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Helping My Mother Understand

  • My mom was deemed "mentally incompetent" following her stroke. There are a million things that highlight this, like today, when her arm slipped under her seat belt strap and she couldn't figure out how to remove it.

     

    Or, like the fact that she swears people are stealing stuff from her room, but when I look for it, it's right where it's supposed to be.

     

    And, like the times when she lived with me and she'd wake up and insist that I moved all the furniture in her bedroom while she was sleeping. 

     

    And, when she'd wake up at 3am and insist that we slept in and demand her breakfast. I could show her that the moon was still up and she wouldn't accept it. I must have done something to make it dark outside.

     

    And, how she was offered free equine therapy, but refused to take it because they wanted her to start out in a cart and not on horseback because she couldn't sit up straight or sit up for more than 30 seconds without drifting to one side or the other. "They don't know what they're talking about," she said. "I may not be able to sit up in a chair, but I'm not going to fall off a horse."

     

    Despite all this, my mom doesn't realize she has limitations. Most of the time, I just bite my tongue, but the doctors all say she needs to accept her reality and learn to adapt to her new lifestyle. 

     

    These things aren't so bad, but my mom also refuses most forms of occupational therapy because she says none of it will matter when all her physical abilities go back to normal. 

     

    And, my mom keeps talking about how she is going to live on her own.

     

    And, my mom says she's going to get a dog and a house. 

     

    She's going to live with so-and-so (The name changes a lot, but it's often another family member or an old friend) until she's back on her feet. She doesn't mind sleeping on the sofa. 

     

    We have been through this 1,000 times. "Mom, who will dress you? Who will change you? Who will bathe you?"

    "So-and-so will." 

    "Mom, that's a big job."

    "Ok, I'll do it myself."

    "Why don't you do it yourself now?"

    "Oh, you just know everything, don't you?"

     

    Most of the time, it isn't so bad, but she gets combative and blames me for holding her back a lot. Today, my mom said she's getting a job. She's going to save up and move to another state where she will live with so-and-so (a woman who opened up a donation account in my mother's name a while back and then kept the funds for herself). 

     

    "Mom, you need a guardian. The court won't let you be without one and I can't be an effective guardian if you're out of state."

    "I have a plan. I have a checklist. I'm going to complete it and then I won't need a guardian anymore and then I'm going to go."

    "Ok, mom."