Showing posts with label mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mom. Show all posts

Friday, May 17, 2013

thoughts concerning mom and Tony


Yesterday I took mom to the hairdresser.
She said it was nice to see her hairdresser again as she hadn’t seen her for a long time . . . which she hadn’t.
As I drove her back to where she lives, she kept on asking who it was that had fixed her hair.
At Alpine Ridge she was greeted like a celebrity.  Everybody LOVED her hair.
She had to check the mirror again as she couldn’t remember.
“Who fixed my hair?” she asked again.

There was a noise coming from the next room.
The noise reminded me of a single bowling lane. 
Mom said she didn’t think that’s what it was.
Well, I knew that! That’s just what the sound reminded me of.
Mom tells me about the woman in the room next to hers.
Apparently they were the first two to live there.  No, not live.  They worked.  But Helen is getting slower.  She has . . .  well, she has . . .  she’s just slowing down.
“You’re all slowing down,” I thought..
Mom couldn’t remember the word “dementia”

Tony and Rochelle have been visiting.
They have to spread their time between two families.
They don’t always show within the hour that Tony says they will.
Usually not within the first four.
It’s not Tony’s fault.  But it is hard to make plans.
Plans for pictures and photographer.
I had made plans.  But Tony said there was a change.
So I decided that we would try again in February.
Evidently I hurt Tony’s feelings. I didn’t mean to.

They may have been on time at the park
But as they’d been wandering around, we didn’t actually see them until later.
But it wasn’t four hours later. 
But still – I can’t make plans for everybody.
I can only remind them.
I think Sunny was disappointed.  But I can’t count on Tony and Rochelle showing up on time.
And we’ve already had one family picture without Randy. 
Tony allowed himself to feel offended.  He’s trying to blame me for my comment.
And maybe I was out of line – but I also know he is hurting because there is truth in my comment.

We’ll do family pictures on Memorial Day – when Tony and Rochelle are back in Texas
But Corey and Joh will be here.  And so will my uncle.  My mother’s baby brother.  He is coming to see her.  That will be nice.  Tony and Rochelle may never meet him.  Well, not in this earth life anyway.

Corey seems more interested in family history now than he has ever been.
He particularly would like to have more information on my dad’s maternal side. 
I told him to ask our former neighbor.  Funny how George Bird would know more about our family than we do.  But his dad used to hang out with our great uncle.

I may be watching Ester this morning.  Or maybe not.  Tony may not want to leave her if he is upset.  I also volunteered to watch Anna and Garrett tonight.  If I have them all at the same time, perhaps I can get pictures of the four that I couldn’t get together in the park.  They won’t be professional like Bill’s would be.  It’s a little overcast thus far.  I may have to take pics indoors.  If I have them.  I haven’t even taken Jenna to school yet.  It’s a short day.  I forgot to mention that to Tony and Rochelle.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Complete Turn-Around



Over two weeks ago I created this post about my continuing struggle with mom and her childish behavior – which is still there – but now in a more positive light.



It was just four days ago when I posted about taking mom to the eye doctors.  It was the day that I left a sign in her room which she now reads on a daily basis and applies it to her life.  I am so completely happy with the results – as we all are – or at least all who have visited during the four days.



Mom is more than just content.  She is happy.  Her conversations with each of us have included involvement and the pluses for living at Alpine Ridge and how going “home” would not be a wise thing – after the entire house would be empty – if it still exists.



It is easier for Corey to hide his smile behind the phone than it is for me to prevent the silent giggle in person.  She told Corey that she gets three meals a day and “they’re all free.  They don’t charge us a thing.”


 



I remember having “free” things when I was a kid and quite surprised about the billing system and credit cards that took that “free” magic away.  Of course mom will never see the bills or would remember that they do indeed exist.  I suppose she actually could make resident of the month now.  What a complete turn around.  What an incredible change in her behavior.  Gosh – wish we would have all thought to try this sooner.  Wish we would have hung the sign up along with the pictures the day she moved in.

She reads the sign to everybody.  She didn’t make it.  She doesn’t know who did.  But there it is and now it’s a part of her.  She is safe and she is at home.  And she seems to have lost any desire she had to even want to escape.

She told me that she doesn’t even go outside anymore.  But she does.  There are scenic tours scheduled to take place at least twice a week.  At least once a month there is a special outing.  This month they went to the planetarium.

