When I visited my parents today, I brought a chocolate shake for Dad and a small order of french fries (from McDonald's of course) for Mom. I also bought a small diet Coke for myself going through the drive through line. I should have ordered a large; turns out all drinks are only a buck no matter the size but I didn't realize that until after I placed the order. Oh, well. That's not the point of this post.
Dad enjoyed his shake although he only drank half and asked me to put the rest in the small refrigerator in his room. Mom went right after the fries but seemed vacant, as if she was off in another world. Her thoughts, when vocalized, make little sense. She starts in on one topic and finishes with another.
My treats beat out the mid afternoon snack served by the caregivers so I ended up eating Dad's cup of diced pineapple and half of Mom's since they were "too full" from the stuff I brought. So much for my plan to just have a diet Coke this afternoon.
This evening, Mom called my home phone with the help of a caregiver. Distraught. She wanted to "see me" and wouldn't divulge the nature of her concerns over the phone. "I can't", she kept saying. It breaks my heart when her demented confusion translates into anxiety and near panic. I was told she barely slept last night. Over tired and bewildered tonight, I hope she can get some rest but I doubt it. Even if I did jump in the car to see her, it wouldn't make any difference. And so, I do nothing except sit here and think about how unhappy she seems in her world and how helpless I feel as witness to her anguish.
There's nothing I can do to fix this problem. No amount of French fries, chocolates, frequent visits, small jokes, hugs and kisses will get to the root. I feel sad. I feel I've lost her. Whenever I can (still) get her to say in response to my "I love you, Mom" a "I love you too" in return, the pain in my heart eases briefly. But, the sadness always comes back. Why can't I do something to make this better for her? (and for me?)
Dementia steals our loved ones. Cruel and insidious, I end up saying my goodbyes to her over and over again.