Mary Ann had vivid dreams all night long, waking often, sometimes only minutes after the last time up.  Even though she was up, each time her visual experience and awareness included whatever she was dreaming.  The people now had a baby.  She and they were in Alaska.  More than once when she awoke, she was in Alaska.  She was never here at the house sitting on her bed.  Each time I had to try to convince or just raise my voice and insist that she lie back down.  This went on throughout the entire night.

Of course, more than once she wanted to get up and get dressed — mostly to go back home.  Once I woke up with her sitting down on my bed almost on me, unaware of where she was.  When I woke at 7:15am (having been up with her at least two or three times an hour until 6:15am before that) she was sitting on the edge of her bed, pj’s off, determined to get dressed.  She, of course can’t do so without someone getting the clothes and putting them on her.

I got her dressed.  Then we went out for pills and breakfast.  She was doing lots of hallucinating during the course of that time, but they were more manageable than last night.

After eating, I left her at the table since she seemed settled there.  I asked if she was okay there while I took my shower and cleaned up.  She said yes.  I was glad she did since part of the reason for my leaving her sitting there is that the chair she is in is heavy and has arms, not allowing her to hop up and fall.  She has now been sitting at the table for over two hours.

She did manage to lose track of how she was holding her cup of ice water and ended up pouring it out on the table.  Much of the time she was sitting there she was making eating motions as if she was picking things up from the table and putting them in her mouth.  After a while she lay her head on the table.  I asked her a couple of times if she wanted to go in and lie down for a nap, saying that it would be better to nap earlier in the day than later.  Once she sort of snapped back that she was fine — the tone was, “just leave me alone.”

Her head has been up and down at various times.  I headed out to the dining room every ten minutes or so to ask if she needed anything.  She has stayed there all morning, always responding that she is fine..

County Health Nurse Linda came by and gave us out H1N1 flu shots.  Mary Ann was a little responsive to her.  Later I asked if she was hungry.  She said yes.  I reheated the half of a hamburger sandwich from yesterday and brought her Pepsi and chips.  She had her face pretty much in her plate and got a bite or two of the hamburger.  Each time I offered any sort of help, she refused it.

Then she dumped the Pepsi out on the table as she had her water earlier.  After cleaning it up, I got a cup that was left over from when our Granddaughters were here.  It is a small plastic cup with a tight lid and a large plastic straw that reduces the leakage should it go over.  That is now there for her to use.  She did drop in on her chair, but nothing leaked out.

Finally, after a long time of getting no food, I asked her if she wanted any of Mary’s Jello, Cool Whip and cottage cheese salad.  I brought it and asked if she would let me put the spoonfuls into her mouth.  She agreed.  At least she got some nourishment.

After a bathroom trip, she wanted to return to the table.  The television is on, a loud submarine war movie that sometimes catches her attention.  Her head is on the table at various times.  I continue to check on her and ask if she wants to move back to her transfer chair by the television (her usual spot) or lie down in the bedroom for a while.

Last night returned me to the edge of my capacity to handle Mary Ann’s needs here.  Once a few years ago, when discussing Mary Ann’s care needs with our daughter, Lisa, who served as an Administrator of a very large multi-level care facility for the older population (CCRC), she said that at that point already, her Mom would not qualify for a room in an Assisted Living facility.  She was already then past that point into full nursing home care.

The person I cared for last night would need to be in a locked Dementia wing.  I just came back from checking on her at the table, asking if she was okay there.  She said she would be there for a while.  I then went back and asked her where she was.  She answered, “Kansas City.”  Thinking she was just confusing Kansas City with where we live now since they are so close together, I asked if she was in our town, our house, sitting at our dining room table.  She looked around as if she was trying to figure that out, but did not answer.

Today I am looking at two options that seem unacceptable to me.  First of all, right now, this moment, what she is doing is something I can handle.  Last night’s experience would not be tolerable to me for more that a day or two, if that, certainly not for days and weeks and months and years.

At the same time, the thought of Mary Ann in a Dementia Unit all day and all night is intolerable to me.  At one point yesterday, she asked about my lunches with Jim and John the day before.  She was asleep all day. I had no idea she actually had a conscious awareness of those events (John’s was a coffee).  Then this morning when she seemed to be in hallucination mode, she asked what Jim had to say, referring to the lunch day before yesterday. If she was living completely in a world of hallucinations, it would be one thing.  She is back and forth.

Then, if she were to be in such a unit full time, I would not be able to tolerate leaving her alone for long periods of time.  The thought of spending most of the time, most days, in the Dementia Unit with her, is pretty tough to take.  I have been in Dementia wings, making calls on folks for a few decades, experiencing all that comes with such a place, even at best.

Add to that the loss of much of what we have worked hard over the years to save for our last years and for our kids is a tough pill to swallow.  If using most of those resources would provide a good quality of life for us it would be one thing.  The option it would provide is hardly that.

She ate only a few bites of supper.  She would not allow me to help.  With great difficulty I have now gotten Mary Ann to change for bed and lie down.  She has been completely convinced that she is not at home.  She has tried again and again this evening to get me to take her home.  We have walked around the inside of the house and to the front door.

I am going to check with the online group to see if others have had an increase in Seroquel do the opposite of its intended purpose of reducing hallucinations.  Again this evening, I had to be virtually at her side every minute, constantly trying to connect her with reality, almost completely unable to do so.

I wonder if there will be any sleep tonight.  At the moment I am not very hopeful about that.

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