“See, there you are by the moon.” I pointed to a picture.

“Oh, yes.  And I pushed that man in his wheel chair.”

Mom always has assignment for pushing somebody.  Mom is fine physically.  She can walk on her own, shower on her own (though she needs a reminder that she needs to take a shower) and can still answer questions on subjects that were learned before high school.  Sometimes she forgets names but sometimes she remembers. 

I am so grateful to see my mom participate and be happy and can finally allow me leave the facility with an understanding that I’ll be back.  And it’s okay.  She’s where she belongs, and she’s accepted that.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Producing Salty Water (and a LOT of it)


          This post reflects stirred emotions that between October and mid December 20120
          Poor mom.  For the most part we don’t know where she’s at.  The reality of her world is so far different from our own.

          In her mind, she believes that while State Street was under construction, she and all the other residences in her neighborhood were evacuated.  The construction crew had asked them to move somewhere else.  Mom doesn’t remember where it is that she moved – but she is back – along with many of her neighbors.  For a while she wanted to make certain that everybody knows she’s back.  Now she wants to go back to wherever she thinks she lived before.  She doesn’t know the address though – but she says it’s a house.

          She called Bill.  She always calls Bill’s cell phone when she’s trying to get a hold of Kayla.  She left a message to make Kayla aware that she was back in her old house.  Kayla called me to inform me of the events that had taken place.  I told her that Nate had posted his comment on file that all of mom’s children (and some spouses) all have access to.

I don’t know if she called Corey, or if Corey called her.  Same story.  Corey asked for her address.  Mom didn’t know.  She had to ask Sunny (who happened to be watching her) She returned to the phone and gave Corey the name of the city which she has lived for the last fifty years.

          Corey said that is the same address that all of us have and she didn’t need to call anyone else.  Mom was highly confused as to how everyone was aware of where she was but herself.  Sunny was super freaked out and had stayed longer than she usually does.

          Roland and I were on our way to pick up mom and take her to a dinner at the Church she attends.  I called to say we were on our way.  I guess I should have talked to Sunny instead of mom.  There was an accident on the Freeway.  It took us 20 minutes longer than normal.

          Sunny was wide eyed and felt a sense of relief when I walked through the door.  Mom was all ready to go.  I told her to head out to the car and I would be there momentarily.  Sunny expressed her concerns.  And I said I was a little hurt that mom hadn’t called me to tell me she was back.  That made Sunny laugh.  I’m glad I could give her that.

          Mom was fine at the party.  She wasn’t restless as she had been less than a month ago when it was just the family and she was overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of people.  I was overwhelmed by the huge turnout.  Between 240 -260 people.  We stayed for the whole event.  I hadn’t expected that.
          Patrick spent the night with mom as Nate and Ellen had gone out of town.  Not too long ago mom was independent and didn’t want to be babied.  She is, after all, a big girl and she can do things by herself.  Now she dreads the idea of being alone.  She often seems surprised by letters or people who show up at her door.  They think we all know where she used to live.  But it’s all in her mind.  She’s been in the same house for over 50 years.

          I met my husband 12 years ago.  Corey graduated from high school almost 20.  But for some reason she has the two crossing paths before Corey graduated.  For the most part I’ve been a pal that was raised in San Francisco alongside her – but there was one occasion that she did introduce me as her daughter – it was to a friend that was well aware of who I am – possibly better than mom does.

          Each time we mention the name of a state or country – she claims that she has been there.  It was always “just for a day” though.

          I didn’t want this to become a “dementia blog” any more than Corey wanted his to focus on dementia.  Actually dementia isn’t the biggest focus thus far as there are less than ten posts.  I can’t say I hope to have more – but as it will be on my mind I’m sure there will be more that mention the wretched thief.  There have been days when the dementia is really bad - moreso for me than my mom.  Sometimes I can take it with a grain of salt – and even laugh.  But often I am an emotional wreck.

          The neighbor across the street has a gathering of sisters once a week.  She suggested I bring mom but just drop her off and not stay myself.  But I wanted to visit.  I miss the socialization of those that I used to associate with.  Mom, who claimed she was bored, was not interested in going.  And if I persisted, she would become mean.

