Since Christmas things have gone south, and then souther.
Happy days have made a beeline for the borders of Stumped Town Dementia as of late. It started Christmas Eve with a rift in the foundation of the partnership The Other Girl and I have painstakingly constructed over the last two and a half years. Yes, we've got each other's backs, but we're still sisters, and when not careful we can easily revert to behaving like two pissy pre-teens accusing each other of bitchcraft while the town looks on in horror.
What can I say? Dementia can pull families together and pull them apart. Over the holidays we succumbed to the latter and after two weeks of passive aggressive silence we (finally) decided to get over it.
But the nightmare had already begun.
While two big-girl little monsters were preoccupied with tearing crater-size fissures in the bedrock of their carefully crafted union, Momzilla was engulfed in a seething sea of anger that was growing stronger, preparing to unleash devastation on the entire infrastructure of our Stumped Town Dementia island.
And then it hit; the monstrous onslaught of dementia's progression into combativeness, violence, and rage.
This is what Mom's like most of the time now. No fooling.
Yes, Mom's entered the ever-so-entertaining world of the dementia rage stage. Grant it, some of it is quite justified (I mean, really! Did we expect a Tylenol suppository to go any other way?), but the ever-increasing appearance of ferocity is a disheartening turn of events.
The last couple of months Mom had slowly become more resistant to every day activities like showers, taking pills, getting dressed or undressed, but in the last two weeks it has become a battle to do anything and everything. She switches between rage to deep sadness and fear. She hates us, then she begs us not to leave her side. There are still some smiles and humor from her, but the good moments are few and far between.
Throughout the entirety of our dementia journey Mom's had moments of fury, but not many, and they've dissipated fairly fast. We're not idiots (uh... most of the time), we knew this could become a more significant manifestation of her dementia, but it's one thing to process the scenario in theory, it's a demon of a different color when you suddenly find yourself ringed in fiery wrath.
Each morning now, I check her face to see if a succubus has shown up, or if it's Mom. A month ago mornings were usually easy, spent in the company of a sleepy-eyed little lady one could coax a few brief smiles out of. Now upon waking she looks at me warily, with deep distrust, trying to determine if I'm friend or foe; should I be slain, or allowed to live?
Pill taking was the first indication Momzilla was coming for us fast. In recent weeks she's thrown pills, refused to put pills in her mouth, and/or refused to take a drink of water when pills in the mouth have been achieved. She's even spewed pills and water in The Other Girl's face - twice! (Okay, that one made me chuckle just a little.)
Showers are also a casualty. Never a favorite activity, they have become an exercise in prison breaks. Simply getting her clothes off is a battle, the towel rack on the back of the bathroom door taken the brunt of it as she shakes it violently while cursing and screaming. She has also shaken me against the towel rack, as well as bang her own head above the towel rack in an effort to escape the fate of a shower. Hmmmm. Maybe she just really hates that towel rack?
As I tried helping her undress for a shower the other day she hissed at me, lasers of hatred shooting from her eyes, "You son of a... bah... bah..." It was shocking, but did lose some of its intended impact with the fact that she couldn't come up with"...itch."
Brushing her teeth, putting on her coat, taking off her hat, getting out of the van, going into the house - suddenly everything's a potential War of the Worlds. She's even fighting with The Mirror Lady, her hitherto best friend at the end of the hallway. The other day she was beating on the linen closet door that holds the full-length mirror, screaming, "Get outta here! You get outta here!"
So, we've got new strategies to try and help Mom; showers at different times of the day, pills now taken in a spoonful of oatmeal or pudding, antibiotics for a UTI just in case that's part of the problem, staying out of the way of her balled up fist (seriously, I'd say we're 2 or 3 weeks away from one of us getting our first cuffing). We're also seeking help from Dr. Susan, the geriatric psych doctor who was so invaluable to us last year when lack of sleep and depression had turned Mom's world black. Maybe a change or addition to her medication can help give her (and us) a modicum of relief.
In the meantime, The Other Girl and I have once again crushed our baser instincts of annoying and irritating the crap out of each other to instead work together to pull our favorite lady out of this new dementia abyss.
So, welcome to Monsterland, everybody. Wish us luck that we can find strategies to achieve a semi-manageable Momzilla while keeping sisterly demons at bay. One monster in Stumped Town Dementia is quite enough.
"We should probably hang her. You know, she's a witch."
"I think drowning her is in order. Did I ever tell you she's a witch?"