Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Update on My Mother

Photo from March 2012: me, my mother, her husband
I haven't written about my mother's health since visited her while she was still in hospital following her "silent heart attack." But a few of you have asked about her, so I thought I'd give a little update.

Steve and I went down for Mother's Day, the first one I've spent with her in decades. I was happy to see that her energy level was much improved and she was eating more; the medications and therapy must be helping out.

We had several short visits over the weekend, including a brunch on Saturday morning. When we sat down after I had cleared the dishes and perishables away, Mom chirped up, "Oh! We forgot to offer you anything to eat? Are you hungry?" Mom has always been a generous hostess.

It could not have been more than 30 minutes since we had eaten and yet it had slipped her memory. I didn't try to correct her. Instead, I answered her loving concern: yes, we had eaten, thank you.

Later, there were six of us in the room, including my brother and his partner. That makes for a lot of simultaneous conversations that can be hard to follow, even if you're at the top of your game. I noticed that Mom would be silent for quite a while, and then pick out a key word and make a witty comeback. "Oh, you just watch me!" or something socially appropriate like that. Most of the time, it worked, but there were others when I had no idea what she thought we were talking about.

When she was in hospital, her lapses were more remarkable: she still thought she lived at my childhood home in Burlington, she seemed to be living back in 1996. Those lapses have corrected themselves, but I commented to another brother that I still see short-term memory loss. Which, to be fair, is not unexpected in someone who is 87 years old! (I can only hope to be that sharp at that age!)

I think it is more noticeable to me because it had been so long since I'd had a genuine conversation or prolonged visit with her. My brothers and sisters have watched her fade in tiny increments; I have had a lapse of years. It's like seeing a young adult whom you had last seen as a toddler -- the change can be disconcerting.

This is really neither here nor there; her heart is a critical health concern and will likely take her (peacefully, we hope) long before her mild dementia becomes a cause for serious concern. She is feeble enough now that she is never left alone, so she is safe, and that's what matters.


  1. I remember my grandmother pretty much the same way... you'd think she was not following the conversation, sometimes she'd even be laying back with eyes closed; and then - boom! witty remark to something. Still sharp as a tack. LOL
    It's hard to watch the slow fade. I see little bits of memory loss and difficulties with things he easily did before in my father since his stroke. But for the most part, he's still very much on his game ...and woe to anyone who tries to throw him off it! ha.
    thanks for the update.


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