Friday, June 24, 2011

Being Outside is Disturbing

Well this morning was full of Lola strangeness.  I awoke to her shaking my leg telling me to get up. That's never happened before. I had to get up because Joe was sitting outside on the back porch, and she'd brought him in. Dad was following along behind her, and I could tell he didn't have a clue.

I asked her what was wrong with that. She huffed as if only a blind person wouldn't have known. I said, "Really, Mama, what's wrong with Dad sitting on the back porch?" She said he didn't understand. About that time, Dad shrugged and left by the front door.  I don't blame him. I asked her what the problem was. She waved her hands around in the air, all exasperated, and said "He was out on the back porch with all these people around." I took that to mean the neighbors inside their houses. She muttered the word "early." By this time it was 10:00 a.m. Trying hard not sound confrontational, I said, "Mama, it's 10:00. What's wrong with him sitting outside on a pretty morning?"

She looked at me with utter disgust and told me I just didn't understand.  Sigh. No I don't understand. Usually there's something that gives away the concept or desire that's behind their inability to communicate. I can usually interpret it. This time I'm absolutely lost as to what was in her mind.

This is worrisome to me. I can understand them losing words - like this morning Dad could not come up with the word for a Dr. Pepper. I can understand when Mom says she can't remember what tuna salad is. I can understand Dad's obsession with mowing. It's tiresome, but I understand Mom thinking someone is looking in the window or wanting to know who plays the piano.

Even I can't find the words to explain how this incident differs. I'm struggling trying to write it down. It doesn't have an obvious base in reality. It had something to do with time and highlights her inability to think to look at a clock, or read the clock, or understand that it wasn't early - not before dawn, not dark. It had something to do with an idea that sitting outside where people can see you is bad.

This last year Mom has become a hermit because she doesn't want people to see her. I had thought it was because of her vanity - not excessive vanity, simply a person's normal sense of vanity. She's lost over a foot in height. She's become terribly humped. I had thought she was embarrassed at the way her body has betrayed her.

Unless I can figure out the connection with reality, it's psychotic. Psychosis requires coping skills I'm not sure I have. If we're all really lucky, it won't become an everyday problem.


Anonymous said...

It's different maybe because of her anxiety, and her inability to communicate why she is so anxious.

It's not psychosis, it's dementia, though in practice there's not much difference between the two. She could be reliving traumatic events in her life, or a scary movie she now believes is her life.

Probably the only thing you can do is stay calm and reassuring while trying to find some distraction for her; she seems to be easier to distract than Joe!

It's an awful lot for one person to handle.

Jola Gayle said...

"She could be reliving traumatic events in her life, or a scary movie she now believes is her life. "

That's something that hadn't occurred to me as being a possibility. Your comments always help. Thanks.