Mom came downstairs with an empty bottle of Robitussin the other day. A large bottle. While her caregiver was here, mom had a nagging cough. I chalked it up to the new environment and who knows, she may have picked up a virus on the way here. So, we made sure she got cough syrup every evening before bed so that she could get some rest.
Well, the caregiver has been gone now three weeks and the cough is gone, but the cough syrup bottle is empty. Let me back up a bit. I pray every day that I am a good caregiver to mom. I want to make sure she is settled, reasonably content, given balanced meals and safe. So, this morning on our customary walk, it dawned on me (I like to think God can speak to me since I am not moving quickly and mom is non-conversational so He has a chance at my attention). This whole experience with taking care of mom, albeit short is challenging me to my core. Do I love though the love may not be returned in the same way I need? Am I selfish to the core because the kairos (due season) time is not so opportune and the chronos (calendar/clock) time seems to be consumed so quickly? Ok – back to “The Cloud”…
Here was my “tada” moment…the cough medicine was like a cloud! She already has difficulty processing data – hot/cold, happy/sad, hurried/slow – and then to put her on an OTC medication, even one meant to help her, was like putting her head in a cloud. Here I was thinking that she was making tremendous progress! I could hope, but reality keeps smacking me in the face – telling me dementia is not reversible. Her recent “improvement” was simply the cloud of dextromethorphan and guaifenesin being lifted. Don’t get me wrong – if she needs medication, I will make sure she gets what she needs, but I also need to work out how things will affect her.
I read somewhere that there are OTC medications that are somehow linked to the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. There is so much information, conjecture, and postulation in regards to what causes these terrible conditions. That may be good for me so that I can try to avoid it, but that does not change where my mother is. At this point, it does not matter how she arrived at the place she is at, but how we, her family, are helping her deal with it by being the best caregivers we can be.