I don’t mention my mom too often here. It’s been a difficult and entangled relationship with her. We are so very different and she makes me crazy, and yet, as Mr. F once put it, I “sure do fuss a lot about [my] mama.”
Lately, there have been changes in her. I have sometimes thought that, being the one closest to her, I haven’t been seeing things clearly, and that I was too close to judge what I perceived as changes in her behavior accurately. I’m not at all happy to report that I’m not the only one seeing changes and that I’m not the only one troubled by them.
Last night, it started with a phone call from my brother, the intent of which was simply to inform Mom about some news from the extended family.
It got blown up into something that it wasn’t.
My brother texted me shortly after he called Mom and described her as having gotten “bent out of shape” and that her behavior seemed “irrational.”
She was, and it took me a while to reinterpret to her what my brother had actually been saying, and to calm her down.
The thing is, this irrationality of Mom’s is nothing new. Need a mountain out of your molehill? Call her. She’s really good at making a big deal out of nothing.
But this tendency toward irrationality is becoming more pronounced. Others are finally noticing it. Along with this, there’s been a marked decline in her short-term memory, a slowing and thickening of her speech at night, and the advent of sleep talking. The sleep talking is admittedly pretty entertaining at times, but not an especially welcome change.
After this latest episode, I got online and did some research. Note that there has not been a professional opinion offered regarding these changes in my mom. There have been no assessments, no diagnoses. Nonetheless, I’m perfectly capable of reading the literature and interpreting it and arriving at a conjecture I’d like to avoid: Mom may be showing signs of dementia. She may be. Nothing is certain, not yet, but there are signs that do seem fairly clear.
This is something I had hoped we’d avoid, my brothers and Mom and me–a lingering and confused end to her long journey. Dad went so quickly, and in such a good way, his mind as clear as the blue sky and as sharp as a needle until the end, that there are no regrets there. I’m afraid it won’t be that way with Mom.
And I think this won’t be the last Friday night I spend doing research I’d rather not have to do.