          So I cried.  I cried because I wasn’t invited.  I cried because mom was acting like a childish brat.  I cried because I was crying over something I couldn’t control.  I was pretty good about holding it in until we started playing games.  I took off the minute Nate returned home from school.

          That all took place in November and December.  Since Christmas, mom seems almost comatose at times.  Just as disheartening as trying to coax the child inside.  She lost her driver’s license over a year ago and became mean – well with me anyway.  I’m the one who had taken her to the Driver’s License renewal.
          There had been a few days when she had become her mother and greeted folks in a friendly way, without a care in the world.  And she was always pleasant when she went out with Sunny – at least in the beginning.  But Sunny has seen the mean side of my mom since. 

          Next week we have another family meeting.  Kayla and I are ready to take action.  Corey and Patrick both seemed to express a denial. But we may all be on the same page now.  Mom needs a community.  She needs a routine.  And the rest of us need to return to our roles of children and not the caregivers that we’ve become.

          I was so diligent about going through Jenna’s folder once she returned home from school – but have been quite slack for an entire year now.  I need my focus to be where it was.  I need to keep my mind clear of heavy tears.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lucy and Ethel and Dementia



          Mom and I used to refer to ourselves as Ethel and Lucy, which I have mentioned here 
           Yesterday we were laughing together.  It felt almost like it had a very long time ago.



          Of course I don’t remember all of the conversation – just pieces.  But it went something like this

          During the Password game show:

          Mom:  “Humphrey.  What kind of name is Humphrey?  Who would name their kid Humphrey?”

          I laugh.

          “Humphrey.  That sounds like a hump.”

          “I never liked the name Dylan.  Whenever I hear that name, I think of dill pickles”

          Later we were working on a crossword puzzle.  Let’s get real.  Sometimes the puzzle creators reach for definitions. Or else it’s taken for granted that the puzzle solver just automatically knows the name of every geographical location (including fictional ones) and the histories behind them.  Give me a break.

          So we’re laughing at some of our rationalization and realizing just because the word fits doesn’t mean it goes.

          “Viola relative.  Do they mean a flower?  Or are we supposed to know the actual person?”

          “Or it could mean an instrument.”

          As it turned out, mom was spot on.  The answer was cello. 

          We had asked all of the “across” questions, but not all the downs.  She decided it was taking us too long and looked the answers up in the back – writing down some and still asking, “What the heck is that?”  or “Oh, yea. Right.” Followed by the rolling of eyes.
          And then the phone rang.  It was her friend, Erin.  For mom, the phone call came totally out of the blue.  I wasn’t as surprised as I had just mailed a card to her daughter’s address (which you can read about here

          Mom related what we were doing and Erin asked to speak to me.  Mom handed me the phone saying, “It’s my friend, Erin.  She wants to talk to you.”



          Of course Erin and I couldn’t have the conversation that’s been missing all of these years.  She thanked me for finding her. She said she had no idea.  Well, of course she had no idea.  That’s understandable.  We only learned about it less than a year ago.  And mom’s mind seems to have gone downhill rapidly since she was first diagnosed with dementia.

          Erin gave me two phone numbers, her mailing address and email address to pass on to Fran (which I did once I got home) and I sent Erin a more detailed message than the one I had sent her at Christmas time. 



          I visit mom again today.  I hope it’s as pleasant as yesterday’s visit.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Yesterday's Turkey Dinner


          I started this blog on New Years of this year.  I was faithful to write every single day – or almost every day.  But when school ended, so did my once-a-day posts.  My focus had to be on Jenna.  And when school started back up, mom’s memory had deteriorated and so I seemingly started spending more time with her (especially when Corey had gone back to Las Vegas – where he is now registered as a permanent resident in the state of Nevada) and so I still haven’t gotten back to one a day. Perhaps I never will.

          Kayla and her two children met Jenna and me at my mom’s on the Thursday of Thanksgiving.  I had gone because it was my day and we had already celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with the family on the Saturday prior.  Kayla brought her kids because Bill wanted to clean the carpets.

          They had left the house about 1:00 to return home to make dishes for their Thanksgiving dinner with one of Bill’s sisters (the one who lives in Utah) and baby brother. 
          Roland was planning on doing dinner at 3:00 – but time got away from him, I guess.  I boiled potatoes and mashed them.  They were ready at two.  I don’t think I started the gravy until 3:00. 

