Essaying the Situation
Monday, July 17, 2000
Mom is restless tonight... I thought, for the hell of it, I'd e you about it.
    A night like this is not unusual for her. She has a doctor's appointment tomorrow for her bladder infection. I've already told the doctor that she also needs a general physical and there are a few other things I want to discuss with him. For instance, she's always slept a lot, but she is sleeping significantly more lately. Her memory has been declining slowly but, lately, she seems to be in a daze, which doesn't help. I've mentioned these to her but she's been in a daze and she doesn't remember...
    Tonight I told her that I did not want to talk for her but I would be speaking up if she left anything out.
    "Like what?" she asked.
    "Like the noticeably increased leakage, like your sleeping, like you not wanting to go out for any reason." I can understand her not wanting to go on my interminable day trips to Prescott. I made another one this morning and was back in the Valley by 10:00 a.m. For the last three days though, she's dismissed every opportunity to leave the house. Occasionally it's hard to get her to accompany me but I always insist. When she doesn't want to go anywhere it's usually because she's groggy from not moving and smoking. She needs to walk around a grocery pushing a cart. I finally gave up today and went to the grocery without her because we were running out of staples and she would not budge.
    "Yes," she says. "We need to be sure and tell him about my leaking. I guess that's unusual."
    It's why I finally convinced her to go to the doctor.
    Although she doesn't appear anxious I think she's intimidated about going to see this doctor. I'm not. I'll be shocked if there is something seriously wrong with her. But she's the one who lives inside herself. Maybe she knows something I don't.
    There was a time, less than a year ago, when she had no qualms about doctor visits. She looked forward to getting physicals because she was healthier than her 45 year old physician, as he often told her. I think being diagnosed as an Adult Onset Diabetic hit her harder than she's willing to admit. Despite the sloppy diagnosis, I don't think her former doctor was wrong. I think he needed to analyze her diabetic profile and pay attention to types of treatment appropriate to her age group. He diagnosed her without aid of a fasting blood sugar test. He based his diagnosis on 3 annual blood samples and sent her on her way with a prescription for a high and frequent dose of Glucophage and the advice, "You can eat all the popcorn and peanut butter you want." These being two of her favorite foods, this pleased her and, as you know, she takes her medication only when she feels like it, saying, "I feel better without it." She refuses to check back with her former doctor for medication adjustment. As well, he didn't schedule her for any follow-up visits and took offense when I asked him for more information about her diagnosis and treatment. I'm not sure why he took offense since that was the first (and last) time he'd met me and I was a bit intimidated, myself, asking after her. I made a point to be polite and meek so as not to alarm her. None of this factored a positive sum for me so I found her another physician who specializes in geriatrics. Now she's scared. It wouldn't surprise me if she is diabetic, which probably accounts for her raging bladder infection. Both are common in people her age. Reasoning with her, though, isn't making a difference in the way she's reacting to this particular doctor's appointment. She tells me it isn't necessary, everything's fine, she doesn't need to see a doctor. I think my 82 year old mother finally feels mortal.

    I am sitting at the computer desk in the living room directly across from her at the dining room table. She is sitting in the dark. The only illumination is from the computer screen on my side of the conjoined areas. I can see peripherally that she's looking in my direction but I know she's not looking at me. I know she is thinking something in her daze.
    This seems to me like a type of dementia but I think it's more a depressive dementia, prodded by physical debility. The physical debilities can hopefully be alleviated. I have no idea what the prognosis is for the part of the dementia due to depression. I would guess it is "treatable" if the person manages to outlive it.
    I'd love to know what she's thinking. I've asked her. She always has slick answers that mean nothing.
    "Oh," she says. She looks down at the table. There is always a magazine or a piece of opened mail or both in front of her. "I was just thinking about this," she taps the paper.
    Since I know she wasn't I don't ask her what it's about. If she's reading something that makes her think she always mentions it to me immediately.

    She is up and has announced that she's going to bed.
    She walks toward me. "Can I kiss you good night again?" She's smiling rakishly.
    "Yes. Of course. I deserve it. I'll meet you halfway."
    We both laugh.

    She's in bed now.
    As I retire I'll check to see if she's breathing.
    Thanks. I can go to bed now.
    Goodnight. --Gail

[e'd to a friend, with a few edits, here]
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