Dementia Patient’s Have a Mind of Their Own

Last week, as I wrote about in yesterday’s post, we took my mother to the doctor. Usually, she puts up quick a fuss about not wanting to go and there is a great deal of dialog going around and around as with all dementia patients when there is change in the routine. This time, oddly enough, she really didn’t protest, she just went with the program and all seemed well. She moved very slowly, so of course, it took twice as long as usual to get her to the car, into the car, out of the car and into the office. And Oh Lord, walking into the examining room was was a trip!

Well, we are sitting in the waiting room, as we have done so many times before, I am playing with my phone and after getting bored with that, I started to look at the magazines on display. Cardine is on the other side of her, watching the news tv they have on the wall these days in the doctor’s office. I pick a few magazines to look at. They were on a table in-between my mother’s seat and my own. I’m sitting there… la-dee-da, reading going through the magazines, happy as a clam, when Mom turns and starts eyeing the array of magazines on the table. She reaches out and takes about 4 magazines, puts them on her lap and starts to breeze through the top one.

Now, why would I be surprised about this? Well, never but never, in all the time that she has ben with me has she ever wanted to read a magazine in a doctor’s office. It’s always been offered and I was turned down every time. I stopped asking after awhile. But this day, she had it in her head that she wanted to look at magazines. Ok, I was happy about that, it was a good thing. She was engaging herself into something, showing curiosity which I found very promising.

With that, Cardine reaches over to take one from her so that she could read it. My mother grabbed the magazines and held onto them like it was her first born, not saying a word, just holding on tight. Cardine of course let go and went with the moment knowing she was not going to win against Mom’s determination.

Below is a photo of Mom and Cardine sitting in the wating room after the tug of war occurred. The younger photo is of Mom (right) and a friend.

mom_doc_july14_2  mom-friend2

Then the nurse came out to call us into the examination room. We said, ok, it’s time to go in, and instructed Mom to put down the magazines. You can only imagine…she wouldn’t put them down, refused as a matter of fact. It was becoming comical at this point so we just ran with the ball. We let her keep the magazines and proceeded to go into the examination room at a snail’s pace. Glad nobody was behind us, but they are very understanding in this office as her doctor is a geriatric doctor and is used to this behavior.

I’ve thought about this incident all week and in looking back, it was really quite funny…not making fun but it was sort of like a sit-com on tv watching her and Cardine tugging back and forth with these magazines. and to think that she actually was interested in seeing the pictures was impressive to me.

Just goes to show you that you can never predict on past behavior with a dementia patient. Every day is a different day, every experience is unique and it remains quite a mystery as to what is going on in their minds.

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