          At 3:30 Jenna and “Grandma” and I got into the car and drove to my house for dinner.
          Mom seemed to enjoy Thursdays dinner more than the dinner we had on Saturday.  For one thing she was a lot more alert.  For another thing, dinner on Thursday was quite small.  Only five of us.  We had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits and rolls, and green beans.  Ice cream for dessert. 
          After we had finished eating, Roland wanted to play spades.  I don’t know if my mom has even played spades before.  And explaining games to her is a chore as it is.  But we went with it.  Explaining the rules every time we dealt. 
          Randy and Carrie had dropped by.  I was surprised to see them.  They had come to see mom.  And Roland decided it would be fun to play spades in teams.  Randy said he wanted to play by himself – and so Roland decided that he would give him grandma’s handicap and would appear that he was playing by himself.
  
          She had bid three tricks at one time when Randy had nothing in his hand.  She probably could have taken them if she had thrown out her lowest spade rather than her highest. 
          When we were down to two cards Kevin leaned across the table and said, “Grandma, I thought you said you had three” (referring to the tricks)

          “I did.  And now I only have two” (referring to the cards left in her hand) everybody at the table (except for Randy and my mom) started laughing. And then mom smiled as the rest of us were laughing.  And Randy stared ahead in unbelief.

          After a few more rounds, Biff volunteered to take grandma home (as I don’t drive at night – otherwise I would have gone)

          It was actually not a good night for Randy (card wise) and actually a better night for me than usual.  When Randy announced that he and Carrie had to go, Biff and I were certain that the only reason why he left was because he was losing.  We both figured if he hadn’t gone so far down into the hole, he would have continued playing.

          Today I will take Jenna with me to Bill and Kayla’s where we will hang for most of the day.  Roland has some work ahead of him that will be accomplished easier if Jenna’s not around.  Plus I would really like to play games with them. 

          Jenna has a possible hair appointment.  I will call at 1:30 to verify.  If not, we will just stay longer with Bill and Kayla.  And if Roland finishes with what he needs to accomplish, maybe Bill and Kayla will come here for some more games afterwards (if I remember to take Roland’s turkey to their house for lunch, that alone could bring Bill back for more)

          I’m grateful that mom had a good day yesterday.  I’m happy to hear that Corey had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I missed him.  But I’m happy for the opportunities that he has right now to get on with his life in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Another Visit with Mom


She had just finished eating when I arrive.
I don’t bother to ask if she has checked her blood.
We go for a walk.
I point to a house where a family had lived
Many years ago.
I asked if she remembers.
She says that she does.  That’s good.
She didn’t have a clue on Saturday.
I take her to my house to eat lunch.
I put her at the computer while I prepare the food.
She enjoys viewing the pictures that Kayla had taken
And had posted to facebook.
I make some suggestions on how to complete the day
I ask if there is anywhere in particular where she would like to go.
She says she wants to go home. Just home.
Her mother was a homebody, too.
I take her back home with a reminder that I will have to leave again.
I have to go pick Jenna up from school.  I’d like her to go with me.
She doesn’t want to go.
Just as I’m about to leave, I decide I will call Nate and ask if he could pick up Jenna.
Nate married my niece.  They live in mom’s basement.
Mom is overwhelmed at the idea of my knowing Nate
And having his phone number is such a foreign concept to her.
Why would I have Nate’s phone number?
I cannot get a hold of him.  According to her, it’s just as well
How would he even recognize Jenna?
I look at her as though she has sprouted horns
I end up driving to Jenna’s school while mom takes a nap
Or so she claims.
Nate opens the door when Jenna and I return
Mom seems a little more with it than she had been after lunch.
She seemed fine before lunch.
Nate says he has to run an errand
Jenna hands me a sheet of paper and orders me to write a story
“What story?”
I’m so not in the mood for making up something
“I will tell you”
As she starts in with her own story of an alien visiting a factory she sees that I am
using a pen and writing in cursive
“Use a pencil, mom.  And don’t write in cursive!”
“You write it with a pencil.”
“Okay, fine.”
She gets another piece of paper and says she will write her story but now I have to write my own.
Grandma dismisses herself so she can “look outside for a minute”
I stop writing. One of us has to watch her.
Jenna and I take turns watching mom standing in the driveway observing the sky
And then she walks into the back yard expecting the weather will change.
It doesn’t.  She comes inside and announces that she would like to take a walk
but that it’s just too windy.
Personality number three.
Instantly she becomes another person as she retrieves her puzzle book and hunts for words.
Jenna and I continue writing.
Mine is a Christmas story.  Unpolished.
I will post it next month.  Most likely it will still be unpolished.
Nate returns. Jenna and I leave mom’s house to return home. 
Still worried about my mom.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

