One minute she's my Mum the next she's a stranger

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Freya, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. Freya

    Freya Registered User

    Oct 17, 2006
    11
    Cumbria
    Hi everyone, this is my first posting so I would be grateful of any replies and advice you have to offer. My Mum is only 66yrs old, after noticing memory loss, vagueness and growing lack of social interaction, I spoke to our GP.
    After visiting Mum she referred her to a community Phsyciatric Nurse who began to visit. She in turn got a Consultant to see Mum, he thought Mums problem may be vascular related.
    For over a year she has done nothing around the house, apart from now if you leave a cup of coffee for 2 seconds it is thrown out, the cup washed and put away, but she denies doing it!
    She has started smoking again after stopping 25yrs ago. She can appear relatively ok but when she has a cigarette almost instantly she changes and returns to the room almost like a zombie. it is the same reaction every time she has a cigarette.
    What I find hard is one minute I'm talking to her normaly like my old Mum almost and the next feeling so patronising, because I'm talking about the weather to fill in the silences and the only reply I get is "Mm Mm" or just "I dont know".
    How do you ever get used to your Mum being someone else than who she has been all your life, and even worse for my poor Dad, having to look after his wife almost like looking after a child.
    Any of your comments would be most welcome.
     
  2. KenC

    KenC Registered User

    Mar 24, 2006
    913
    Co Durham
    #2 KenC, Oct 18, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2006
    One minute shes my mum

    Hi Freya,
    We can all sympathise with you because the changes are remarkable and sometimes cruel, and to see a loved one changing like this must be very sad. I was diagnosed about three years ago and although I did not have alot of control over things, I felt I was was on another planet.
    When I was diagnosed and was lucky enough to be given the medication, I realised things were changing back again. But is was at a meeting last week, that the bombshell hit me. This was when my wife said he (meaning me ) was not the man I married 34 years ago, because he had changed so much, but now with the medication, I have my husband back again, and can't explain how it feels. I had never really realized that I had changed so much.
    We can only hope that someone helps your Mum to get her life back again, and at the same time helps you to cope with the things that are happening to her. None of us are trained to cope with this and in many ways we do not know what to expect.

    Best wishes

    kenc
     
  3. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Freya,
    You remember that it is still your mum - yes she has an illness that is preventing her communicating and being as she was in the past - but it is still your mum and she needs your love, respect and care. You don't get used to it - but you enjoy the moments that you can, with mum as she is. You accept that you are going to be grieving for a long time as changes occur - you cry for what you are losing, then you get on with loving mum.
    Dad does not HAVE to look after his wife, that is the choice that he is making - I suppose that is what loving someone is about. Freya, you get through this by supporting one another - it is an understatement to say 'it hurts'.
    Love Helen
     
  4. Freya

    Freya Registered User

    Oct 17, 2006
    11
    Cumbria
    #4 Freya, Oct 18, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2006
    Hi Helen,
    Thanks for your reply. Wow, you don't hold back do you! But your reply has helped me see its Mum I should be feeling more sorry for, after all she is losing Everything & Everyone (gradually), so thankyou.
    I think we are just starting to come to terms with what is really happening even though its probably been progressing for longer than we realise. You see for a good year it appeared Mum had a drink problem, although now it is becoming clearer that she really did think she had only had th 3 she always claimed she had had.
    I think we are in relatively early stages of this illness, but my god already I can see it must put people through every emotion there is.

    Many thanks Helen

    Love Lesley





    Amy]Hiya Freya,
    You remember that it is still your mum - yes she has an illness that is preventing her communicating and being as she was in the past - but it is still your mum and she needs your love, respect and care. You don't get used to it - but you enjoy the moments that you can, with mum as she is. You accept that you are going to be grieving for a long time as changes occur - you cry for what you are losing, then you get on with loving mum.
    Dad does not HAVE to look after his wife, that is the choice that he is making - I suppose that is what loving someone is about. Freya, you get through this by supporting one another - it is an understatement to say 'it hurts'.
    Love Helen[/QUOTE]
     
  5. nice

    nice Registered User

    Aug 24, 2006
    17
    Hi Freya, I/we know exactly what you're going through. My mother has changed in many ways and has picked up habits she would never normally pick up, but essentially she's still the same stubborn, fiesty, woman she's always been (and, yes, with VD that makes for an explosive cocktail). The essence of the character remains; she still has the same sense of humour and every now and again some real nuggets come through that let you know she's still really there somewhere in the fog.

    Many things will change and will never be the same, but that's the process we have to ride and come to accept. This whole illness is about change, adapting, adjusting and accepting...and of course, dealing. You'll be ok, it's a rough ride, but many good things can come out of it.

    The main thing is to take care of yourself, then you'll be able to help your mum more effectively.

    Take Care.
     
  6. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Freya

    I understand totally how you feel, but I learned very early in my Mum's illness to look at how she was seeing things and that makes life more bearable.

    My Mum said early on in her illness that her head was "full of fog" another time she was so upset at not being able to do the simplest task she said"why can't I do things, I'm not stupid!"

    Remarks like this and watching the slow deterioration from an active happy Mum into the person she is now has been a painful process, but little by little, we adapted to her needs and she is still my Mum somewhere inside. I still love her to bits.

    My best wishes to all of you

    Kathleen
     
  7. Freya

    Freya Registered User

    Oct 17, 2006
    11
    Cumbria
    #7 Freya, Oct 19, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2006
    Today was wonderful

    Hiya Amy- Helen, soz this is confusing me, am not sure which name to use. My Mum has been here today with Dad to be here for my daughters after school, as I was at work today. When I came in I heard Mum shout " Hi " to me I knew then it was a good day.
    My daughter who is 14 was giving Mum a manicure, Mum looked so happy. She volunteered conversation a few times which was brilliant, she was as good as my old Mum today Helen, and I just took your advice and enjoyed every moment with her.
    Dad said she had only had one cigarette today and the difference is quite unbelievable. My GP said smoking must cause lack of oxygen to her brain which is why there is such a sudden effect.
    Anyway today was lovely and thanks to your advice I relished every moment of it,
    Love Lesley



     
  8. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Freya,
    Thank you for posting - have read some quite sad posts this morning, but yours made me sit here with a big smile! You've got lots of good times to come still, and you'll find a capacity to love that you didn't know you had!
    The name? Helen, Amy? I answer to either.
    Love Helen
     
  9. Freya

    Freya Registered User

    Oct 17, 2006
    11
    Cumbria
    Dear KenC,
    Thanks so much for your reply. I admire your courage so much. I have read your posts and am continuing to look for more. Hopefully I'll be able to learn from you some of what Mum is going through.
    You see Mum will not admit to anything being wrong, do you think she really will not know anything is wrong, or doesn't want to admit to it. She has had 2 great days, only 1 cigarette yesterday and none today, this makes the world of difference to her.
    I hope you have lots of these good days too,

    Take Care, Lesley
     

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