Is God Testing Me....Hope I Pass
(Staten Island, New York)
My 78 yr. old mother has LBD. She is now the child and I the parent. She had been diagnosed in 2007 w/ depression & dementia, but I knew it was something more. It wasn't just plain dementia and depression as her doctors concluded after a battery of tests that found her physically healthy.
So off they went. Quick to dispense anti-depressants that just seemed to leave her in a catatonic state. She lost huge amounts of weight, lost interest in people and activities and never left her bed. She started repeating herself constantly and always in a state of anxiety. She asks permission to go to the bathroom (that means being asked every hour).
My father couldn't handle it. He ended up having a heart attack in his bed and on his birthday. I was left stepping into his shoes. I was already being challenged as I was going through a very bad divorce and going in and out of both family and supreme court. I have looked up to the heavens and asked God "Is this a test...hope I pass".
I started looking up her symptoms on the internet. I already knew that mental illness ran on her side of the family. Her mother (Alzheimer's disease) and two sisters (severe depression & bipolar). Her symptoms of stiffness of the joints, the Parkinson stare, the shuffling in her walk (I call it the Geisha walk) and constant repeating of questions over and over and over (you feel like your going mad), the mood swings including severe anxiety especially around 5:00 p.m (sun downing they call it) and the increasing aggression. This includes verbal abuse and death threats.
The disease actually had a name. It was called Lewy Body Dementia. A real down spiraling disease that has the same aspects of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Sort of a double whammy. It's been three years now and my life has changed yet again. I won in both family court and supreme court, I lost my job due to all the stress, Mom is getting slowly worse. I am now trying to raise my 14 year old son and keep positivity in the home despite my Mom's constant negativity and anxiety.
I am trying to hold on to my sanity as I cannot institutionalize her as my father's estate including the home I am living in is under her
name and that would mean a huge loss. I was not able to put her assets under my name as her estate attorney wanted me to do for reasons I cannot go into. Like I said previously it was a very bad divorce. So, I go about each day doing the best I can not to lose it myself. I manage her medications, take her to doctor appointments, feed her and bath her. Mom and I never really had a good relationship and that makes things harder.
I feel trapped, alone and feel so guilty when I lock the door and run out each day for several hours so I can feel normal. Mom can get so nasty and she constantly complains. She constantly asks the same question over and over and over. When I wake her in the morning she asks for permission to go to the bathroom, permission to get dressed, permission to go downstairs, permission to sit on the sofa.
At this point I'm already thinking of a stiff martini and its far from midday. She puts on every light in the house when I'm not there. She's always in the bathroom obsessing with her dentures. Fixodent and toothpaste are constantly left on the towels and walls. I'm thinking of painting the bathroom pink and white. Hey, it could be worse. She's not incontinent...yet. I haven't dated since the divorce(8 yrs). I don't know if it's because of the trauma of the divorce or because taking care of Mom makes me feel un-date able. Perhaps both.
This disease will eventually leave her in a vegetated state. I pray she passes peacefully in her sleep before that happens. I know she doesn't want to live now because she is so miserable. I know I need to hire a caregiver and go find work again. I'm afraid that I'm so messed up that it will effect any position I get.
The previous caregiver had quit after a year because she claimed she had her own health issues. I knew better, Mom was driving her crazy. So what's a girl to do? Ride it out, hope for the best and prepare for the worst I guess. I am determined to stay strong and not let this beat me. I know there is a another chapter not yet opened in my life.....but first I must pass the test.