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  • Jane

Mania: it takes a village to settle mum

Sunday 14.3.21

It’s been a rough couple of days. On Friday, mum started showing signs of ‘mania’. I’m not sure of the correct terminology, but suddenly she became alert, chatty and reflective which was out of character to her usual subdued self.

By Friday evening she had raided my wardrobe and had dressed herself (for the family dinner) in a random selection of clothes which were far too tight on her. But you could tell she felt pretty, with her bright pink lipstick and her wiggling hips. The whole evening she barely sat down to eat, fussing and poking around the house, carrying piles of her ‘treasures’ in assorted shopping bags - tomatoes from the garden, books, photo albums, a shoe, an old watch wrapped up in a sock, a scarf …

She was still awake when the last family member left around midnight. Usually she would have napped on and off throughout the day and be in bed for the night by 8pm. Over the next few hours I tried settling her but she was up again in minutes. By 2.30am I was exhausted, so I turned a few lights on, mumbled good night and left her pottering around the house. Then I crashed till early morning.

When I awoke I could hear voices belonging to the two tenants whom I have nicknamed the ‘Angels’. Lina was trying to pacify mum with a hot cup of tea. Sisira was trying to help mum get dressed. Soon after I saw my son Coby leading her back to her bed. I have an app on my phone that connects to a camera on her wall, so I could witness everything. Mum was so high that she didn’t recognise where she was and was insisting that Coby drive her to ‘her home’. She had no idea where that was, yet was eager to show us if we brought her a ‘Melways’.

It takes a village to settle mum

By the time I eventually crawled out of bed mum was unmanageable. She was insisting we drive her to the corner of the main road, so she could visit her old friend, Nina Narodowski. She was unaware that Nina had passed away a decade ago. At the same time she was convinced that I was Nina, and Coby was Nina's husband, Sam Narodowski.

By now her mind was a complete jumble. It was impossible to hold her back as she tried to escape in every way possible. As unsteady as she was, she managed to climb over the low brick porch, and stood defiantly in the pouring rain. We eventually enticed her back in, but then she charged towards the back door and sped outside. We then double locked all the doors. Mum continued to beg us to take her to her friend. She looked so miserable and forlorn: ‘I’m not feeling well, please, please drive me.’ It was difficult to refuse her in this state, so Gil (my other son) and I drove her around the block in the pouring rain while I held onto her to stop her from opening the door and jumping out.

Once home, the begging resumed, but this time she insisted we take her to the supermarket on the corner. We decided to walk with her despite the heavy rain. I guessed she had had a minor stroke because by now she could barely walk, leaning over to one side and dragging her foot slightly. Gil held her steady with one arm around her, the other hand holding the umbrella. I met them there with the car and she seemed to be slightly appeased. Home again. I called the weekend GP and made an appointment for mum. We decided to give her a sedative. It was early evening, and Gil coaxed her into bed. She was very unsteady on her feet so I lay next to her in case she decided to get up again.

The sedative eventually worked and she slept the whole night. So did the household - we were all drained.

Around 10am I brought in her breakfast and she was alert, happy, and hungry. She then fell back into a deep sleep.

Let's hope she’s come through the other side of mania and wakes up as her old loveable self.

Note: We suspected she had a Urinary Tract Infection. Her test came back positive and we started her on antibiotics. This was probably the reason for her mania.


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