Because I am not a doctor.

She tells me that her medical POA will be “arriving” in a few weeks. I do not know where it would arrive from, or why it would not be in her possession upon notarization. That I and her other child will both get copies. She says nothing about who is managing her care. In a few weeks I can ask about the document. I assume it will not arrive, or if it does, it will not be a medical POA, but some poor substitute that someone sold her. Like the laptop she cannot use and the new television she does not know how to hook up to the VCR that I sent her at her request.

I am not going to do this to my children. I am going to tell them, when they are teenagers, what to do with me. In writing, and in person.