Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mom Goes On Another Adventure

 I'm not sure how my blog has managed to evolve (or devolve, depending on how you look at it) from a blog about my life as a gay LDS actor into a blog about my life as an excommunicated gay LDS actor to a blog about my Mom's dementia, but it seems to be that way today.

Just after writing my most recent post last night about my mom's deteriorating mental state, she once again kept us on our toes when she went missing this morning.  I guess she had made an appointment with her hairdresser this morning.  I would gladly have taken her if I had known about it.  When I woke up, there was a note on the back door from Mom telling me she had gone to the hairdresser.  Normally, this wouldn't seem like a big deal.  I think Mom has been going to the same hairdresser for 40+ years now, and her home (where her salon is) is not terribly far from my mom's.  Mom has been there hundreds of times and has often walked over there.

Yet there was a nagging feeling in my gut that made me think I ought to go over to the hairdresser's neighborhood to pick Mom up.  Before I could, my sister arrived.  I told her where Mom was, and she asked if she should go pick her up.  I said it was probably a good idea, and since I had to go to work pretty soon, I decided my sister could just pick Mom up.  But when my sister called the hairdresser, she informed my sister that Mom had never shown up.

My niece, nephew-in-law, sister, and I all went looking for her.  I called work and told them I'd be late and we individually searched for Mom (in the hairdresser's neighborhood, in my mom's, and in places that she frequents often).  Some of my mom's neighbors got involved as well.  No luck.  Mom was nowhere to be found.  Because Mom's sense of direction has always been awful and has been even worse since her dementia has taken hold, she literally could have gone any direction thinking it was the right way to go, so we had no idea where she might be.

After no luck finding her, we decided maybe we ought to call the police.  My sister said she would so and told me to get to work.  Strangely, I wasn't worried.  It's not the first time Mom has gotten lost, and it was almost like, "Figures," rather than "Oh, my gosh, where could she be?!"

By the time I got to work, my nephew-in-law informed me that Mom had returned home.  From what I can glean, Mom headed over to the hairdresser's and either couldn't locate her house or couldn't figure out how to enter her salon.  Never mind that Mom has been going there for years.  That silly dementia sure wreaks its havoc on a once sharp mind.

Mom then wandered elsewhere.  We're not sure where nor is she.  We think she was in a business area rather than a residential area because she came upon a drinking fountain.  She also said she might have been in Taylorsville (which is possible; Mom lives in Midvale, but Taylorsville is not beyond the realm of possibility).  Wherever she was, a kind couple sensed she was lost when she asked the man how to get to State Street.  When he asked her where she lived, she said, "Midvale," he told her he'd better drive her, so I'm guessing she was not close.  He actually was driving that way anyway and dropped her off at the house.  My sister was on the phone with the police when she came back, so I guess all ended well.

When I talked to Mom about it, she remembered it and admitted she was lost rather than trying to downplay it.  It gave us a good chance to take about her memory problems and our concerns for her well-being.  Mom said she sometimes does "idiotic" things.  I said, "Don't say that.  It has nothing to do with idiocy or stupidity, Mom.  Dementia is a disease just like diabetes or heart disease, and you have it.  It's not your fault; it's just what the disease does to your mind.  But you can understand why we might be concerned about you?"

I don't know how much I got through to her or how much one really can get through to her, but it at least gave us the opportunity to talk seriously about her issues.  It can be exciting and stressful having a parent with dementia.  More excitement than I wanted today.

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