Thursday, November 15, 2012

Upon being Overwhelmed

Sometimes as I sit here and view the house and land I wonder if there will come a time when I do not feel overwhelmed just looking at it. There is so much to be done here that I suffer defeat in spirit that kills my desire to just jump in and start doing it.

Well, with that said, let's do an update on Lola. She's doing the same. It would be fascinating to be able to track the neural pathways that govern actions. Momma is still throwing things, and sometimes as I walk past and pick up the comb, the pudding cup, the stryofoam drinking glass, I ask her if she had fun throwing them. She looks at me like I'm absolutely crazy and adamantly declares that "I didn't do that."

There's another development with the incontinence that I hadn't expected. I know that she has a dropped bladder which I figured had caused the inability to hold her water. As far as pooping in her pants, I thought that must be because she's simply lost the ability to realize she's doing it. Now, however, she's lost the ability to control the sphincter muscle.

Lately every night has become a nasty battle to get her into clean underwear because about the time I get her stood up and start taking the underwear off, she starts pooping. She doesn't even realize she's doing it. After being caught by surprise the first couple of times, I've now assembled a mass of things to have on hand before I start the nightly change - something to catch it, something for her to sit down on in between steps, more stuff to clean with, etc.

She used to go every couple of days, and it was usually in the middle of the day. I used to think that was bad. This is even worse. Keeping her clean is becoming harder, and I'm using Desitin at a frightful rate. I have to say, I could do without this nightly chore. I guess my nose is becoming a bit inured to it, but still in all, trying to keep the room pleasant for sleeping is getting harder.

Sometimes it's the little things that break your heart. Today I brought her a bowl of soup and crackers for a meal. She looked up at me and said, "I don't think I know how to eat this."

1 comment:

Alex Dragon said...

an electric aromatherapy burner (one with a boil-dry cutout if you can find such a critter) is good for covering up smells in the air. We use one in rooms when someone is "acutely palliative" (ie, in the process of actually dying) or if there's some other reason to mask odours.

The blend of oils I use is marketed here as "easy-breathe", and it contains peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus and pine oils. You could mix together a blend that helps Lola - lavender for calming, rosemary, peppermint, bergamot etc. Use natural oils, not synthetic ones if you can, but if you shop around a bit you can find "natural oil in a carrier base" at a reasonable price. Pure oils are way too dear.

Regarding the pooping issue, do you have or can you borrow a commode chair? this can help, where you just strip off the day clothes and incontinence aid and immediately sit her on the commode chair. While she's pooping (or whatever), you can dress her into her clean pajamas and pullup, even brush her hair and wash her face or whatever soothing rituals you have for bedtime. Then stand her up to clean up (warm wash cloths are excellent, or baby wipes) and quickly pull up the depends and pajamas and she's ready to go. You can position the walking frame right in front of the commode so she has something to hold onto while you do what needs to be done. I don't know how things go over there, but here we were able to borrow (free!) a commode chair for my M-I-L from a palliative service that dealt with helping people at home both before and during the acutely palliative phase. Once Lola's tucked up for sleep you can just take the "potty" part out of the chair and go flush the contents and wash it out with disinfectant. Easier and safer for you and her.

The throwing thing is often an issue in dementia. They can and do do things that make no sense to us, but do in their own minds. They can also forget things they have done as soon as they've done them. It's all part of the grand ride that is dementia.