A Letter to the Fam
I recieved this email from my cousin Rochelle recently.
Thought I'd share it here on my blog (because I can), and also to emphasise how shitty and random this heartltess Dementia biaaaatch is.
Aunt Winnie taught me that girls don't have to aspire to be receptionists or "mere note-takers" or run round after others... "unless you want to, then that's just fine".
Instead, if you've got the gumption (her favourite word) - you can make a great career doing something you love and find a nice boy "wearing not-too-tight slacks" to make a good enough life together.
It has eventuated that I have done both.
Aunt 'Winnie-the-Poo' - YOU ROCK!
(I will/do miss her so much).
Aunty Win - back in her prime
To my dear family,
I've been back from overseas for amost 2 weeks and there have been a few changes with Mum (our Winnie), so thought I'd send a group email update so you all know where that's at.
Unfortunately, and as predicted by most of us, her mental health has declined significantly.
I took her to her GP and she completed a MoCA test (half hour competency testing), where the results were not flash: ie: 10 out of 30 is bad.
Poor mum scored 2...(TWO!) Is that even a number???
Thank the Lord she defiantly remembered where she was from, although truthfully, I think she must have fluked the second point by just sheer good luck!
We also discussed her anxiety levels and turns out, they've put Mum on a little 'upper' to assist with her mood. Arthur is great with mum and loves her to bits which I could cry with relief about cos he's such a caring wonderful man.
Obviously, as a retired school teacher, he revels in the role of directing and correcting! (Plus the Citalopram will be doing it's job - keeping Mum ticking along and happy to stay back after class with another special Arthur 'detention' !!!)
In the meantime, the Geriatritions will without doubt, assess Mum for 'Care-Home' level care, and I assume officially diagnose her with Dementia. This should happen soon. Hopefully, while I am still in the country - although I may be called up any day now so not sure what we do then...
Thankfully, in this hip hop zippity do da modern day and age (haha as she used to say!), most stuff can be sorted online and organised via email etc. And legally, I dont need to go to the lawyers- which is just perfect.
The best thing is that the staff at the Respite home where Mum is now are all on the same page as I am. And they have been concerned with her deterioration for a while - the head nurses have an amazing rapport with her, plus they've kept me fully up to speed on Mum.
I am just SO impressed with the set-up there!
Win gets to stay in her current apartment WITH Arthur - and the Care Team actually comes to her! This includes 3 showers a week, getting dressed daily and undressed, breakfast, lunch and dinner, dispensing medications, clothes washing, housekeeping etc.
At the moment, Mum is just having shower and dressing assistance (extra $100 a week). Once the new level of care comes through, we will apply for a subsidy as their combined total assets is less than $119k.
This new level of care will be paid from Dad's deceased estate account (ie: $23k - and then the good old government takes over...PHEW).
Our happiest (and silliest) days...
I did have Mum come stay with me by herself last week (and my girls too, much to their horror), for a night recently. She spent the WHOLE time thinking Arthur would be coming to pick her up at any second - watching out the window, pacing up and down etc.
I could tell she really would have preferred to go back 'home' to Arthur; we had to phone him a few times during the night when the panic set in.
You should have seen it the next day, though, when they re-united. I just about died... they had the biggest SNOG I've seen in ages....in front of all the staff...everyone...THEY DIDN'T CARE!!!
(I think I was actually JEALOUS!)
Mum's just fine where she is and like I said, Arthur loves her to bits. So as weird as all this is, Winnie's definitely safe and cared for. She actually does realise her memory is bad (kind of), but quickly seems to forget she had that flash of realisation and so we just move on.
She happily accepts shower assistance, and for her own dignity and personal presentation, I'm terribly thankful for that. Physically, Win looks and IS well.
Dont know what else to say but I really hope this email doesn't cause any concern for you guys. I really feel she is in the right place and I think we should all feel blessed that she married Arthur last year - as crazy as that seemed at the time.... WHO IS THIS MAN WITH THE GIANT MOUSTACH WHO IS IN LOVE WITH OUR WINNIE?
Because it certainly takes the load off me - not that I'm complaining...
It's just hard, you know?
Anyway, I hope all is well with you guys - sorry if I've rambled on but I wanted to put you in the picture seeing as you are her family,,, the people who love her the most.
God, does she even remember?
You know what...I really don't know any more. Today for example, she called me Geraldine. As in Aunty Gerry, her twin, who died when they were in their 20's. And I can tell when she looks at me that she's not Mum anymore. I hate that the most about this disease.
Anyway, I'm waiting for confirmation of my next placement abroad - not sure when or where that might be but I'm loving my Oncology nursing and the fabulous people involved in the industry so that makes it all worthwhile (as well as being the best distraction from the Win & Arthur !)
Will keep you all updated as the rest of the saga of our our gorgeous Mum/sister/Aunty's life unfolds.
Love you guys,
PS: please, dont worry about mum. She is fine, really.
PPS: we must all get together in the SAME room one day. Life's too short. - I could end up losing my mind, just like Mum. ARRRGGGHHHH!
Winnie when she was wee!