Monday, 5 May 2008

write it down

Mum was a bit croaky over the phone this weekend, so we decided that I should visit next week instead. So here's something I turned up whilst trying to clear my 'Mum' in-tray. I picked it up from her apartment last time I was down there. It's a letter that was sent to her last year to inform her of an appointment for a scan.

As you can see, it's heavily annotated by Mum, mostly with the same two phone numbers over and over. From my experiences with Mum, I'd say that she kept finding this letter on her dining table, getting concerned about the arrangements and ringing the number at the top of the page. They would have given her the correct number to call (already shown at the bottom of the letter), which she noted down before ringing. Mum's written down the number 12 times on this piece of paper alone, but I'll bet there were other places she wrote these numbers. She could have been doing this at an interval of about 5 minutes or over the course of a week.

I do recall an occasion last year where a scan was brought forward suddenly - I wonder if they just got tired of her ringing?

Just a glimpse into the mind of someone falling into dementia.


Sorata said...


The scan reminded me a little bit of the movie Memento.

Remember a few months ago you were still having conflicts whether it's the right thing to find your Mum a home? I think from all the little things you found during the cleanup, you really made the best decision. :D

Greg said...

Damn! I SO want to rename this post "Mumento" now!

Thanks for the reassurance. I'll always be conflicted, but I only have to look back to some of the freaky stuff I was writing last year to know that I did the right thing.

hugs/hugz always appreciated and returned, Your Holiness.

G x

Tilly said...

Hi Greg - I have started and completed one or two scrap books with Mum over the years - it started out sensibly - then became "random" as the boys insist on saying! - still good fun but with little purpose other than cutting out and Mum and I getting Prit-sticked to death! But now I find myself trying consciously to hold on to stuff that Mum has written - like milestones on her journey and little detours she has taken. Notes she used to leave imperiously in the diary "Would staff please use CLEAR writing" and note to self: "Why I have written this in green ink? It looks most peculiar" Some are sad, some are funny, some are waspish - but it's very much like her. You are probably already doing it but if you aren't, just stuff them in an envelope, or old file box. One day, you might be glad you did. Tilly x

Greg said...

I think this blog is my scrapbook. I'm already looking back in amazement at some of the twists and turns, at things both poignant and funny, at situations I can't believe I coped with, at early posts where I just didn't understand what was happening.

But then something could happen to this blog, some error that wipes it out leaving me with no record, no diary of what Mum and I have been through. So, yes, I ought to keep a physical record of things like this as well. I'll have to think about that. Maybe printing out the blog should be my first step.

Greg said...

I do take your point about the scrapbook, actually (I realise I didn't quite address what you're saying), but Mum doesn't write any more and can't make sense out of anything she reads - she reads the words out but there's no comprehension. For over a year or so it seems she's been unable to determine what is significant and what is not (especially with her mail). Any scrapbook we kept would be all my choices. I am thinking of taking things in that she and I can talk about, and I've a long-cherished plan to transfer my Dad's old Super-8 movies onto a DVD to take in for her. I suspect, though, that they'll already mean more to me.

Thanks for sharing the journey, Tilly

G x

Matt said...

I love the idea that this is a scrapbook.

I'm suddenly thinking of the old movies - and more so, the old slides - that we used to watch when I was a kid. I remember the old slide projector (an old metal one where you loaded the big slides individually and pushed them through) and screen, and the smell of them (yes, they had a smell - slightly dusty is all I can describe them as).

I want to see them again. I wish there were blogs 30 years ago.

Big hug.

Greg said...

That's another thing: I have boxes of slides that my Dad took in the years before I was adopted (he was using print film by the time I came along). I might have to get one of those scanners that can work with slides, or maybe find a cheap projector on eBay and do a show for Mum.

Hug returned.