It's been a while since I've do a full update on mom. I used to post an update every 6 months, following her check-up with UCLA. Since we've discontinued our visits to UCLA, I haven't been regular about posting updates. So here it is; a full evaluation of where mom is as of the New Year, 2015.
Although mom's language showed some slight improvements a few months ago, it quickly slipped away. If you don't talk to mom on a regular basis, it is likely that you won't understand much of what she says. I'm usually able to make sense of what she is trying to say (mostly because she is very repetitive in every conversation...one clear word will tell me what topic we are discussing), however, there have been a few times where I have no idea what she is trying to say. She speaks rather quickly, but most of her speech is slurred and mumbled.
This is different from language. Mom used to talk about her childhood A LOT; memories, events from the past. She loved to talk about religion and her pioneer ancestors. As of now, there are only a few things she will talk about: how weird she looks, how nobody supports her to drive her places, how those stupid doctors shouldn't have cancelled her as a driver, how she needs more make-up, how she needs her medicine....that's about it. I never hear her talk of the past anymore. She really doesn't comprehend much of anything we say. IF she does, it is only after repeating ourselves several times and then she might pick up on one word that makes a connection. She talks but she doesn't listen. It's near impossible now to have any kind of conversation with her.
Unfortunately, this skill is rapidly declining. Mom will go several days without a shower and oftentimes my dad has to corner her while she is changing (either in the morning or the evening) and force her into the shower. Once she is in the shower, she is able to wash her hair and body with prompts from dad. Most days mom will hang her head in the sink in the morning to wash her hair and sometimes she will step in the shower to sponge bathe particular areas. But it has become a real struggle to keep mom fresh and clean.
She still brushes her teeth after every meal and washes her hands after she uses the bathroom.
Mom does still dress herself. However, most days she wears her shirts backwards and sometimes her clothes are inside out. She doesn't notice it at all.
She hasn't done much for a while now, but her days are more and more dictated by routine and familiarity. She rarely leaves the house; we can't get her to come over for family dinners or gatherings anymore. Her days consist of sitting on her bed while she waits for medicine time (she sits and waits for at least an hour before each time), playing computer games and waiting at the window for my dad to come home so she can pester him to let her drive places. Once in a while she will walk to her sister's house or attempt to walk up to the Avon Lady's house. Other than that, she is a hermit.
If we thought her menu was limited before, it's nothing compared to now. She has her "Slim Fast" for breakfast every morning and two Ensures a day: a vanilla Ensure with her daytime medicine and a chocolate Ensure with her night time medicine. She eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches everyday for lunch and alternates between sandwiches and "Slim Fast" for dinner. If we're lucky, dad might be able to convince her to eat a turkey, cheese and tomato sandwich for dinner. She no longer eats salads, tortellini, or even fruit. I don't know what will happen when she forgets what a sandwich is; it's the only solid food she eats!
She is very messy when she eats. She always ends up with jelly on her face and most times it is all over the table; sometimes the chair and floor. Again, she is unaware of the mess she makes and doesn't clean up after herself.
She seems to be sleeping through the night...although I'm not positive about that. My dad would have to speak on that one. At this point, she stays in her bed through the night and knows when it is time to sleep. She continues to nap daily, but her timing has changed slightly (she goes down much earlier now).
Mom seems to have lost the concept of time. She can still tell you the names of the months, but she doesn't seem to know what month we are in or what day of the week it is. In fact, my dad told me that on Saturday she thought it was Friday. I have tried to point out days of the week on the calendar for her and she doesn't seem to connect the dots. She still knows what time to take her medicines, but I'm not so sure she understands the meaning of a minute or hour which would explain why she sits on her bed for hours at a time staring at the clock; she is waiting for it to read a specific time as her cue of what to do but doesn't really understand how long it will take until the clock changes to that time. That's my theory anyway...
She has no concept of money. She knows she needs it, but doesn't really understand the significance or the value of costs.
So, there you have it-in a nutshell. I'm not sure if I missed anything, but you get the idea. It's a little frightening to see what is in store in the next 6 months, and the next year. Sometimes I don't realize just how bad it's gotten until I see it spelled out. It's so heartbreaking to see mom's quality of life gone. I really don't know what keeps her going, she lives for her medicine and computer games. It's a very depressing life, devoid of any pleasure. :(