Friday, January 17, 2014

And the Challenges Go On..Part 10

Seaweed, being cooked with soy sauce and sugar

Long term readers of this blog probably know that my posts labeled "challenges" here are usually about my mom. And the last time I posted about her on this blog was Aug. 2010. Wow! Four years ago!! :O At that time, dad and I were aware of her memory problem and minor confusion. But she didn't get diagnosed with dementia then, because her MRI scan showed no brain shrinkage.

Now let me give you some updates. ;)

Her problem gradually got worse, as you might have guessed. It became harder for dad and I to deal with, not only her memory loss but the stories she made up to compensate for it. (And in this four year period, dad underwent bladder cancer surgery twice.) We tried to take her to the hospital several times, but she kept refusing. Dad consulted with his relative, who used to be a vet, and he said that the medication may not do her good so we should avoid it.

So, it was Dec. 2013 when I finally managed to take her to the hospital for dementia screening. Yes, she was diagnosed with dementia, and she got on Aricept. (But believe it or not, her MRI didn't show almost no brain shrinkage again!!)

You think that made things better for us, like a magic? Huh! Let me tell you. It was the beginning  of a turmoil.
Yes, the medicine DID enhance her cholinergic function. But that means it made her more anxious rather than improving her memory.
Here's my post on my Facebook page in Dec. 2013, which was just a few examples of the agonies we had:

"Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease, mom!
Stop walking to the post office (wearing your heavy, painful artificial leg and using the cane) to withdraw money from your account again and again, and again!
Stop asking me where your bank card is again and again, and again and again and again! You agreed to let me keep it so that you won't withdraw all your money from your account.
Stop walking up to dad's orchard alone (wearing your heavy, painful artificial leg and using the cane) to take a look at the oranges when no one is around to stop you!
Stop walking down to the really ragged and rocky part of the beach (wearing your heavy, painful artificial leg and using the cane) to pick sea snails when no one is around to stop you!

About two weeks ago, Aricept made mom a bit hyper and she started withdrawing money from her postal saving account quite often. She said she lost her savings book and all the account statements. I had a hell of a time trying to check how much money she used up, because she refused to go to the post office with me and I had to go back and forth (3 times) to get an authorization letter done correctly and have her savings book re-issued.

Then two days ago, she lost her wallet. I kept the debit card of her postal saving with me, but her bank card was in the wallet. So I called the operator to put a stop on her card, then took her to the bank today. Yep, the same procedures again -- registering a new seal (hanko) and having the bank book and bank card re-issued.

Dad and I decided to keep her important bank books, seals and cards for her. I wrote on a piece of paper who has what and who to ask when she wants to withdraw money, and posted it on the wall in her room, because she kept asking us "Where's my card?""Where's my wallet?" every three minutes. (OK. I exaggerated.) And every time she was reminded that she lost her wallet, she felt down and so incapable. So tonight, I prepared dinner with her -- her favorite tempura --, which seemed to have made her feel better.

And she just came by and said that she can't find her cell-phone recharger. "


Every single day, she misplaced/lost something and had to go through a frantic search frenzy, and of course dad and I had to help her. Imagine what it was like to prepare New Year's feast with this person. LOL

And what about the photo on top of this post? Well, look at these photos below. Notice some rocks are covered with chocolate-like brown thing? That's seaweed. Today, being driven by the strong urge, mom went on the beach alone and scraped off some seaweed from the rocks and brought it home.

There's nothing wrong with that. Many of us locals do the same thing, because cooked with soy sauce and sugar or mirin (rice wine), the seaweed makes wonderful topping for cooked white rice. But knowing how slippery the seaweed-covered rock is when wet, I sure don't want her to go there alone...

Like I wrote on my FB page, living with her, life is always thrilling.  ;) 

Good thing is that she seems to be getting used to her new situation and the medication, so these days, she is less frantic when she needs to look for something. Thank goodness!



littlemancat said...

This is so sad. I was wondering how your parents are. My heart goes out to you, don't know how you manage.
Best to you.
We went through the bladder cancer with my dad too. Plus he was in the early stages of dementia and couldn't understand/remember why he was hospitalized, etc. It is so very hard explaining over and over and feeling their frustration as well.

obachan said...

Hi Mary,
Thank you. Your experience with your dad must have been hard... I know you and your family were very brave to go through that together.

I'm OK so far, and sometimes I find myself enjoying what I do for my family. But I do need to do something for myself just for a change.

Wish me luck. ;)

Badcat said...

I am so sorry to hear of the ongoing struggles with your mother. My mother struggled with my father's dementia until 2006, and she is starting to have memory loss on her own now. Your struggles are heartbreaking, and I certainly hope the best for your father and you in helping your mother carry on. BTW, I believe I stumbled upon a FB link once from one of your sites, and that your name is the same as my daughters. Peace be with you.

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