You Really Think You’re In Control?

“Yeah I was out of touch
But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough
I just knew too much”
– Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy”

So, my Mom has kind of lost her mind. Temporarily, we hope. She’s lucid and not hallucinating or anything, but it’s looking like some meds she was taking, or perhaps the combo of meds – a cocktail, really – may have been slowly spinning her into a bad place mentally that’s going to take a long time to come back from. Assuming she comes back completely.

It’s been an extremely trying few days and the journey is just beginning. I’m really the only person here who can handle everything, and yet “handling” everything is just not something I want to do or know how to do. My Mom has always been extremely self-sufficient and never wanted to depend on anyone for anything. A recurring theme she pounded into my head when I was growing up – don’t depend on a man for anything, you can take care of yourself. And I have, and I do. But now, at least for a while, her.

I’ve heard from a lot of friends who have had to deal with a relative going through either a temporary or more permanent spell with dementia. I’m so sorry for all of you who have had to go through this, and hope each of you has been able to call upon family and friends for support. I get it now, I really, really do.

I’ve just started a new job. They’re being very understanding, which is great, but I have a lot of work to do and am the only person here who can do this work, so I can’t keep taking off all day long and staying up all night because my Mom has tried to escape again. If you’re wondering how strong a 71-year old elderly woman can be when she is determined, the answer is pretty fucking strong, apparently, as it took 3 guys to get her back into bed and into restraints a couple of nights ago.

Many people have asked how I am doing. I am … bewildered. Exhausted. Confused. Frustrated. Very, very sad. Lost. Tired – did I mention tired? Scared. Terrified, really. There are moments I am completely in control, having an angry conversation with the floor nurse who put a phone back in Mom’s room after I told them to remove it, or threatening the resident that I want to talk to his attending, or telling the attending that I want the number for the Ombudsman. Then I’m on the phone with a contractor finding out that my mother ordered a really, really expensive, custom-made door that can’t be returned, and it’s in and they want to know when they can install it and get their balance due. I don’t know what to do with that. And her fucking cats, including the new kitten that was an impulse purchase while she has been in brain fog land. And cancelling the vet and hair appointments and fielding calls from her concerned friends and neighbors. Mom was hanging jewelry in the trees the other night, apparently, as there have been some break-ins in the neighborhood and she somehow thought she would be able to catch them in the act and have them arrested, since she’s been up several days in a row at times.

She threatened me with physical violence. That was hard. I know it’s not really her. The mania was almost worse than the anger, however. Her pulling out a Spongebob coloring book and leafing through it and laughing while we waited for her admittance in the ER was so creepy and disturbing to me I just wanted to go in a bathroom and cry and throw things. And there have been other, more disturbing things. I really just want to run away. I’d like to just bag my whole life right about now and get on a plane and go somewhere for a couple of weeks. I only see my son for a few minutes a day at this point, getting him ready for school in the morning and dropping him off.  I tell myself this is how it would be if I were in rehearsal for a show, that he will be fine, that his love for me isn’t going anywhere, but it’s still hard.

Every minute I feel like I’m fighting hysterical crying. But there is business to attend to, and my work has to get done, and I have to go buy some cat food and perhaps look into some foster parents for the cats, and start to figure out how I can get her bills paid if this is going to last a really long time. 

Won’t someone please hold me while I cry awhile?


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