How do I un-see what I saw..... sorry but it is upsetting.

Discussion in 'End of life care' started by cragmaid, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    The sight which greeted me yesterday, I want to un-see it. I can't face closing my eyes because the image is there. The tears well up and fall down my face.

    I went into Mum's room yesterday mid-morning, the door as always was open. Mum was sitting on the side of her bed half naked. The image I saw was remarkably similar to those of the concentration camp victims. Skin, bone and no flesh to pad out the frame. She was clawing at her back with filthy nails.

    I dusted her back very lightly with talc( I know that too much can irritate) and put her a clean pyjama top on and asked one of the carers to come in to change her wet pad. The soiled and wet pad was changed and she was washed, dried and creamed. She had a dry pad and clean PJ bottoms put on and I strugled to fit a pair of socks over her swollen feet, cutting the elastic and the insteps to get them over her ankles. Her bed was stripped, wiped and remade freshly.

    I don't blame the girls for the state Mum was in. I know she was changed at breakfast time. I know that her hands get washed. I cut her nails as short as I can, but they grow so quickly, however she eats with her hands and of course she scratches at her skin and her nether regions. Her drawer was a bit light on clean laundry so I presumed that her soft top socks were being washed.

    When I left the home, I went straight away and bought her some new socks, and I bought small man's size 6-8 because they will be more roomy than ladies' socks. I also managed to get some velcro slippers so that she might be able to wear them.

    I had ordered new PJs but my supplier has just rung to say they are out of stock.

    She weighs roughly 6 stones now....about 5 stones less than she did two and a half years ago. She is doubly incontinent. Her skin is so dry it is flaking. She is constantly scratching, sometimes softly sometimes not. I suppose that is down to her liver breaking up. She can only weight bear if she is helped. Her legs are bruised and scabbed from where they collide with the table leg, or even from her rubbing or scratching. I think that she is only here because she takes most of her Ensure milkshake drink and her occasional one slice of bread bacon sandwich!

    I can cope with all the practical things.........but how can I un-see that image?
  2. jeany123

    jeany123 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2012
    I am sorry I wish you could unsee it as well, things like that get ingrained in your memory don't they,

    Hugs from Jeany xxx
  3. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    Oh, Maureen, I am so sorry to hear this. Your distress pours out from your post :(

    What can I say? You know your mum is as well cared for as possible, and you know you do what you can to complement the 'paid for' part of her care. It is the dementia itself that is confounding you and your mum, and that cannot be changed.

    I can only suggest that you remember the positive things you are able to do, and the times your mum is just a bit better. And of course remember the 'real' mum, the one you knew before this horrible illness got it's claws into her.

    Maureen, you have been so helpful to me and to so many others on here, I do hope that between us we can offer you some crumb of comfort :)

    Sending you (((hugs)))

    Lindy xx
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I don`t suppose you`ll be able to un-see Maureen. It upset me reading about it so goodness knows how you feel when you are seeing your mother.

    And of course with your mother being blind on top of the dementia , she`ll not have a clue how she appears.

    I`m really sorry.
  5. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    Oh Maureen, how terribly sad. As Sylvia said it was upsetting just reading about it so I can't begin to imagine how you must feel. Your love for your mum shines out. x
  6. Ash148

    Ash148 Registered User

    Jan 1, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland
    I don't suppose you can un-see it, but I hope that by sharing with us here, the burden of it will be just a little bit less. You you would be less affected if you didn't care so much about your mum, but that's not an option either.

    Take care of yourself, as well as her, as best you can.
  7. angecmc

    angecmc Registered User

    Dec 25, 2012
    So sorry to hear this it is so sad xx

    Ange xx
  8. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Cragmaid, so, so sorry. I guess only time can block that image. This bank holiday seems to have taken its toll on a lot of people, judging by the postings. Thinking about you, take care.
  9. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    Oh Maureen

    That post made me cry so I dread to think how you feel. Poor you, your poor little Mum.

    I hope that posting here can be a tiny bit of help. Could you possibly keep a photo of your Mum, when she was well, in your handbag or anywhere close by? Maybe a couple doted about, particularly by your bedside in case you can't sleep and the image returns? Perhaps looking at a different image of your Mum may help?

    Sorry for this daft suggestion-you probably have plenty of photos on display anyway.

    Take care Maureen-sometimes things are too hard to bear.

