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Sleeping Arrangements

I haven’t written much lately as Mum has settled back down into her ‘normal’ confused state but we’ve had no more parallel universes.

She’s started doing things such as standing up to go somewhere and immediately forgetting where; putting on odd socks or even just one sock; putting away things in inappropriate places. I keep having to tidy the drawers in her bedroom as everything just gets hopelessly muddled. She tells me she can’t find something which is literally right in front of her.

The issue with the headphones is driving me crazy. She keeps forgetting how to use them and just turns up the TV to almost full volume. I sort it out for her and explain about the headphones, then 5 minutes later it happens again.

She’s also talking to non-existent people again. They always seem to be on the wall to the right of her chair. When I ask her who she’s talking to, she says she’s talking to herself. I’m not sure if she doesn’t want to admit she can see someone, or she just doesn’t know.

I never tell her when I’m going out in the evening until it’s about to happen as she really doesn’t like it. However, I’m determined not to give in and stay at home all the time. I have to get out for my own sanity.

I spent a while today looking at some old photos of mum when she was in her early 20’s. How beautiful she was!

Later:
Mum just came to find me in my bedroom to ask me about sleeping arrangements. She wanted to know if she was sleeping with me in my room and the other person would be in her room. Don’t know where that came from but had to spend about half an hour giving her a hug and reassuring her that things are exactly the same as every Monday night. She’s in her bedroom, I’m in mine and there’s no other person!

Even later:
Mum came to ask me what to do with her pillows – she’d taken the pillows off her bed and put them on the settee in the lounge. When I asked why she hadn’t gone to bed in her bedroom, she said everything looked different. Uh oh! Here we go again!

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Diary

 

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An Impromptu Holiday

My sister told me that when she called in yesterday, mum told her that she’d been to Scotland on the coach that morning! OK…..so Celebrity Coach Trip also goes into Room 101! Actually they’d been to Slovenia, not Scotland!

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Diary

 

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The Lost Bag

I went out this morning but have spent afternoon with mum. She was fine until just before we had tea. She was watching Airline on TV and as has happened before, the lines between reality and the TV have become blurred. Mum suddenly said she’d couldn’t find the lady she was sitting with and also she’d lost her handbag. I reminded her that she was watching a TV programme and she seemed to accept it.

I went outside for 10 mins and when I came back in she was in tears. I went over to give her a hug and asked her what was the matter. She said she was scared as she’d lost her handbag at the airport. Also she didn’t recognise where she was. I tried to reassure her but each time she would say she was okay then a minute later she asked me to go and look for her bag. This happened at least 10 times within half an hour. I took her to the cupboard where she keeps her handbags to show her that they were all there along with her purse. Eventually she said she felt a bit better and she recognised her flat again.

This is the second very similar incident within the past few weeks. Very distressing for both mum and myself as I seem to be powerless to put her mind at rest immediately. Hope this doesn’t happen too often when mum’s alone.

It seems there are less and less TV programmes that I’m happy for mum to watch as they seem to have some sort of weird effect on her. Casualty, Come Dine with Me and Airline are all off the menu.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Diary

 

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Getting Her Leg Over

Well, it’s a New Year and I’ve been too busy with the usual celebrations to catch up with my blog.

Mum has been reasonably OK considering we have had a continual stream of visitors for the past couple of weeks.

To be honest, I think she’s worse now that everything’s settled back down. Or maybe it’s just that I notice it more clearly when I’ve only got her to worry about. So many family members have been around, I haven’t had to concentrate on looking after mum as I’ve had plenty of help.

As usual, she has been very amusing.

This morning’s highlight was bath time. For some reason she managed much better than usual today. My brother and sister-in-law called in at lunchtime and mum told them that she had no trouble getting her leg over today! She meant over the side of the bath. The nice thing was that she realised what she had said and laughed herself.

I was at home most of the time today and found myself becoming increasingly annoyed with what I call the ‘tv remote, headphones saga’. When mum started becoming a little deaf, my brother bought her some headphones to listen to the TV so she wouldn’t have to turn it up too loud for the neighbouring flats. That went really well until she started with dementia. She is on the verge of forgetting how to use the headphones which have a volume control on the earpiece. I frequently come in to find her wearing headphones but with the TV at full volume. When I am in the house, I tend to put the TV on mute so only she can hear it but she constantly picks up the remote to try and switch channels and in so doing, turns up the volume.

