Saturday, 7 February 2009

one from the vaults

I was tidying up my study again last night (the clutter only makes me worry I've already started with the 'brain diabetes'), and I found a piece of Mum's correspondence from July '07 in a box I was emptying. It was a letter giving Mum permission to go ahead and remodel her bathroom at her old apartment, with the Leaseholders waiving the fee of £41.12 [story here]. Her returned cheque was attached.

As I prepared to shred the cheque, I noticed something odd about the numbers. Why had Mum put two decimal points? She had written "41.12.0". Looking over to the written side of the cheque, I realised with a shock that here was evidence that Mum was already 'time travelling'. 

Mum had written the cheque out in pounds, shillings and pence. UK currency went decimal in 1971.

If I'd seen this at the time I think I'd have felt a mixture of panic and victory: panic that things were indeed heading downhill and victory that I had some proof to take to Mum's Doctor. Nowadays, with Mum blissfully detached from worldly affairs, I can look at this as a curiosity and smile: Mum's in a good place.


elanor said...

hi greg :)
thanks for stopping by my blog, it's always good to 'talk' to other people who understand.

I remember looking back and seeing signs that the dementia had started much earlier than I thought once mum was diagnosed, lots of little things that didn't seem to mean much at the time, but with hindsight were certainly early signs.

'blissfully detached' - what a nice phrase that is, the fact that they are happy does make it easier.

Greg said...

Well to be fair, the signs were there much much earlier and it seems I was almost willfully blind to them. It's hard to understand how I didn't see what was before my eyes - nowadays I would ring alarm bells as far back as 1999. In the end, things had to get really bad before I woke up and took charge.

I think I had to grow up a little, first. Thank Goodness I did.

P said...

My mom has vascular dementia since 2001. Mom was in supported living apartment for awhile; now she's in a place with ALOT more support. Anyway, when I cleaned the apartment out, I found pieces of paper where mom tried to write down a phone number. She would write the number down ten times, each time with a different number of digits. She was trying so hard to get it right. I would cry but the phone number was for buying something on one of those odd tv ads (Typhoon in a bottle, Orange miracle, etc).

Mom could write past the time she could read. Writing was in her muscle memory. Reading was somewhere else.

Your blog helps me.

Greg said...

It means a lot to me that I'm helping, P. Thank you. And it's always good to have another friend to share experiences with along the way, so thank you, too, for helping me with that story.

It sounds like our Mothers are going down a very similar path. Your story reminds me of a couple of entries I wrote last year.

(May 5th 2008) On a piece of paper I found, Mum had been writing down the same telephone number over and over. She was getting the number right but (I think) not noticing that she'd noted it down already. Like you say, writing still there but reading on its way out.

(June 4th 2008) Mum's itemised phone bill from the Care Home showed that, over the course of a few weeks, she had lost the ability to dial my number. Whether that's to do with reading or just 'numbers', I'm not certain.