Saturday, April 19, 2014

Not here any more

Mrs. R. fights every morning when Priscilla does diaper change and cleanup. Sometimes she hits Priscilla, sometimes she pushes, sometimes she pinches. She has hit and pinched the nurses aides who visit every weekday.

Friday night, Mrs. R. tried to eat her pajamas. Priscilla prepared a soft meal and fed her in bed, with Mrs. R. using her fork. Then Mrs. R. began poking her pajamas with the fork. Priscilla asked why she was doing that. “I’m going to eat it,” Mrs. R. replied. Priscilla said, “Mother, those are your pajamas. You cannot eat your pajamas.”

None of that computed. “Mother … pajamas … cannot eat.” Those words or combination of words were not or are not part of Mrs. R’s mental ability.

Other things are gone. Mrs. R. the other day referred to Priscilla as “that woman who visits.”

Priscilla often sits with her mother and discusses photographs from the 1940s through the 1980s. Mrs. R. recognizes herself, her husband, son John and her mother. She does not recognize Priscilla or our children or her brother or sister.

Maybe “recognize” is not the right word. More accurate might be no one but Mrs. R., Mr. R., John and Mrs. R.’s mother are part of her mind. We often think those with dementia forget things. Probably, most things simply are no longer there.

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