Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No, I'm not dead.

I have not really felt like posting for the past week or so. Or more accurately, I guess, I have had a lot of things I have wanted to post about but the urge never struck me at a time when I could sit down at the computer. Now that I am here, I don't really know what I have to say...so prepare yourself for a stream-of-consciousness read.

I noticed a very interesting thing yesterday and today. Last night (Monday) was puppy kindergarten, the training class for Mocha. I can't remember if I've said anything in my blog about that or not...it's every Monday for seven weeks. Brian went with Mom the first night, but I have gone for the last two. This week was not a good one. I had been babysitting all day long so I was already tired when it was time to go to class. Mom is always pretty anxious and tense when riding in the car (she's afraid I'm going to rear-end the car 500 feet in front of us), and having her keep the dog calm on a twenty-minute ride doesn't help matters much. Apparently Mom was tired too. Mocha was excited to be in the car, and Mom got ridiculously frustrated with her. She kept telling her things like, "Mocha, you need to get on the floor, not the seat!" and "Stop jumping up on me!" I very calmly reminded Mom that Mocha doesn't know what those words mean, and to try to use the commands that we were working on with her. She ignored me. By the time we got there, Mom and I were both thoroughly worn out.

Then this morning, we had to take Mocha to the vet to get spayed. Again, the three of us got in the car. Again, Mocha was excited and tried to wander around the car. This time, Mom was calm, soothing, and gentle, petting Mocha and speaking to her softly to get her to settle down (which worked fairly well). These two scenarios illustrated something for me: Mom always talks about how mornings are her best time of day. I guess I was never really able to see the contrast between mornings and evenings before because in the mornings, I am usually either still asleep or getting ready for work. The contrast was so distinct it was remarkable. This morning there was not even a hint of frustration or tension, whereas just the night before I was afraid Mom was going to have a meltdown. This disease is so weird.

Talking about being in the car reminds me of another thing. I mentioned how Mom gets very nervous when she is riding in the car with me. Well, I have realized that I automatically take on the tension that I feel coming from her. I may not even be consciously aware of the fact that I am doing it, but then suddenly I find that my knuckles are white on the steering wheel, I'm clenching my jaw, tightening my muscles, or holding my breath. The same thing happens in other settings too. When we're at church and she's having a rough time, I get high-strung as well. Even if we're just watching TV and she starts fidgeting a lot, bouncing her knee, or shaking her foot, I tense up. I don't know why this is.

A couple days ago, Mom made a comment...I'm not sure I even heard how we got on the subject. Brian, Mom, and I were sitting in the basement and Mom said, "We love Kelsi the most. Kelsi is the only child worthy of our love." Now, keep in mind that I have a brother and three stepsisters. I just kind of laughed a little and made some comment about how I just keep coming back home and they couldn't get rid of me if they tried. Then, Mom went on about how one's a wild child, two don't ever call, and the other doesn't know how to love. "I want to line them up in a row and shoot them," she said. My eyes popped open and I looked at Brian. "I want to pluck their eyeballs out." I quickly urged her to stop. "And then make them eat them," she finished. This is not my mother. Neither is the woman who said just earlier this evening, "I want to rip all of their fingernails out," again referring to her son and stepdaughters.

I ran across something my mom posted on the message board for people with early onset Alz. She said she is so afraid that she's not going to see me get married or have kids. I figured as much, but it still stings to see it come from her in writing. I'm afraid too.

I think Mom is feeling very isolated and alone right now. She has asked for my help in figuring out how to navigate the Alz message boards, but seemed disappointed when I showed her what she could do. She asked if that was all there is...that I seem to be getting so much out of it, but she doesn't get a darn thing. She said almost no one with the disease is actually talking on the board and no one understands her. She doesn't want to go back to the support group in August because it was all caregivers last time. She doesn't fit in with other Alz patients because she is only 45...the issues we run into are drastically different than the issues faced by someone further along in years. I don't know what to do...at the end of the day, after all, I am only her healthy daughter. And I really don't understand what she's going through, as much as I want to try. I can listen, but I can't understand in the way she needs someone to understand.

I should get going, but a little update about me first: even though this post is on somewhat of a down note, I do want to report that I feel better than I have in a while. I still have the same worries and fears and hurts, but I sense that I am better able to navigate through them and my desire to sleep all the time is subsiding. I am also slightly more motivated for things than I have been. So, woohoo for all that! Gonna end positively this time. :) I welcome your comments and thank you for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better about how you're handling things. I think you sound like an awesome daughter. Keep the faith!

flintysooner said...

Hey Kelsi,
I am a morning person myself. I love the early morning hours. But by evening I am pretty much used up for the day. I think dementia exacerbates some of our personality traits.

Dad and I feed off of each other's emotions. If I stay calm then he becomes calmer. If I become angry he becomes angrier.

Glad you're feeling better and glad you posted again, too.

Lori1955 said...

First of all, about the dog. I have a doggie car seat in my car. The dog loves it and stays put.
As for mom, can you get her in touch with Tracy? She needs to be able to talk with someone who understands.
As far as you mothers new torture techniques, I really had to laugh. She just might be onto something.

nancy said...

hi kelsi,
glad to see you posting again. it has to be so much tougher for you than most with a parent with AD because your mom is so young. i agree with flintysooner about our emotions influencing our LO's behavior. knowing that and contolling it are 2 differnet things though. hang in there. we are here for you. take care.

Anonymous said...

My Father was diagnosed at 39 years old. I was 18. I am not 25, it is progressively getting worse, and we have conversations much like the ones you are depicting. I can't say anything real positive, I am not there yet, however, I wanted to let you know that we share glimpses of the same issues.

K said...

Kelsi -- I enjoy reading your blog. I am 52 and was diagnosed at 46. Your comment about the difference between morning and night hits home for me. It is amazing how fatigue makes this disease worse. I "create mornings" by taking a nap every day. When I wake up I feel better and have a few "good hours" during dinner and early evening. I also have to figure in "fatigue" time these days. When I do a lot of things on one day, I know the next day I will feel more tired. So, I have to program that into my schedule if you will.

You're doing a good job. This is a hard disease to deal with. I keep a blog on my ongoing journey. It is www.creatingmemories.blogspot.com. Best of luck to you and continue blogging.