Another one of my mother’s friends died yesterday. Marilyn used to be our neighbor in the days when everyone on the street had kids and the mothers stayed at home. She had a great sense of humor and she and my mother had some good times together. Marilyn has suffered from Altzheimers for several years and has been in a nursing home. When I talked to Mom about it this morning she wasn’t upset. To her Marilyn was still as vital as she used to be. She told me about what they did together and said,”I talk to her a couple of times a week.”
When someone dies you usually try to console them by telling them to cherish the memories. My mother has constructed her own little reality to do this. What a blessing!
The day after I posted the story about my grandparent’s cabin I got a phone call. It was my mother, who rarely calls. After asking how I was she said she had some news. “My father sold the cabin in the mountains. I talked with my mother last night.” I was so taken aback all I could muster was an “Oh.” My mind, though, was reeling. She couldn’t have read my blog! She doesn’t even have a computer, much less know how to use one. But my mother went on, “Yes, I’m so glad they sold it. I didn’t like them driving up and down that mountain all the time.” I just agreed and we had a long discussion about mountain roads. ( Mom has always claimed to have an ESP connection. Could it be . . .)
My mother is having more of these hallucinatory experiences lately. I used to think she would dream something and then think it really happened, but many times this happens in the daytime. Mom used to work as a volunteer in the local hospital a couple of times a week, which she loved doing. She sometimes will get a card from the volunteer auxiliary wishing her well. At times she thinks she still works there and will mention how she has worked there that week. Other times she tells us that someone from the auxiliary called and they want her to come back.
Hallucinations are a natural part of dementia. With some people it can also be accompanied by paranoia when they are very distrustful and sometimes even try to attack others. The only way my mother expresses this is more of a memory problem. Someone is using her toothbrush because it is wet. It is probably one of the aides or someone they let in the room, she thinks. I got so tired of hearing this complaint I went to Costco and bought a pack of twenty. Now she has switched to her hairbrush. “Look at the hairs,” she says, “Someone has used this.” These are the times you need a sense of humor.