And the Hunting Begins


          Mom is at the point – and actually has been for some time – where she needs 24/7 care.  Oh, there are some days where she actually seems like her old self – someone we could leave alone and believe she’ll be fine for the two hours that she will be by herself.  It’s always another “personalitythat gets her lost.

          So we have taken upon ourselves the dreaded task of looking into assisted living – either or in or out of the house.  Corey would prefer in.  I think it may be time for mom to move on so that we can sell the house as that is what will be paying a good part of the expense. 

I had looked into one before – when Corey didn’t believe she was ready.  But I think he’s slowly realizing that he can’t undo the situation at hand and must face the possibility that we will have to move mom.

Corey and I went to a fabulous retirement home called “Sunrise” - that is where I would like Randy to put me should the need ever arise.  Actually, I expect that I will go before Roland.  But that’s beside the point.  Right now we are looking for  mom.  And we found a strong appreciation for what Sunrise has to offer. 



On mom’s budget we could keep her there for possibly over a year, but definitely not more than two.  We have to find something lower in price – unfortunately.  Because you really do get what you pay for in the way of Sunrise – so we’ll probably not get what we’re not paying for by putting her elsewhere.

Corey has scheduled to see some more places today and tomorrow.  And I’ve been invited to attend.  However today is my visit with mom and tomorrow I’ve scheduled an MRI and I’m not rescheduling.  It may be nothing – but I’ve already gambled on it for almost four weeks now.  But that will be another post.

Oh, the joys of growing old.  Most Life Insurances cannot be collected until one is deceased.  So really, why is it called “Life” insurance? There have been many who have put money into investments to assist with retirement age.  And many of those investments have been a gamble that has not paid well.  Many investments will not fork out more than two months worth of assisted living at Sunrise – maybe six at one that is less costly.

I feel so sorry for those who have no income or have lost their retirement due to the economy or those who have children who squander their savings only to have it gone when it is truly needed.

May we be able to find an assisted living that meets our expectations and may mom be able to adjust to it without too much emotion.  She doesn’t get what my brothers have already tried to explain to her.  I’m grateful that I didn’t have to try and explain it to her – I’m already an emotional boob as it is.

We can’t have mom wandering off.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Don’t Yell at Aunt Gertrude


         Somebody had suggested that someone take a mom for a drive to look at the fall.  Knowing my own vehicle wasn’t going to make it up the canyon (it actually was too sluggish to get near the base) I chose an alternate, perhaps a more scenic route and asked if she would like to visit my 91 year old great-aunt. 
          Aunt Trudy has ALWAYS been active.  Over the years she has become hard of hearing, but she is still sharp as ever with brand new driver’s license in hand.  She was so excited to see my mom and me (as it has been a while) and we visited just briefly.

          “Well, it was so good to see you,” my mom kept on saying – as though we’d be leaving fairly soon.  What was her problem?

          Aunt Trudy would ask a question which mom would answer – but in her quiet voice and then I would loudly repeat it for Aunt Trudy.  Mom excused herself again.  “Well, I need to get back home.”

          “What do you need to get home for?” I asked.

          “I just need to go home!” she yelled.

          “I guess our visit is over,” I said to Aunt Trudy, while trying my hardest to use an apologetic tone and expression.

          It hadn’t dawned on me until almost three hours later that my voice raising or yelling was the cause of what was bothering mom.  Corey confirmed that when he said she didn’t like loud noises.  That would explain the tension between her and Jenna – though all of us have complained that Jenna’s volume really can get too loud.  Our level of tolerance seems to be more civil than my mom’s. She gets frailer with each passing day.