She is now unable to work out times of programmes from a TV guide so needs constant help with finding things she likes. She used to love her TV, particularly Coronation Street but we now find she can’t concentrate on any programme for any length of time and if asked, she doesn’t really know what’s happening.

Another problem is that the boundaries between reality and what she sees on the
TV are getting blurred. In Come Dine With Me, where strangers get together and take it in turns to cook a meal over 4 nights, she often thinks we are in the programme and asks questions like “when is the food coming?” or “when do we have to leave to get to the next meal?”

Some time ago, she had been watching Casualty on her own and rang my sister in great distress, saying that there was a Paramedic in her lounge trying to resuscitate a badly injured person.

Apparently this is quite common, confusing reality and fantasy. No, that’s not quite right as much of the TV she watches is ‘Reality TV’! It’s the confusing of what’s happening here at home in her flat with what’s happening on the TV.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Diary

 

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The Phantom Donkey

My sister came round to visit in the afternoon. Mum asked where Laura (my niece) was. We explained that she was at home to which mum replied “Oh, I wondered ‘cos I’ve just seen a donkey go by.” Never did get to the bottom of that one.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Diary

 

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Don’t Mention Alzheimer’s

We had a visit from a Community Psychiatric Nurse today. She has been sent following our recent visit to the GP after mum had a particular bad few days where she was complete disorientated and having hallucinations again. The hallucinations take the form of seeing and talking to invisible people in the flat. When questioned, she says she can’t actually see anyone but it’s more like a feeling she can’t explain!

The nurse is very pleasant but has to fill in the longest form and asks dozens of seemingly unrelated questions. Mum is in her element – she has always loved attention from the medical fraternity. Any hospital or GP appointment is treated like a day out to her. I often think she would have been quite successful at Munchausen’s Syndrome!

There are no magical answers. I am able to talk to the nurse quite easily without mum hearing or understanding as long as I talk quickly and quietly. I tell her about how mum doesn’t like me being out at night and especially after 10pm when she goes to bed. She says there are sitting services I can use – I’d love her to explain that one to mum! She asks mum if she enjoys her day at the Day Centre. Mum says yes she really likes it but when asked if she’d like to go another day, she flatly refuses. Sigh!

The nurse suggests various clubs and societies but unfortunately mum is not a joiner of this type of thing. I can’t complain as I’m not myself.

Finally, the nurse mentions something about Alzheimer’s. It’s like a red rag to a bull. For some reason mum knows she has dementia and can deal with this but if anyone calls it Alzheimer’s she freaks out. In her mind dementia is mild and maybe curable but Alzheimer’s is definitely not! So I ‘remind’ her that mum has several types of dementia and Alzheimer’s is only a small part of it. Mum asks outright if it is curable and she is very diplomatic in her answer saying that the symptoms are treatable and she may not deteriorate from her current state.

We also touched on the subject of mum’s occasional little accidents that are happening now and then. We are being referred to the incontinence clinic! Oh dear – it’s all getting a bit much suddenly.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Diary

 

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The Phantom Cat

I’ve been out for the whole day today – met an old friend for lunch and did some Xmas shopping. Went out at 9.30 and didn’t come home until 4.00, as it was starting to get dark. I rang mum at lunchtime to check she was ok and she answered the phone and seemed fine. Nevertheless I was worried in the back of my mind all day. There are times when she can’t figure out how to answer the phone or other times when she doesn’t put it back properly so if you call her it rings out engaged.

When I got home she told me she had made a mistake with her cup-a-soup and put it in the kettle. She said she had managed to wash it all out. However when I examined the kitchen I noticed all the coffee was missing from it’s container so I think she had put the soup in the coffee (not the kettle) then had to throw it all out.

I’m concerned how long it will be before I can’t trust her to get herself something to eat at lunchtime.

She has been odd this evening. Talking to the TV again then telling me a cat had just jumped up onto the settee.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in Diary

 

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