Living with Alzheimer’s 24 (a series)

LIVING WITH DISTRACTION

This is the reason why I didn’t want to start a blog. Because once I get distracted, and it is soo easy to distract me, I fail to come up with a post for periods of time. I think this time, it has been a little under two months, and I’m struggling to start writing again. But don’t get me wrong, I have hundreds of ideas. Everyday. Every hour. Every minute. It’s just that, when I decide to sit down to write them out, something almost always comes up.

Besides, I have mentioned that I dislike repetition, even with myself. I hate repeating myself. It stresses me out. So why am I working as a tour guide, where my spiels and information are practically memorized due to repeated practice? Simple: I have never encountered two tours that are exactly the same. They are like fingerprints. Each tour has a different set of guests, a different set of questions and, ultimately, a different outcome at the end of the day.

With Mama, I get the same questions, the same topics, the same anxieties, day in and day out.

So what’s up with her? Oh, the usual.. and then some:

  1. She has difficulty standing up from a sitting position. My diagnosis: her arthritis is getting worse.
  2. She keeps asking where we will eat the next meal. My diagnosis: she does not want to cook, and she does not believe that I can cook.
  3. She keeps asking where we will sleep after eating. My diagnosis: she does not recognize our house as her house or she thinks that because we are eating out, it means we are also sleeping out.
  4. She is very demanding – “Gin, make me hot chocolate!” She drinks it, and after 5 minutes, “Gin, make me hot chocolate!” And she doesn’t take No for an answer. My diagnosis: she believes the hot chocolate will make her body feel warm, however, she will not drink it if it’s oo hot.
  5. She remembers some things – like how to go to the bathroom, how to change her underwear, the names of her children and her brothers and sisters; but she has forgotten many things – where her children are, who my husband is and that I’m married, for that matter, and the millions of details in her life. My diagnosis: her memories have disappeared, but the habits she had developed as a child are what gets her moving.
  6. When we’re at home, she asks, “Where are we?” and “Where are we going?” When we go out to eat, she asks, “Who’s in the house?” and “Where are we going to sleep?” My diagnosis: Mama loves going out and traveling, but for some reason, she believes one or all of my siblings ‘will be home soon’, therefore, we have to go back home immediately or else ‘they won’t be able to get into the house’.

Last December 5, we celebrated Mama’s 89th birthday with an overnight stay at a resort in the town. (See Photo Guide Tours: Villa Imelda Farm Resort on Thursday.) It was the first real family travel treat we were able to have since the pandemic started. Mama was quiet as we exited the driveway but became anxious as we drove down the highway. She kept asking what the occasion was, and I kept answering that it was her birthday. “Whose birthday?” was almost always the next question. My diagnosis: her sense of reality has slipped and she doesn’t believe she is living her life, but that of someone more fortunate than she. This would also explain why she calls out to me (G), and asks me where G is. I speculate the G she is looking for is my eldest sister, N. She also asks where my husband (E) is, though I speculate she is thinking of her own husband, Rey, whom she vaguely remembers has died but can’t recall how, when, where or why.

In addition, when presented with photos of herself, she recognizes her younger versions, but asks who the current version is. “Is that my mother?”

Mama at 89.. that mark on her forehead is blood from a live chicken, called “padugo”, a native ritual to bless the celebrant with fortune and good life.

*If anyone reading this can relate to what I’m saying, then my decision to write it out is validated.*

Published by Bukidlife

A journaler - someone who writes in a journal.

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