    Lyn T XX
  10. thats life

    thats life Registered User

    Jan 2, 2013
    I hear you x
  11. Weary

    Weary Registered User

    Aug 1, 2014
    #11 Weary, Aug 26, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
    I know exactly how you feel as you have described my dear MIL to a tee. Before she went into the nursing home we would have her stay with us for periods of time and i showered her , and compared to some of the Belsen victims she looks worse. To be honest i dont know how shes still here. She weighs around 6 stones now also has swollen ankles, is unable to walk , and her once beautifully manicured nails that she was so proud of look awful with dirt under them for the very same reasons you have described! When we visit i file them and usually put fresh nail polish on to try and make them look better and to just try and do something for her, but the last visit was a disaster as i couldnt keep her hands still for the short time needed for it to dry and it ended up on her chair and all smudged :-( . She used to take such pride in her appearance and now she looks like a dishevelled skeleton. Its heart breaking and the worse thing is that we will remember them that way as we will have seen them that way for so long :-(
  12. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    Oh I'm so sorry Maureen. Upsetting doesn't really cut the mustard, does it? I can barely imagine how you must be feeling. xxxx
  13. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    That sounds a really sad and upsetting picture to have to keep in your mind Maureen.
    Visions like that refuse to be blotted out don't they. I am so very sorry.
    You care so much for your mother and you were able to ensure that this picture was erased in reality as soon as you could and you made your mother confortable which was all you could really do at the time.
    I do hope the scene will fade a little eventually though I know it will take
  14. lexy

    lexy Registered User

    Nov 24, 2013
    #14 lexy, Aug 26, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  15. sunray

    sunray Registered User

    Sep 21, 2008
    East Coast of Australia
    Almost two years out from the death of my husband Ray and three months to go till it is two years from Mum's death and still some of those end time images linger but many more earlier memories also surface now.

    I think that is your answer, given time all things pass. Doesn't make it easier now but the image will fade in the long run. And you will "see" your Mum in her heyday, happy smiles and all.
  16. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    I hope you managed some sleep Maureen-still thinking of you

    Love from

    Lyn T
  17. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Thank you all, my friends, for your wonderful support.

    It has occured to me how I have been a bit selfish writing this all down, because I could be raising such sad memories for some of you and fears for the future for others...and for this I do truly apologise for any upset caused.

    Sylvia, I'm sure you must be right about Mum's sense of modesty being in some way overidden by her blindness....she spent the '60s and half of the 70's pulling her ( and our:rolleyes:) skirt hems down..... mini skirts were the invention of the devil.:D

    Writing it down has, I think, helped me to soften the image in my mind, the tears still spring un-asked, but the soreness in my heart is easier ......Thank you all again. x.x.
  18. Pigeon11

    Pigeon11 Registered User

    Jul 19, 2012
    Maureen, I too know exactly how hard it is to see the physical deterioration. My dad - a man of average build and 5ft 6 tall before his illness, now weighs 5st 5lb (34kg). He looks like a skeleton and has an estimated BMI of 12. I can put my hand around his ankle and just about touch fingers.

    His nails are long and dirty but difficult to cut/clean as he has contractures in his hands and he isn't always compliant with care. His once curly hair has lost it's curl now and as he's so frail we don't like to get him out of bed so he can have regular haircuts so often he looks a little bedraggled. And his nose is broken from a couple of falls early in his illness when he was mobile. He just doesn't look like my dad any more.

    He was a very smart but quite prudish man when we were children and the fact he has to wear a pad and his most intimate care needs are provided by young women would absolutely horrify him.

    I try to reassure myself by saying that really, that he doesn't care how he looks now. He has no cognition and so no awareness of any of what I've described above so it can't make him unhappy. The fact is that it's only me who gets upset about it - and I'm used to seeing it all now and am coming to terms with it more recently. He's comfy and well cared for and that's what's important to him (and me) now

    So please don't think you've caused anyone distress or that you're selfish. This is exactly what TP is for. How else would you get things off your chest if you couldn't describe what is upsetting you? It also prompts others to share their similar concerns about their loved-ones so really you're helping as well as getting help. But I'm so glad that talking on here has helped a little

    Take care
  19. jeany123

    jeany123 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2012
    #19 jeany123, Aug 27, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
    Oh dear this thread is most upsetting, I hate to think that dementia has caused this for all these proud private elderly people, It is heartbreaking,
  20. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    I think your title .......sorry but it is upsetting, gave enough of a warning. I personally have no illusions how bad things could get for my mum and reading threads like yours may just help with the shock of what might come and more importantly it may help you deal with it.

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