          Daddy was frail before he left this earth.  But he still had his mind.  Mom’s physical condition is okay, but her mind is not.  That’s a lot harder, I think.  On us anyway.  I think it’s hard on her – but not the same way that physical pain is. Soon she’ll forget that there was any emotional pain.  She’ll resort back to a place where we just won’t be able to find her.  Often she already thinks that I grew up with her in San Francisco and is always surprised when she asks me and I tell her that I have never lived in San Francisco, only visited.
          I need to visit Aunt Trudy again – but without mom or with mom on one side of the room and me on the other.  I think I ought to invite Kayla and her two to come with me.  I don’t know that Aunt Trudy has ever seen Garrett.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday, Mundane Thursday



          Jenna and I were blessed with good weather on Wednesday as we took public transportation ALL DAY. 



          My initial plan was to catch the train near where we live – but Roland took us to the location near the library – which right now is the end of the line – and we were waiting for the train on the wrong side.  No big deal.  There was no time destination on our part.  We were free to ride all day.

          We got off the train to transfer to the bus.  My initial plan was  to get off after the bus passed I-215 – but the driver said that the construction forbid the busses to stop between the two main streets.  So Jenna and I ended up walking a lot further than I had anticipated . . . we might as well have just stayed on the train.

          But it was nice outside.  Jacket weather.  Jacket weather in June – when just three days before it seemed unbearably hot.  My family and I were sweating in the shade while posing for photographs here which was nothing compared to Corey’s marching here in the blazing sun.

We also walked back across State Street when mom decided that she
 wanted to go out for lunch.  She let Jenna pick the restaurant – I would have gone with the one that was on the same side of the street as my mom’s house.  But alas, we walked some more.

          My brother Corey (who lives with mom when he has work in this state) told me that her blood sugar is the lowest it’s been since his return.  So that is good – though Jenna did ask for some candy which caused mom to get four candy bars (one for each of us) so I’m wondering if my and Jenna’s visit may have kicked it up again.  
Corey had warned my mom that he wouldn’t be home at his usual time and might be as late as 7:00.  My niece and her husband (who also live with mom) would be leaving after 5:00 and so there would be two hours unaccounted for – two hours of being alone – which two months ago mom had said it is something she preferred.  And now she is just hungry for company. 

Unfortunately Jenna and I had to leave as Jenna has a class on Wednesday nights.  And so I was a bit reluctant leaving her for two hours hoping that she would just stay home and wait for Corey and not attempt venturing out on her own



          Jenna enjoyed taking the train – especially when it turned – she stood on the center circle in order to get the full feel.  It’s her favorite part.  She says it’s boring when we go straight.  I guess we could have gone downtown and returned – but I wanted to rest up at the house for an hour before taking her to class.

          Yesterday we drove to work with Roland.  I took the car and planned to meet him at lunch.  I called mom beforehand.  And she was expecting me, so that was good.  So before we left the house, I had given Jenna a peanut butter sandwich to eat and figured I would just eat left overs with my mom.

After I picked up Roland, he drove us to my mom’s where we stayed for over five hours.  The first thing she wanted to do was to go out for lunch.  I was actually surprised that all of the leftovers were gone.  No big deal.  We decided to go to a drive through on the same side of the street as mom’s house.  She was good.  She was alert.  My sparring partner was back!
           
We played lots of games (most through Jenna’s initiation) and mom seemed alert through most of it.  We had fun.  But it really did make for a long day.  Fortunately mom was comfortable with us being there and didn’t seem anxious to see us go. 

Corey returned before Roland arrived.  Corey added graphics to my blog as I don’t know how to do it myself.  He was going to show me – but as his spouse had called just as we were signing on, Corey ended up toying with inserting my graphic  before posting it.  And so I still don’t know how to do it.  No matter.  I’m satisfied.  (For the time being anyway)
 
          Jenna has been great about the chart.  Got up early today and we were finished by 8:30.  Except with the fun part – which she somehow believes needs to be incorporated into all the hours left.  She has also made snacks a very important part.  My child’s growing.  I fear that in eight months that the clothes she is wearing currently will all be outgrown.

          I did scold her for asking mom for candy bars and cookies as grandma will not give them to her without at least getting one for her.  We all know where the cookies are kept.  I have no idea where (or how large) her stash of candy bars is – and why they’re all king size?

          Might be able to post on Sundays, but Saturdays feel like they’ll be a thing of the past – for a while anyway.  Unless it’s really early in the morning.  Roland’s class takes precedence.  Oh, well.  I really need to focus more on the house anyway. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde or Sybil

For those readers who may not recognize any of the names in the title, let me introduce you to a very brief history. 

