Saturday, March 12, 2011


Today is Day 7 of my mother's hospitalization. She had an angioplasty done on her last Tuesday. She's doing fine, eating well and enjoys being pampered by her visitors and the nurses. Still, she is impatient to go home. She has been lying in bed 24/7, unable to move much as her right leg is in traction. The doctors are waiting till her heart is strong enough for the hip surgery. Although she is generally cheerful especially when she has visitors, I know she feels depressed sometimes. That's when she talks about joining my younger sister who has passed on. We haven't told her about the hip surgery scheduled for next Tuesday, or she will worry no end about it.

Blocked arteries are not the only setback that my mother has. Dr Tiang suspects she also has early signs of dementia. She can't differentiate between night and day. She sleeps more during the day than at night. Her room-mates have complained that she keeps them up during the night. She's either snoring loudly or pleading with the nurses to allow  her to go home. Having a family member stay the night with her compounds the problem, as she keeps up a running conversation with whoever is by her bedside. Mom just loves to chat.

To solve the problem, every night at about 11pm, the nurses move mom to the treatment room next to the reception counter. She has the room all to herself, and the nurses are close enough to hear her when she calls for assistance. In the morning before the doctors make their rounds, the nurses move her back to her 2-bed room across the hallway. I have told the nurses I am not too happy with this arrangement.
Mom says the smile is to let family and friends know that she's fine except for her immobility.
It didn't surprise me at all to hear that mother is in the early stages of dementia. In the past two years, I've noticed she's become increasingly confused about dates, faces, and places. She can't remember where she leaves her things, and accuses people of stealing them. She is easily suspicious.

To understand my mother's ailments better, I have been reading books on caring for elderly parents, in particular, parents with Alzheimer's Disease. Looking back, I wonder if in my sub-conscious mind I was perhaps preparing myself for a time when my mother would be needing specialized care-giving beyond what I am able to provide on my own.

If you are looking for an insight into the ageing process, and how to cope with elderly parents with special needs, I would recommend the above books. I am not sure if "You and Your Aging Parent" is available now. I bought my copy years ago. "The Alzheimer's Caregiving Puzzle" is on loan from the National Library Singapore. I'm still reading it.

I shall be sharing what I've gleaned from my readings in future posts on this blog.

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