The Course of True Dementia Never Did Run Smooth


The Course of True Dementia Never Did Run Smooth

It's 4:45 am and do you know where your mother is?

I know WHERE she is but I don't know HOW she is, but I can guess. For the last 2 1/2 years I have spent most days within an arm's length of her, and today she is in a temporary facility and I am in her house, alone. Is this what they call, "The Incredible Lightness of Being"? This complete quiet in my brain, no speeding train of concern and focus, thundering down the railroad tracks? Is this what it's like to be retired? Or on LSD? Or maybe have a lobotomy? So quiet.

Our plan was to place my mom in the temporary facility next Wednesday, prior to my husband's arrival on Thursday and his and my return to Ohio for six weeks. Due to a broken pipe in the bathroom wall of my mom's master bath, and the extremely tardy processing of the insurance claim for repairs to the bath and replacement of carpet, my mom has been sleeping in her room with only concrete floors. She, who for the last six weeks has slept every night like a bear in the midst of winter hibernation, roused herself late Wednesday night and fell/tripped/slipped/lost her balance and hit her face on the concrete. I was there immediately to pick her up. There is a God in Heaven whose angels kept her from breaking any bones; she appears to only have a black eye and scrapes on her knees. I was on the phone immediately to the facility, asking if she could be admitted ASAP, since it appeared her own room now was a safety risk. And I also sent a picture of her to the insurance company adjuster to "encourage" him to get the lead out after 5 weeks and her claim is still not approved.

The hospice serving our home is in a different county from the hospice serving the facility, so that transfer paperwork had to be expedited and completed. Final visits and evaluations had to happen. Her room in the facility had to be prepared. It was all accomplished in record time! I had previously shopped/laundered/itemized/packed/labeled all her personal belongings for this move, so I was prepared in spite of the change in dates.

We brought my mom inside the facility and secured her on the common area couch. The lady who was supposed to be her roommate started screeching from her wheelchair in a horrifying voice, "YOU CAN'T COME INTO MY HOUSE!!! YOU CAN'T COME INTO MY HOUSE!!!!" You could hear her throughout the entire building. The poor thing. No one wanted this awful situation; we didn't want her upset this way. Scuttling about, the management team personally carried furniture into an empty room for my mom. They had hoped having a roommate would be beneficial for this lady and my mom but that was just not happening.

So this morning Mom is tucked away, I hope, in her own room, blissfully unaware, and sleeping again like the bear in winter hibernation. Yesterday after I left her off, I came home, took two shots of Southern Comfort on an empty stomach and laid on the floor, exploring all the silences. Today I don't want to waste my time like that any more and I'm ready to live.


Like this article? Share on social


Sign in to comment


I agree Jan -- so glad you shared all this, I can just feel that silence you're enjoying, and the rock solid sleep you are likely to get.


Hi Jan,\r\nIt never ceases to amaze me how we find strength to care, plan and execute things we need to do when a crisis hits. You handled that as you have cared for your mom, with dedication and ferocity! I can remember the exact feeling when after a medical crisis or two my mom would wind up in the hospital and then rehab. The respite, the quiet of the house, the ability to go to and fro, spontaneously do something with my husband was so wonderful. Enjoy not wasting another minute of your life. And agreeing with LilMagill, I too don't think two shots of Southern Comfort and exploring the silence is a waste of time, I consider it time well spent. \r\np.s. The photo to the dingbat insurance adjuster was pure genius.


I'm not sure I would call the two shots of Southern Comfort and lying down a waste of time. :-) It makes me happy to think of you feeling light and free for awhile. Enjoy every minute! \r\n\r\nYeah, I also LOVE that you sent the photo to the insurance adjuster. I hope it does some good!


Wow.\r\n\r\nI love that you sent the photo of your mom the adjuster. Brilliant!!\r\n\r\nOh, gosh, I just feel for you about the fall. They are traumatic for both the family caregiver and caree. Awful. I love how you took control of the situation and decided to up the admission date to the facility. \r\n\r\nAnd, your last sentence! I know I just said it but WOW. \r\n\r\nKeep us posted. Let us know how you spent the weekend living. \r\n\r\nYou're doing awesome--both for your mom and for yourself.