If it were just preparing her food (osterizing her rice because she can’t chew anymore), bathing her, keeping her company while she slept, changing her clothes, assisting her to go to the bathroom or up and down the stairs, or even jogging her memory, I have no qualms about being her caregiver.
It’s the repetition that gets me.
Yesterday, her favorite question was “Who’s in the kitchen?” The whole day and into the night. It didn’t help that there was an unscheduled brownout at 11 PM. So if it wasn’t enough to ask who was in the kitchen every 5 seconds, “Why is it so dark?” was added to the broken record. I think I slept (finally) at around 3 AM.
Then today, for the first time, she asked about my dad. We spent the better part of the morning going over the reason why he died (cancer of the bone marrow), when and where he died (December 1995 / Manila) and where he was buried (Bukidnon). Granted, even a person with good mental health would get confused with all the details, but she had memorized all that and more for more than 15 years (she’d researched the disease for months after his death). She even asked for other details like where was he working at the time he’d gotten sick and how old I had been. There was a lot of repetition, of course, but I was just so happy to have a new subject that I didn’t mind.
Unfortunately, once lunch was over, we were back to square one. As early as 2 PM, she said, “You’re in charge of the kitchen, okay?” and immediately followed by, “Who’s in the kitchen?” Haay.
For the record, it has been 15 months since she was diagnosed with mild dementia. Back then, she could still hold a decent conversation and it would be hours before her memory cycle would repeat. Today, she would close her eyes for a few seconds, and when she opened them again, would have forgotten the whole conversation (or question and answer altercation) prior and ask the same questions again, not knowing it had only been a few seconds.
The specialist in Manila had warned me that Mama’s case was only mild and that it would only be deemed advanced if she started to forget her children. Does it count if she starts calling all her children by one name? Mine, unfortunately.
Author’s Note: If anyone reading this can relate to what I’m saying, then my decision to write it out is validated.