The Roommate Experiment

Well, we gave it the old college try but once again the roommate situation hasn’t worked out.  I was optimistic that this time it might work.  There were hopeful signs that this could be the right time.  As the disease has progressed this last year, mom is slower and calmer in some ways.  She has fewer manic episodes.  And in general she talks less.  Well, that may not be true, she talks differently.  It’s true she doesn’t really initiate much conversation anymore, but she is still a talker.  And that was in the end, the demise of this current roommate experiment.

It doesn’t take long with mom to realize she talks to herself all day long.  She gives herself simple instructions out loud, “Get out of bed, Kathy,” “Turn off the lights, Kathy,” or “Let’s go to the cafeteria, Kathy.”  And she also hangs on one word at times, repeating it 10, 20, or 50 times if someone doesn’t intervene to tell her to calm down and stop repeating.  “Let’s go for a ride in the car, Kathy.  Ride.  Ride.  Ride.  Ride.  Ride.  Ride……”

Anyone can see how day in and day out of this could blisteringly annoy you.  And couple with it that my mom’s volume button seems to have broken on high, and it’s really bordering on maddening.  

I got a call from the nursing home the other day that they were moving the roommate into another room.  Evidently the nurse was two rooms down and could hear my mom and her roommate yelling at each other.  Mom was doing her instruct, repeat, instruct, repeat cycle and her roommate was screaming at her to shut up!  Which only made my mom talk louder: instruct, repeat, instruct, repeat at full volume.  The roommate tension was starting to affect others on her hall.  

The nurses and staff at the home are very sympathetic.  They realize that this is just the way her version of this disease manifests itself.  And for every Alzheimer’s and dementia patient on my mom’s wing, there is a different presentation of the disease, different symptoms, different behaviors, different treatments.  The only thing that doesn’t change is the enormous patience and devotion of the caregivers who work tirelessly to make an unfixable situation livable.  

Her doctor made some adjustments to one of her meds to see if there is an impact.  We will see in a few days.  

 

 

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