Feelings of helplessness

Tonight was not a good night at all.

For the second night in a row, I had to call security to call Assisted Living to check on mom because she didn’t answer her phone. Tonight she did actually answer it and heard her press a button but that was it. It turns out that mom seems to forget at times how to answer the phone. What a revelation this is to me.

While on the phone with her as I drove home from working out she complained about how unhappy she is, that she doesn’t want to be where she is, how the food is crap, that she feels like that she is going crazy and that she’ll kill herself.

As best I could I reassured her that she’s not going crazy and that she’s not going to kill herself. Still, when I got to her apartment, I removed the scissors from her pen & pencil holder on her night table and hid them.

What mom experienced tonight I believe is Sundowner’s Syndrome. She had been crying, was continuing to cry, and was somewhat delusional in some comments she made. I first experienced this condition when she was in the hospital two weeks ago, when on some evenings she became agitated and ornery.

At any rate, I just don’t know how to handle this and will be calling her doctor first thing in the morning for some guidance. I think I’m also due for a session with Dr. R.

I spoke with my brother and he naturally expressed alarm by what I was telling him. As mom’s primary caregiver I bear the brunt and all the emotional stress. Although he speaks with her often on the phone it’s impossible for him to pick up any nuances of changed behavior. He’s always available for me when I have to shed some of this stress and I know he wants to do more but he doesn’t live near us. However, I did tell him tonight he can help me by coming down more often to see her and not just twice a year. He’s looking to come down next month or early February.

I wonder if mom will remember tonight’s episode tomorrow. I hope not. The irony, sort of, is that one of my daughters called me to tell me what a good conversation she had with mom this afternoon, talking on the phone with her for about 10 minutes. This  proves to me that what we are experiencing is Sundowner’s.

And I know it’s not going to get any easier.


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