Baby Steps


Two steps forward, one step back. We do a little dance with dementia and frailty and bodily functions that disappoint. When we think we have gotten over the final hurdles and finally started on the road to better health, the road dips, and we stumble.

So at present, it seems we have taken one step back. About a week ago, Mom had an episode. A little weakness, a little confusion. A lot of consternation. Then followed a visit to a specialist, and an investigative procedure.

I came back after a short time away, and noticed the difference. A certain hesitancy, a reluctance to get up. Vague eyes. Fewer words. A drunkard’s gait.

Showers taken at unusual times, and repeated at hourly intervals. Medicines swallowed hours before they’re due.

My doctor friend encouraged vigorous and sustained rehabilitation. “Don’t give up, you must keep at it.”

So –

Let’s go for a walk, Mom.
Sit and rest awhile, Mom.
Let’s continue walking, Mom.

Raise your arms ten times. Let’s count, Mom. How many was that? Can you count louder? You must count. That’s Four. Keep counting. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. One more. Ten. That was slow, Mom. We’ll count faster tomorrow.

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21 thoughts on “Baby Steps”

  1. Engaging your mom in the exercising, I believe is really key to their well-being with their dementia. We do exercises everyday with my mother-in-law who is 91 and has dementia – in the morning and after her nap while she’s still in bed. We count to 30 in english or italian and it’s a good test to see how her mind is if she counts with us. When we get to 30, it’s a victory and we through our hands up in triumph. Those moments are many times the best of the day for her and for us. Keep strong and keep counting.

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    1. Thanks for your comment and encouragement. I was really dismayed at her current counting ability, because it is drastically behind what it used to be. And isn’t counting to ten something we teach two-year olds? No wonder her sense of time is slipping as well.
      Will keep working on increasing the numbers, and backwards too.

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  2. I commend you for working with your mother and trying activities to keep her engaged. It is hard when dealing with a disease with no cure. My mother kept meticulous budgets and work with numbers was the first thing to go, followed by geographical location. My mother is in the later stages now, but I treasure the time I took to be with her in the earlier time of her disease. Whenever I got frustrated I made myself think of just what she must be feeling.

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  3. I can relate to your trials and love, as my mother suffered from dementia.
    The scary part is for the tendency to run in a family. My cousins and I are wary and doing all we can to prevent it in ourselves. In our case, the dementia is from a stroke, or series of mini-strokes. Can be diagnosed conclusively from an MRI scan. My mother was furious with me after her MRI. I was the one of five children who happened to be visiting when we went to a doctor appointment, and I said that I wanted to know what was happening to my mother. I had to specifically request an MRI, as suggested my by nurses I knew.

    The hardest part is the knowledge that it will only get worse. With the enormous amount of time one spends with an infant, you know that person will grow and eventually learn to take care of themself. In a dementia adult, it is the opposite. They just get more dependent.
    My mother saw her mother in dementia, and said that she never wanted to be like that. But the dementia sneaks up on a person a little bit at a time.

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