The character of Dr. Jekyll was created before 1931.  He was a lab scientist who used himself as a guinea pig to test a potion which he had created.  I don’t recall what it is the potion was supposed to do, but as a result of his taking the potion, Dr. Jekyll would take on another – much darker – personality that was not the same as the one most people were familiar with.

His alter ego became known as Mr. Hyde.  So even though Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were theoretically the same person – sharing the same physical identity (or body I guess) the personalities were very different.  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is science fiction.

Shirley Ardel Mason (1923 – 1998) was an actual person.  She’d been both physically and mentally abused by her mother.  Shirley had gone to psychiatrist Dr. Cornelia Wilbur in the 1950’s as there were some large pieces of her life that she seemed to miss out on due to black outs. 

It took eleven years for Dr. Wilbur to meet all of the personalities that would take over during Shirley’s blackouts.  It is said that there were sixteen of them.  They all had different names and different characteristics.  Many of the personalities knew of the others, but Shirley was not aware of any until Dr. Wilbur pointed it out to her.

In 1973 Flora Rheta Schreiber wrote a book based upon Shirley’s pshycological studies.  The book introduced the character Sybil Dorsett whose background and therapeutic studies was the same as Shirley’s.  The name had been changed to protect Shirley’s identity.  And in 1976 Sally Field portrayed her in the movie “Sybil”.

There are some who don’t believe in Multiple Personality Disorder (now known as Disassociative Identity Disorder) while others do.  I choose to believe.  I think there are different degrees in which personalities are displayed.  And there are variations of what may trigger these unusual out-of-character traits.

We all have moods and often seem to take on personalities unlike our normal selves due to drugs, alcohol, medicated side effects or lack of medication, aging, changes in our eating habits, health, witnessing or victims of some horrific action.  The list goes on and on.  In many cases the self personality may be controlled or sometimes it may seem quite doubtful that a person may ever return to normal again. 

I remember my mom as a woman who never wanted to take medication – even something as simple as asprin.  She was not one who would ever become drug dependant.  Or so was her wish.  She now has at least seven different prescribed medications that she takes for her diabetis, cholesterol, dementia and some other things.  And when she skips her medication or doesn’t watch what she eats, another personality seems to takes over.

I suppose my mood swings are very different during that time of the month, when my hormones are out of wack, when I go from being Dr. Jekyll to becoming Mrs. Hyde.  A lot of women go through that.  It isn’t refered to as a personality disorder though – and yet there seems to be at least two distinct personalities throughout the month.

I had a sinus infection during the month of December.  I also took meds with a nasty side effect that left me wanting to deal with the sinus infection instead.  I was loopy for much of the month.  I might as well have been in a coma.  Actually, that would have been preferable.

I have seen at least two distinctive personalities with my mom. There appears to be happy drunkard take over when she is not coherent.  And yet she sincerely believes in every detail she relates – like the time she drove downtown to see the forrest – there is no forest downtown – nor is there a dungeon.  But she truly believes in it – or did.  She may have forgotten it now.  I haven’t.

When I visit my mom I am usually with a woman who is a bit disoriented, who often is on a mission to spend her money, and doesn’t believe she has any problems whatsoever.  If she does have a problem, it is because someone else is “against her”. Sometimes she will acknowledge that she takes meds and is aging. But more often than not, I see a much different personality than does my sister-in-law.

When she is with my sister-in-law, my mom seems more put together.  They talk about mom’s desires for becoming independent.  My mom will share memories with my sister-in-law.  There are no memories when I am with her.  She doesn’t remember – or else she’ll be misinformed. Therefore we have painted two entirely different pictures of my mom’s condition. 

But then I suppose the same could be said about me – depending on who you are and how often we visit.  I have mood swings.  I have triggers.  I don’t have blackouts that have made me wonder when a transition may have occurred.  Mood swings are different from multiple personalities.  It’s just often it seems that these moods bring on a personality that is entirely their own.

Today I had the opportunity of taking my 1 ½ year old neice to visit my mom.  My mom loves my niece.  She got on the floor and played with her.  They teased each other.  I saw my mom from a much different perspective than I have seen her for some time actually.  Probably not since my brother’s kids were little.