Family trip and good news upon return
byon 25-04-2012 at 07:17 PM (302 Views)
So Mum went to and returned from the USA just fine - visiting my brother John and her grand-kids (11 & 8 yr old twins). She had her birthday over there followed hot on the heals by Easter so no shortage of celebrations and fun.
Her grand-kids (my nieces and nephew) are of an age now where they know who this white haired old(er) lady with a 'funny' accent is (Skype has helped a lot with that) and they made a big fuss of her, which obviously Mum loved to death.
Apparently they made a cake and insisted on adorning it with 74 candles - one for Mum's 73 years with an extra candle 'for the coming year'. Sounded like a wonderful fire risk but it seems they got away without an inferno and no-one lost their eyebrows.
The travel element worked fine, especially as I now simply book direct flights avoiding any changes and reducing the stress for Mum. More expensive generally, but worth it.
My brother (who has been a commercial pilot) wanted to meet Mum at the gate when she arrived so he could help guide her through immigration and collect her bag. He called the airport and they said that that wouldn't be a problem. He was suspicious it would be that straight forward but they insisted that it would all be OK as long as he turned up a little early. He turned up two hours early and was promptly told that it was impossible to go over to the 'flight side' and who ever he had spoken with was clearly misinformed. As he had expected and very frustrating. Hey ho.
Mum finds the trip to the US more tiring than she used to but that's fair enough - I find trans-Atlantic flying tiring and tedious. We shall see how she feels about another trip later in the year or the same time next year. Or maybe it's time for the mountain to come to Muhammad.
There were the usual stresses, strains and lapses in memory - Mum wanted to buy some jeans for a friend but forgot that my sis-in-law had already taken her shopping for them. They went again and it seemed to work out OK even if a bit frustrating for my SiL.
Mum returned with a memory stick full of photos that my brother and the kids had taken. I'm going to get them printed up and put on the picture board for Mum.
And good news upon Mum's return - the DVLA have assessed her ability to drive (taken opinions from her doctor, psychiatrist and care workers) and decided she can have her licence to drive for another year. This has lifted Mum's mood so much. In fact the inability to get about in the car seemed to be be more depressing and frustrating for Mum than the formal diagnosis of AD! So she's got her wheels back.
(And yes, I am confident of her ability to drive otherwise I would have objected. She's been a very confident driver all her life, has decent attention and motor skills at the moment and will only be driving short, local familiar routes.)
On the medical front it seems that the anti-anxiety drug (Citalopram) has really helped her condition. She's calmer and more cogent. Mum believes it is the memory drug (Aricept) but apparently that doesn't take effect for three months (and she's only now coming up for two and a half months' treatment) and doesn't improve her mental state, just arrest the development of the disease. Either way, through a combination of a good trip to see her grand-kids, being allowed to drive again and the calming effects of her medication, Mum's in a good place at the moment. Long may it continue.
And huge respect to our friend Geoff who ran the London Marathon for Alzheimer's Society in memory of his Gran, raised a stack of money and in a very impressive time too! Chapeau!