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We started the day more intensively than usual. Still the same delusion of an accident that has killed me and her sister, and others she is not sure who else. Her relief at seeing me walk into the room caused her to burst into tears. The first fifteen minutes were taken up in assuring her that I am alive and well, that there was no accident, which she did not believe, and that all those whom she thought had died in the “accident” had died 35 and 25 and 22 years ago respectively.
For the next two hours we were taken up with the accident and those who died. She had refused to have anything to eat or drink for breakfast and the doctor had left instructions that once the cannula already put in becomes obstructed, not to put in another. This left us with no option but to eat and drink the needed amount for sustenance. That is the problem. Lack of food and drink since this morning has left her with a great many illusions. She is forever jumping up with fright at what she thinks are things flitting at her peripheral vision, imagining things are falling on her feet, or little creatures running up and down the length of her blanket. She feels that she is sitting in a rocking chair and wants it stopped, she wants to go and sit in the living room upstairs, thinking that we are at the house, and is totally surprised, every time, when I tell her that we are at the hospital. The morning was spent in trying to convince her that those who died had died of old age nearly a quarter of a century ago, till one o’clock when lunch was brought in and we started another topic for argument. Food and drink.
Now this is the more serious argument. She categorically refuses to eat and drink, that her mouth tastes very bad, that all the food and drink tastes bad and she won’t have any. It reached a point where I had to speak very plainly, I asked if she wanted to live or die. It is her choice. That gave her pause. She said nobody wants to die, and I said that the way she is behaving in refusing to eat or drink is exactly how someone who wants to die behaves. She pouted a bit, acting like a two year old, then asked what she should do. I brought the food, especially prepared so that it is soft enough for her not to need to chew, and tasty enough, and smooth enough to be easily swallowed. She said to give her the bowl and the spoon and that she will feed herself. She cannot see very well, her sight has been deteriorating over the past year as the optic nerve is becoming weaker, but with her weakened state her sight has deteriorated further. I made sure that she held the bowl firmly, then placed the spoon in her hand. By guesswork she filled half the spoon then what surprised me was her total lack of coordination, she could not place the spoon in her mouth, she kept trying several times, poking it at her chin, till she finally got it into her mouth. Exactly like a two year old child, again. It seems with Alzheimer’s that is expected. It is just that every time I see evidence of the advancement of her disease, it still shocks me. I tried to help her she was furious with me, and that again is another symptom of the disease. I left her to it, but she quickly gave up and said she did not want to eat anymore. I suggested something else. Would she like a piece of cheese. She agreed. I gave her a small triangle of cheese that she could hold in her hand and bite into. She ate half of it then asked for some plain bread instead. I gave her a small loaf of very soft bread which she started nibbling on. This was great progress. All the time she was eating she was complaining about the horrible taste, that I am forcing her to gobble her food and I kept telling her that she has the food in her hands and can pace herself as she wants. This went on for another half hour, till she finally finished two thirds of one small loaf of bread, half a small triangle of cheese and took half a glassful of nutritional substance dissolved in water. That constituted lunch. Of course complaining about nausea, the cruelty of people (meaning me) who keep forcing her to eat when she really cannot. This went on for another half hour, then we started again on the original topic of where are her husband and her sister, and when I tell her that they died years ago, she keeps saying that the shock is very great and she needs time to get used to the idea. I can understand that, because she had forgotten, and every time I tell her it is news to her. Sometimes she takes it in stride, at other times she goes into full, wailing mourning. Today was the wailing mourning mode.
Another part of the disease is her inability to tell the time of day, if it is morning or evening, even if the sun is shining, she is still disoriented. She keeps telling me to go. I think she is so afraid that I will, she keeps reassuring herself by hearing me say that it is still early. A horrible state. She is not sure of anything. Whatever she thinks she knows is not what is. It must be a very confusing state.
Now is the time of the prescription glasses. She is wearing them and still cannot see well so she is looking for them in the folds of the blanket covering her knees. Twice now she has asked me to look for them and when I tell her that she is wearing them, she turns sarcastic!
Nothing makes sense. I am barely keeping my head above water trying to deal with her in this state. There is no logic to anything. And always there is something that is making her angry, and that anger is leveled at me as I am the one always available. I am sure I will eventually find the right note to strike, the right attitude and the right way to deal, but till then, this is very stressful. I am totally frustrated, feel am getting no professional advice as to how to deal, and don’t even have confidence in her doctor. The specialist is something else, he knows what he is doing and he is the one who treated her properly, otherwise we would still be physically in the woods. I am waiting for him to pass by as she wants to find out when we would be discharged. This is the fifth time she has asked me in the last fifteen minutes when are we going home. I am ready to jump out of the window. And it is only three in the afternoon, I still have another five hours of this.
Both doctors came in at the same time. They both saw and heard how much she had eaten and drunk since this morning and both tried to convince her that that would not do and that they cannot discharge her when she is still not taking in enough sustenance. She started arguing with them, then turned on me that I was the one trying to keep her in hospital! I told her it was not my decision, that those two were the professionals who had the only say in the matter and that it was up to her if she does what they ask they will release her. She turned stubborn and said that she wants to stay. The doctors have decided to run a couple of tests to assess her progress and give her another day to try to get her to take in some more food and drink. They will reassess after the results of the tests come out.
So back in limbo. At least another two more days in my solitary confinement, shut up in a room with the shadow of my Mom who has left that body to a bad tempered two year old who is constantly angry and lashing out all day, and who is making very little sense. God help me be patient and give me strength to finish my stint in hell without losing my temper and regretting it for the rest of my life, or from suffering a heart attack from all the stress.
11 February 2014