As with addiction recovery, “One day at a time”, can be a helpful slogan for families of dementia patients as well. It’s interesting when you get to the stage of caring for a loved one who has a terminal disease, when you can discuss things with the nurses about such things as DNR (do not resuscitate), feeding tube options, inevitable kidney dialysis (which they tell me, won’t go well), and other end of life topics, without having any sort of sorrow or fear. I can only conclude, along with the help of my awesome anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medicines, that this is due to the merciful grace from God.
At certain moments of crisis within this long illness, it can feel “out-of-body” like, as if I am hovering above the nurses, while they sit and professionally talk of all the med changes, behavior changes, mental status, and overall problems with my mom. I can hear them, and rationally talk with them matter of factly, almost as if we are talking about some other patient. It reminds me a bit about the grace you hear people receive after a loved one who has passed, which helps them to get through the funeral and funeral planning.
Moms’ nurses wanted a care conference today to discuss mom’s challenges lately, which partly explains her erratic crazed behavior the other day when I took her to the dermatologist. With dementia, any new situation or issue can be a trigger for increased anxiety or erratic behaviors. This can cause a caregiver or loved one to need to change one’s expectations quite frequently. For instance, I came into today’s meeting thinking that they would tell me how much mom has begged for cigarettes since our little cig showdown on Friday. Instead, they told me that she has not mentioned them once since that night 4 days ago. That proves how quickly moods and emotions can change with this disease, and it can alter greatly with certain changes in medicines.
It helps to put things back into dementia perspective after situations like that. There are times when our interactions can be so trouble some, and I can take it so personally and get overly upset. It helps to know that tomorrow is a new day, and that any moods mom may be having today, will most likely change tomorrow. It helps me to remember to take this journey one day, one moment, and one minute at a time.
Oh, and of course, that “I can do all things through Him, who strengthens me.” 🙂
This is my favorite version of “The Our Father” prayer…..