I exploded today. Poor mum
... I’m scolding mum. She’s taken her nappies off for the third time today. Everything’s pished. I try to explain to her in a clear, slow voice: 'Don’t take your nappy off'. I selfishly add: ‘It makes me have to work very hard. I have to change all the sheets and wash everything’. Over and over again.
‘I’m silly’ she whispers.
'Try not to take your nappy off.' I sound like a broken record.
She looks me in the eye and says: 'You don’t know that I don’t have a brain'.
I feel bad, guilty, but I can't resist, and again repeat, ‘Don’t take your nappy off’. But then it hits home. Her vulnerability, her smallness, her confusion. I know she can’t help it. How can she help it, she has dementia. She feels terrible, and I only make it worse.
I need to adjust to this new stage and deal with it patiently and lovingly, like I’ve adjusted to all the shifting stages over the last few years.
Mum’s still taking her nappies off at night and hiding them in her blankets and other secret places in her room. I tried wrapping the nappy around her with masking tape to distract her from pulling it off but it didn’t help. All the layers of the protective mats were wet as well as her doona and pillow. Lately, this has been happening daily and sometimes twice a day when she’s had a nap.
Of course it’s pointless losing my patience with mum. She really can’t remember. But I guess it takes me time to adjust to a new shift in mum’s functioning,...more time than I thought.