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January 3, 2010 — The Impatient Patient

Posted: January 17th, 2019, 2:14 pm
by Doreen Peri
An excerpt from my journal: January 3, 2010 — The Impatient Patient
Twenty Ten. A new decade begins. Amazed how fast time goes by.

As soon as another bed is ready on another floor, they'll move her there for one more day. After that, hopefully tomorrow, she'll be transported to the Rehab Unit on the 5th floor, a few miles away.

I'm sitting on a chair beside her bed. She's covered with a thermal blanket and a pink fuzzy robe.

She was born in 1915. If she lives until November, she'll be 95.

Nothing is certain except for all the certain things. Certainly, she has lived a long life. It's certainly cold in here, although it's frigid outside; 25 degrees with 30mph winds. In comparison it's warm in here. Nothing a thermal blanket and a fuzzy pink robe can't handle.

She's staring at the door waiting for the word that her bed is ready. She calls the nurse's station on her help button even though I'm sitting right next to her. She calls to ask them when the bed will be ready. They reply and tell her the same thing I told her when she asked the past 15 times. They are working on it. They will let her know when her bed is ready.

What she lacks in acceptance, she makes up for with impatience.

She presses the button again even after her last answer was given. The nurse comes in. Same answer, of course. The bed will be ready when it's ready.

I took the 'Call Button' away from her. She's agitated. "I don't have anything to push! I don't have anything to push!" I tell her, that's right. I will call them if we need them.

"It's 4 o'clock! Where are they with my 4 o'clock medicine?"
I tell her to be patient.

Re: January 3, 2010 — The Impatient Patient

Posted: January 18th, 2019, 11:27 am
by sasha
Your grandmother? You're at least 10-15 yrs younger than me, and the Impatient Patient is that much older than my own mother (who's now 92).

Mom's dementia is not only eroding away her ability to converse, it's creating paranoid delusions as well. Her oldest grandson is stealing cash from all the little hoards secreted throughout her apartment. Her daughter is complicit, and taking knick-knacks off her shelves. Staffers sneak in at night to drink her ginger ale. A squirrel has gotten into her rooms and is making scratch marks on the pile of her easy chair, licking the plating off the doorknobs, and somehow gnaws the woodwork without damaging the finish. The residents above her are somehow interfering with her tv. (She's on the top floor.) It's a struggle not to get impatient with her, and terrifying to contemplate that this might be my legacy, too.

Striking little vignette, Doreen. I assume she's found her peace by now.

Re: January 3, 2010 — The Impatient Patient

Posted: January 18th, 2019, 12:56 pm
by Doreen Peri
My mother. She passed in 2014. She was 98. She gave birth to me in 1953 when she was 38. I am now 65.

Thanks for posting about your mother’s paranoia due to the dementia. My mom had that, too. It was funny to read, but not at all funny at the same time. It’s hard going through it, I know. Hang in there!

I took a lot of notes while visiting my mom. That’s all this is is notes. I never got around to actually using the notes to write anything. I was dusting my book shelves the other day and ran across a journal with this entry in it. Decided to type it up.

Here’s another memory: My mom became a comedian because of the dementia. One day I was sitting by her bed holding her hand and she was looking into my eyes. She said, “Doreen, you are soooo beautiful! I’m so happy you grew up to be so beautiful! I didn’t expect it. You were such a homely child.”

Hahahaha 😂

Re: January 3, 2010 — The Impatient Patient

Posted: January 18th, 2019, 2:02 pm
by sasha
You're 65?? (So's my sister.) From your pictures & tap videos I had you pegged as early-mid fifties. My mistake. I'll be 69 at the end of April.

Here's another one about my mom. Maybe 5 or 10 yrs ago she had a hip replacement and was heavily sedated during her post-op recovery. Her dosage hadn't yet been fine-tuned, and rather than risk putting her through any unnecessary pain, erred on the high side at first. High is right - at some point during her first night she summoned the nurse to warn her about the terrorists on the roof rappelling down the side of the building and entering through the windows, and how she was not to trust anyone because they could be infiltrators. That might explain why she so enjoys the "Mission Impossible" DVDs I bring for us to watch (the tv series, not the movies). Most of the plots go over her head even though I pause the videos every so often to explain them (when I know myself), but she's come to like the characters. Barney is her favorite.

I've kept a journal on & off ever since high school - some of the entries are just fragments, others are fully fleshed out. 1995-96 were difficult years - unrequited love, the worst kind - but some of the writing was my best. Cries from the heart. If they weren't so damned personal, I'd consider posting them.

Re: January 3, 2010 — The Impatient Patient

Posted: January 18th, 2019, 2:46 pm
by Doreen Peri
Yes. 65. Thank you so much for your mistake! :) For me, moving is the key to feeling younger and I suppose feeling younger also makes people look younger. I am grateful for my weightlifting coaches as well as my dance classes. Takes some dedication and discipline, though, to keep doing it on days I don't feel up to it but I continue. I'm not looking forward to "age-related" physical problems so that's what I do to ward them off for as long as possible.

