What a difference a pill makes

About a week after I complained about Mom’s mood without her Zoloft, the nurse called again. The doctor had been in for the behavior meeting, and he agreed to put her back on the medicine – but at a lower dose. Mom had been taking 150 milligrams a day, and he started her back on 50 milligrams daily. I thanked the nurse with enthusiasm.

About a week or so later, I went to see Mom on a Sunday, not knowing what to expect. She was walking around the program area, and I just popped in front of her and said hello. She greeted me with a smile and a laugh, so we were off to a good start. We walked a little, and talked a little. She seemed a little unsettled, but eventually parked herself on a couch and relaxed for a little while. She was very cheerful, so much like her former self. I was relieved. She said very few coherent sentences or words, but she was in a good mood.

We stood again to walk, and she took my hand. Another good sign. It was almost lunchtime, so I guided her to a table. Turns out, though, that it was the wrong one. Since the state last visited to assess the Alz center, some things have changed. Among them: Each resident now must sit at an assigned table for every meal. This is standard in most nursing homes, but in a facility for patients with dementia, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. However, rules are rules. The husband of a patient pointed out Mom’s assigned table. An aide passed by to confirm it, but said it didn’t matter which chair she occupied. With some effort, I convinced Mom to sit down.

I got a bib to put on her and sat down next to her. I had seated Mom prematurely. It was taking awhile for her tray to arrive, so I had to keep her entertained. She was restless and wanted to stand up. I grabbed her hands and encouraged her to stay. She raised one of my hands and kissed it and said, “I love you, honey.” This sealed it for me, that Mom was feeling better now that she was back on her meds. I kept talking to her with a big grin on my face, telling her how glad I was that she felt better and that I loved her, too. She continued to try to get up, so I stood behind her with my hands on her shoulders and just patted her and rubbed her shoulders a little to keep her still. And it didn’t make her mad, thankfully. Sometimes, she is very willful when she’s being instructed.

Finally, her tray arrived: roast beef, mashed potatoes and cooked carrots. Plus cherry pie and strawberry ice cream. Classic Bonnie food. She ran her fingers through the potatoes and took a bite. She took a sip of her hot cereal. And then she lifted her fork to eat some of the meat. I was stunned she could still use a utensil. With her finally occupied, I decided to leave. I hovered my face in front of hers and we pecked each other on the lips goodbye. I haven’t been back in a week, but I look forward to more of the same on my next visit.

5 comments so far

  1. Kim P. on

    So glad your mom is feeling happier and more relaxed…and glad the Dr. listened to you.

  2. momsbrain on

    Kim, so sorry I neglected to respond… THANK YOU for your good wishes, and for reading and commenting.

  3. Jenniferjayhawk on

    Hi Emily,

    I am so glad your Mom is feeling like her self!!! There is no reason for her to be miserable.

    I was in KC last week. My brother Jeff and I visited my Mom and she had no idea who I was or where I came from. I was prepared for this but it was weird. We took her out for lunch and she just kept starring at me with a “I know you from somewhere look”.

    Nothing in life is easy and it seems to get harder the older we get. Hope you and your husband and pups are doing well 🙂

  4. momsbrain on

    Hi, Jennifer – That is tough, when the memory for family goes. Some people think it’s the end of the road with the patient – like it eliminates any reason to visit – but Mom hasn’t known me for a long time and she can still enjoy my company, take walks with me, chat, eat, etc. Still, it doesn’t take away the sting of being forgotten – even though it’s only her brain forgetting, not her soul. I’m behind on reading everything so I’m glad to hear from you!

    Take care,

  5. Jenniferjayhawk on

    My oldest brother had a massive stroke a month ago so I wanted to visit him and Mom. My middle brother just sent a email last night that he has been diagnosed with ALS. Needless to say my family is reeling.

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