Yesterday when I got in my car, the warning light came on. It said, "maintenance needed...low tire pressure, oil change due, windshield wiper fluid empty." I thought of the irony of this. I thought how I felt 5 days ago when my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia. I wanted to scream “maintenance needed" at the top of my lungs. Maintenance needed for myself as I felt I was sinking, falling into a place which I did not want to go.
Six days ago I delivered my mother’s prescriptions which were recently prescribed by her doctor. I was concerned for her and thought delivering these medications would provide an excuse for dropping in. On that morning I found my mother confused, disoriented, fully disrobed and unable to stand or walk as she sat on her bench in her bedroom. I asked my mother how she felt and she responded “I think something is wrong.”
I called 911 as per her doctor's recommendation. I'll never forget that feeling of panic as I took my mother's blood pressure The reading was so high I feared she might have a stroke. When the EMS arrived Mom couldn’t stand up or walk. She was agitated and said she didn't want to go to the emergency room. She been there only 2 weeks ago.
What ensued was 10 hours in the emergency room, admission to the hospital, and the diagnosis of vascular dementia. Skilled nursing was recommended for Mom upon discharge which was in 3 days. Scurrying to find a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation and visits to assisted living or memory care post skilled nursing facility.
Visiting my disoriented mother in the hospital, dealing with financial concerns, and long seated strained family dynamics. All the while trying to balance life with my family as things were falling apart. I felt deep sadness and anger at the disease that has enveloped Mom. I felt fear. The fear of what has happened to Mom. The fear of what might be.
Updates to concerned family and friends, fitful nights of sleep and tears in those wee hours of the morning. Attempting to keep a sense of normalcy for my adult son who lives with me as he is attending college. I tried to act strong and capable while feeling feeling a deep sadness. I felt disbelief, guilt and anger. Why is this happening to Mom? Why so soon; why so severe? This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
Constant reassurances to Mom when I visited her in the hospital. Taking care of her cat, Tess, while disregarding my own because I arrived home late each night due to the many tasks which arose. Feeling exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually. In a word, depleted.