Hints and misses

In those early years, before my mother was diagnosed, and in the period just after, there were several small things that struck us as odd or surprisingly hurtful.

I did not piece them together into ‘dementia behavior.’ I saw in them patterns that indicated out-of-touch with contemporary life, unfair use of ‘authority’, lack of love, inconsideration, and worse. I responded by withdrawing, hurt and bewildered (what had I done to deserve this), and an occasional protest. I did make some attempts to explain and understand; often these seemed to go well, but within a few hours, my mother was back at accusing me of all sorts of motives and complaining about me to anyone and everyone. Often when I meet caregivers now, I find them going through the same phase of hurt/ bewilderment/ frustration/ helplessness. Many are angry, others are sad, but helplessness about how to cope underlies most situations.

Some problems I faced were minor irritants, some were major issues. In today’s post, I’ll share some of the minor ones, which could have been taken as hints of her condition had I been better informed:
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anger, sorrow, and connecting with mother

I started blogging as a means of honest introspection, and so here’s (sigh), today’s truth: I got angry with my mother. The trigger was trivial, but I felt manipulated, and I took it personally though I need not have, and I got upset. I managed to breathe deeply in time, and no, I didn’t yell at her, but still….

Before my mother got dementia, she was a very intelligent, very energetic, and fiercely independent woman. She was very affectionate, but also capable of a lot of sarcasm and manipulation–in short, a challenge to handle if you fell on the wrong side of her 😉

Today, she wanted something done, and instead of just asking for it, she used a manner of speaking that was just too reminiscent of her old ways.  She uttered a couple of sentences that triggered in me an entire set of defensive pre-conditioned responses. Though part of me remembered about her dementia, the other part insisted that this was not dementia speaking, it was the mother who I had resisted as a kid and even later.
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dementia and repeating: when hundred is equal to one

Someone asks you a question once. You answer it. He asks it again, so, okay, you answer it again. The third time you answer it, you use an exaggeratedly patient, slow way of answering, and the person falls silent. One minute lapses, and you switch your mind back to where it had been before the question came.

And then, he asks it again, with an innocent air as if the question has occurred to him for the first time and it is really the most important question in the world. This time you grit your teeth.

What do you do the hundredth time?
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