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.


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