The paranoia stories are humorous, though they're not, as I said before. Thanks for sharing them here! The mind is a trip! That's for sure. I like Mission Impossible, too! Your mom has good taste. ;)

My mom experienced some paranoia, too. Here's a story about another one... It wasn't a paranoiac episode but an episode where she actually believed she was in her home and Dad was outside in the backyard. (She wasn't, she was in an assisted living facility, the home was sold, and Dad had passed away 20 years before). She went through this for 3 days, as if she was in a dream she didn't want to wake up from. She was HAPPY, telling me to go outside and tell Dad something or other, passing along a message from me. She even thought there was a live band in the backyard and she was hosting an event. "Go outside and tell your father to ask them to play Frank Sinatra!" she said to me. It was actually beautiful to see her so happy during those few days. Music was such a big part of her life and she missed my dad so much.

I was thinking that some of these "mind trips" (for lack of a better phrase) might be occurring because she was dehydrated. It's important the elderly stay hydrated and you have to push fluids, often, because they don't feel thirsty. Try giving your mom as much water as she will take when you visit her and maybe talk to her other caregivers about dehydration.

I have multiple journals with drawings and writings and notes in them. I never fill one up. I just keep getting another one occasionally and starting a new one. I wish I had the discipline to write and draw on a daily basis like some do.

As for your journal entries, who cares if it's personal? I mean, nobody needs to know that it's about you if you decide to post some of them. I've posted poetry before and claimed it was fiction. Hah! Hey, it's all fiction, right? Might as well be. But I understand if you don't want to post any of them. I think it's cool that you've kept journals through the years.

Re: January 3, 2010 — The Impatient Patient

Posted: January 18th, 2019, 4:43 pm
by sasha
I hear you, re- "age-related" conditions - it's an expression I hear a lot these days. Bifocals... arthritis... prostate (consider yourself blessed that it doesn't take you 5 minutes to empty your bladder each morning)... Being in fealty to a high-energy dog has its advantages. We power hike 3 hilly miles each morning before breakfast (though the ice has reduced that to 2 or less), and another more sedate 2-3 along a flat rail-trail in the afternoon. I can hammer up Brigham Hill faster than that 62-yr old kid down the road, and still keep up a conversation. For my cognitive health I do the daily crossword puzzle, and dabble in mathematics, physics, & programming (e.g., my latest YT video - So far so good, but my mother's youngest brother and their mother both succumbed to the same dementia she's succumbing to now. Scary.

Thanks for the tip about proper hydration - I didn't know that. We recently had to upgrade her level of care to include daily medication monitoring. I'll mention it to the nursing staff.

I kept daily diaries through high school, petering out in my senior year (1967-68) - then resumed a more free-form journal after college, from 1973 to 1975 or -76. After a long hiatus, I tried returning to writing fiction in the mid 80s, but my chops had gotten flabby, & I'd forgotten what hard work it can be. So I picked up a few spiral-bound notebooks & resumed journaling some time in 1991, and changed over to an electronic format in 1993. That petered out around 2001 or 2002, but I began blogging at LiveJournal & ArcanumCafe. I wish I were more consistent, but not enough to beat myself up about it.

"Mission Impossible" blew me away when it premiered in 1966. It aired for 7 seasons, the 1st 5 of which I have on DVD. Season 1 is the "forgotten" year - the team leader was not played by Peter Graves, but by Steven Hill. Like most long-running shows, the series wasn't sure what it wanted to be, and some of those year 1 episodes are atypical of what was to follow. Hill proved difficult to work with, so he was replaced in year 2 by Graves, who stayed with the show right up to its cancellation. Years 2 and 3 were the "classic" episodes: getting his marching orders on a tape recorded message and 8x10 glossies hidden in some public space ("...the man you are looking at...", "...your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept...", "...should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions..."), assembling his team from a dossier folder, & a last-minute briefing with them in his apartment. Martin Landau & Barbara Bain did not return for season 4 (salary disputes), but Star Trek had folded its tent, and Leonard Nimoy was now a Star, so he was hired to replace Landau as the master of disguise & sleight of hand. He left after season 5 because he felt he wasn't being given enough to do. The show began running out of steam after that, so I was tuning it out by then.

Re- mind trips/paranoia: Hah, one of my journal entries from 1999 is a classic weed-induced Paranoia story. I'll post it here a little later. Not sure about some of the others, though - too revealing? Too agonized? Too self-pitying? They served the purpose of cathersis, but I'm a little uncomfortable about sharing them. We'll see. Hah, there's a classic weasel phrase: "We'll see"! Meaning, "No fucking way, but I haven't the balls to say so directly".....