Monday, 4 February 2008


My visit this weekend reminded me how much I'd forgotten already. Maybe I ought to get one of those brain-scan thingamajigs for myself.

I had forgotten just how much organisation it takes to do the simplest thing when Mum's along for the ride, how each action needs to be broken down into tiny steps, and how I need to over-estimate the time required to perform each step by a factor of 1o.

I'd forgotten the shocking fact that I now have to be the one who has to choose what Mum wears, what she eats, have to teach her how to use a seat belt every time we get into the car (and out of it), have to steer her along the sweet aisle in the supermarket to the items I know are her favourites and stop her picking up every bag and bar on the way.

I'd forgotten that, months ago, the Social Worker told me that Mum wasn't really capable of communicating, that she was winging it, instead, by responding in generic phrases that sounded credible but didn't really add up. I miss conversation with Mum. What we have now is entirely driven by me: I say something and Mum gives an expected response which tells it back to me in hand-me-down phrases.

I realised something new this weekend. For ages, Mum has taken to reading things out to me (road signs, menus, anything on shelves in a store). At first I was irritated and would say, "Yes, Mum, I know you can read. You don't have to prove it to me." But now I understand that Mum's choice has eroded away and she's only capable of reading out the options in the hope that I will make the decision for her. This was another symptom of her dementia all along.

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