Friday, October 20

More Adventures of Crazymom

I haven't written about Alzheimer's lately, in part because I was trying to give a fair trial to the absurd diagnosis from the Institute on Aging at a certain religious hospital on the northside of Indianapolis which is supposed to be the best in the city. My sister discovered two weeks ago that Mom was supposed to have been scheduled for a four-week follow-up exam, an interesting omission on their part since at the meeting with the family the doctor went into great detail about what needed to be done in the next six months. But she left the follow-up out somehow, and it was only caught when my sister called the social worker, who'd been on vacation when the meeting was held, to explain that our mother, now taken off her dementia drug in favor of Zoloft was behaving, well, as if she were demented:

• She told the woman at the desk there was a man in her room using the telephone, and they had to come up and make him get out. They ran up and found him--he was on the phone, all right. He was also on the television.

• She has repeatedly entered the apartment below hers and called the desk to report that someone had moved all her furniture around.

• They found her with suitcases packed (a regular pastime of hers) one morning and were informed that her recently deceased husband was coming in the truck to pick her up. She was fully aware that he was dead.

• Zombie husband then kidnapped my sister's oldest child and took her to Florida.

• The next day she went to the desk at 4 AM to report that her children had not returned from school.

This, you might imagine, has begun to convince us that the new medical regimen was falling short of expectations, which is what got my sister to call the social worker in the first place. The social worker suggested that one reason they may have missed the dementia was there was not enough emphasis placed on it in the pre-exam questionnaire my sister filled out. She told me earlier this week that my mother's cheery demeanor at the exam might have thrown them off, and that, while they had an affidavit from the supervising nurse at the assisted living center, a woman who is around my mother 40 hours a week and has 25 years of experience in geriatrics, they couldn't use that as evidence and really needed to hear it from a family member, which they didn't at the last exam because my sister was working and I was on my deathbed.

There are times when I convince myself that there is no solution to the political mess this country has created absent some huge disaster, that at some point in the 1970s (my estimate) we passed some invisible mile marker where brain power was no longer sufficient to keep pace with "reality", that this is widely if tacitly understood, and that as a result practically every last person you meet on the street is a lying cynical bastard who would do any nasty bit of self-serving business for $20, let alone for the opportunity to appear on television. And more and more I call those times "the good days."


spaghetti happens said...

Good luck with your mom. Mine's 89 and kind of a pain in the ass, but she's got all her marbles. She spent 60 years living her life through Dad, and now that he's gone she doesn't have much left for herself. So she's lonely as hell but she hasn't left us yet, and that's a good thing.

And television? I swear, if it weren't for major league baseball, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert I'd pull the plug tomorrow. ('Course, baby'd be pissed 'cause she couldn't watch "East Enders", and that would indeed be a problem.)

R.Porrofatto said...

I ain't no MD, but in my limited experience with loved ones, certain SSRIs (and expecially shit like benzodiazapines) seem to contribute to dementia rather than alleviate it. It's unlikely, but here's hoping the Zoloft isn't adding to your troubles.

D. Sidhe said...

I... have no deseire to appear on television.

Second what R says, Zoloft in particular left me barely able to concentrate, but while it may be contributing it's probably not the whole problem.

isabelita said...

My mother came to us four years ago on an anti-dementia med called Exelon, AND Zoloft. The Exelon made her faint, and teh Zoloft gave her the squirts. BAD combination.
She's been off both of them for a couple of years, and is a bit dingy, but not awful.

R V Dump said...

Mr. Riley -
I'd like to lend my affirmation to your theory of the $20.00 whoredom rife in today's society. Long story short--I had a cat--not just any cat, but the greatest fucking cat in the whole of creation. An irreplaceable cat. Said cat got a needle (sewing) caught in the soft palate (really, my fault because I didn't know where wife put it up). Took cat to vet for extraction, should have been routine. Cat came home but wasn't the same. Drooling buckets. This went on for days with constant calls to the vet, constant reassurance that cat would be OK. After 5 days, vet thinks that a little Xanax might help. Vet miscalculates dosage, and prescribes a 10 times dosage of what should have been perscribed. We take cat to vet on emergency run, vet tells us to let him sleep it off. The next morning, cat is still fucked up. Call vet, vet admits to overdosage (those decimal points are tricky--jump around, don't you know.) Take cat back to vet, vet says tests will be run. Vet calls back an hour later and says that cat is in total kidney failure--there is nothing that can be done. Now cat is dead--even though it was in perfect health apres needle. Vet insinuates that I let cat get into something toxic -- a la antifreeze. Patently impossible. Vet is fired, but my best buddy is dead DEAD!!! They pull t6his shit and blame it on me--I guess that's my point. I am greiving hard--they don't give a rat's ass. Stay strong. I pray to whom I have no idea for the people like you.

Mr. Curmudgeon said...

I love your last paragraph, you must be my long lost twin....