Friday, October 21, 2016

Customs of the Country

Alzheimer Daily Challenge # I forget

As difficult as it is to constantly, cheerfully repeat information for your DSLO (Dementia Suffering Loved One), a more trying facet of Alzheimer's is the unpredictability of memory.
People make jokes. They say, just take away the picture, the book, the car... Whatever it is that's causing the problem...She won't remember.

But---she might. And you can't predict. The Alzheimers brain is a country where customs are always unfamiliar, the language is constantly changing and the natives are frightened.
The thing that made her mad yesterday might still be making her mad today. And she may not be able to tell you what that is.

So, tell her a half truth to get through the day, it's going to get you in trouble. She may remember it when she is more lucid and call you on it. Or she may just feel that you are hiding something and pick at that.

The learning curve for living with a DSLO is an ever tightening spiral. While the ride is terrifying for us, as caregivers, we know it is a ride, abnormal and ending. For the DSLO---its reality. And sort of like The Matrix, or The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind---a shifting seeming almost true place with menace and unknowns behind it.

So, for me, I choose not to think of mom as a person with dementia, or an Alzheimer's patient but as a Dementia Suffering Loved One (DSLO) because there is suffering, and she is loved. And I tell her the truth, because her landscape is unstable enough, and because she needs to know I will.
Even if she won't remember. Even if I have to tell her again. Even if it makes her angry. She needs to feel, to know, I will.

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