It’s my mother’s 92nd birthday on 18th February, but unfortunately like last years she will have no idea that this day is any different from any other day. However on her 90th she did understand what was happening, but sadly it wasn’t a happy time. I had arranged for a number of friends and family to attend a tea party at my house to celebrate. I made sure we have all the things she liked to eat, from small sandwiches to la birthday cake and in particular I had made sure I had used bone china cups and plates and pretty napkins and tea cloth. All the things that were important to her.
I picked her up from her nursing home and she was looking pretty much as normal, very smart with earrings and pearls on. Everyone was in place to give her a surprise welcome at my home, but as soon as she saw them that’s when the afternoon turned sour. Nothing was right in her eyes, from who was there, what people were wearing to the seating plan. Unless the conversation was directed 100% of the time at her she just looked out of the window and ignored everyone. Her neighbour from her old house was there, and they have both supported each other through their husbands respective deaths and the normal family crisis’s that occur. Infact the said neighbour was also very good at helping my mother recover from some of her attacks which we now know to have been the effects of a stroke caused by her dementia, but described as ‘her funny turns’ as the doctors seemed totally clueless as to what they were. Back to the party – my mother turned on the lovely supportive neighbour and just told her exactly what she thought of her – which was that she was opinionated and just wanted to be the centre of attention all the time etc etc – infact describing herself (i.e. my mother) to a tee and not the neighbour!
After that the party quickly finished with lots of apologies all round, apart from my mother who was obviously completely oblivious to her offensive comments. I vowed at that point to be very careful indeed who my mother met and to make sure that all realised in advance this was not what my mother ever thought regardless of what she said. Fortunately this phase didn’t last too long but whilst it did it was upsetting to all concerned as my mother looked and sounded exactly as normal but just what she was saying was all so wrong……
TO READ CATRIONA’S PREVIOUS DEMENTIA BLOG POSTINGS : www.talkhealthpartnership.com/blog/category/inhouse-blog/catrionas-blog/