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Hi, Banker - How is your gran today? Have you seen her? Yes, I think the Scotch greatly added to her disorientation. But if she's had the dementia before--ie, the constant asking of the same questions and inability to retain the answers--this will not just go away, even with her sobriety. I just want you to know that it is SO NORMAL to be frightened and feel unable to cope when a so-much-loved family member seems to be disappearing into a world that you cannot enter or understand. Your grandmother sounds so talented and so intelligent. And as the alchohol leaves her system, she may be more aware of the mental skills she is losing. All you can do then is just be there when you can...and try to reassure her over and over that she is "okay." At this point many hospitals get the person involved in out-patient programs, and, also, assess very carefully the patient's living surroundings, how much they are on their own, etc. etc. That is the point at which a program is usually put together. For example, your Grandma could attend painting classes.

Believe me.....when I first realized that the Mom I loved so dearly and had depended on so much for her love, her advice, her humor was slowly moving away from me... no longer able to be aware of my hopes, achievements, sorrows, etc...this was the biggest blow I'd ever dealt with. My whole world...and her whole world just changed. I wanted to run a mile...in grief, fear, loss, etc. And it was only after a period of letting this role-reversal with my Mom sink in, that I came to accept that now it was MY turn to do the "mothering."

For so long, I had such cruel dreams...where I'd realize my Mom's illness was just a "mistake"--and we were all back sitting around her kitchen table, talking and laughing and drinking pots and pots of her strong brew!!...but then, of course...I wake up!! :-( In a sense, I never stopped grieving over the loss of the Mom I knew....but the Mom I was now faced with, needed all my concentration....lots and ots of loving care and reassurance.

She was always aware that she was "losing her mind"--halfway thru her illness, she was able to describe what thhis loss felt like. She said "It's like holding butter in my hand...and slowly it begins to melt...and I just watch it slip through my fingers. And I can't hold on...." I never got over that she had that moment of extremem clarity in the midst of all that dementia--and had actually been able to verbalize the agony she felt. It was such a tough time for us all....but mostly, I know, for my Mom.

I think you will feel better when a longer-term plan is made for what to do when your grandmother comes out of the hospital. But you mustn't ever feel guilty about all the thoughts that will go through you. That is soooooo normal. You are not in a situation where YOU can care for her at YOUR home......(we had full-day aides for my Mom in the apartment we got for her, in our own apt building)...but you CAN give her your love...and patience. It's not an easy time....but you learn to accept that you cannot go back to an earlier time. And that, even if the dementia should get worse, there will always be a way of communicating with her, so that she knows you love her.

My Mom was such a independent person--but she'd always shown such kindness towards others--whether she knew them well or not. Even at the very end...when her mind was so far away..she would still do things like tell her aide "Listen, it's late now and you have a little one at home to take care....so please go home and I'll be just fine!!") Well, she sounded so rational that the aide would come knocking on my or Alice's door and say "Your Mom says she doesn't need me, so I'll get going!" And Al and I would be screaming "noooooooo.......don't leave!!! She only SOUNDS okay!" :-) (Actually it was pretty funny at times!!) Anyway, even in her last few weeks, whenever a visiting nurse, or social worker would stop by to check on her, she would always say "thank you for coming...that's very nice. But I'm fine!")

I can't offer advice about your own meds, not having been on the sub or your other Rx's. But I will say, again--please do NOT go off Sub for the wrong reasons. All of us here on the board are "operating without a license" (unless there ARE some MD's on board!). So, we can speak only of what we know and what we've experienced in our OWN situations....but nobody is YOU...with your OWN personal medical needs. That's for your own doctor to talk to you about the pros and cons of what you are taking.

Your combination of depression with ADD must feel crippling at times...trying to hold such an important job plus run your family. I would suggest you ask the doctor's office to list you for any cancellations that come in before your June appt. Perhaps you can get to see him sooner. Just try not to feel overwhelmed by things (but of course you WILL! Who wouldn't?!? :-). But, one by one, you will deal with each difficulty...and you WILL feel better again, like you were so recently. Be sure to ask me any questions about dementia that may be bothering you. Also, there are some good websites.

My little baby, Theo, (all tubby 28 lbs of him) is stretched out half-under my bedroom dresser at the moment, looking like Scarlet O'Hara will his long wavy hair spread out around him! :-) He wants so badly to run and play....but when he tries--ie, shoves his ball into my lap--he just collapses. He can limp only about one block, before he has to lie down. It is so difficult to judge his pain level--he doesn't really show pain--but he moves as little as possible and is definitely depressed by his "new" body. I hope to schedule the surgery very soon. His "rehabilitation" period will be long (six weeks) and, I'm told, painful--so he will need painkillers (uh oh--Lhasas on Lortabs!!! :-) Also, I was told he'll need to be pretty immobile during that period, or the new synthetic ligament could snap. Soooooo. I will probably have to put him in his old puppy crate during the day when I'm at work. It's a large crate--room for food and water. I can put up with anything....except if he is in pain. So, I will refuse to take him fhome rom the hospital without very strong painkillers. A very knowledgeable dog person I know, said a friend's dog was in agony after that surgery...not enough pain management. But I won't let that happen with Theo. (And don't worry--I won't snoop in his medicine cabinet and sneak a few 'tabs!!! LOLOL!)

gotta run now. I'll be off and on-line as I get all my shopping done and go thru my list of dispicable chores!! Tomorrow is the big "Dog Walk for Cancer" and this is the very first time Theo will not be walking....and taking part in the agility sessions. I feel sooooo bad. He LOVES that walk. Each year we get a photo taken and made into a button of him and I grinning at each other. I'd take my little Celeste...but with her heart problems, it's just too much excitement for her. (Tho she would just LOVE checking out the butts of all those handsome little Pekes, Maltese, Shih Tzu lads, strutting their doggy stuff!!!)

Please write me and let me know what's going on, when you have a chance. lotsa love to you, Banker---and take care, xx Lynn xx





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