Today is blustery and cloudy - almost like a fall day. Since Friday, I have been putting off my weekly trip to Wal-mart. Wal-mart has the best prices around for kitty litter, pet foods and supplies and paper necessities like toilet paper, paper towels and tissues. Despite the chilly temperatures that would normally keep me inside, Dave and I made the trip together.
While there, we bumped into a girl I worked with years ago. We worked in the custom drapery and window blinds industry - I sold the products and Terri sewed many of the fabric draperies or bedspreads. This was before I had Brian, and Nikki was very young.
Terri asked about the kids. I filled her in. Then she asked about my parents. Again, I filled her in. I really hate filling folks in about my parents. The response is always one of shock and I can tell they are genuinely embarrassed they asked.
When I asked Terri about her family (her dad has been gone for years, and thankfully I remembered this), she said her mom has dementia. She began to talk about all the stress she felt and how she is burning the candle at both ends. She is still working from home as a seamstress and had to take on a part time job to bridge the financial gap.
From what I could gather, she has no idea where to turn. She had the familiar expression we all wore while in the throws of care giving. Her mom refuses her medications, won't bathe, barely eats and refuses to leave her home. She still lives alone. My heart went out to her.
As she talked about all the things her dementia mom was doing, she began to cry. I hugged her and I tried remembering some of the wisdom I had gained from all of you - let the small stuff slide, remember the dementia patient isn't themselves anymore, when they say horrible things, it's the disease talking. It all came back so easily. I also shared the Alzheimer's website with her and told her it was the best place to start for information.
Anything you all think I left out? If so, please share it here. I intend to keep in touch with Terri, at least offering her an ear. I've been there, done that with dementia. We all have.
Nine Years and Counting
4 weeks ago