Dementia Induced Thoughts of Suicide
Reblogged from 2005
Being a caregiver to a dying loved one can leave you drained of emotion, exhausted and frustrated. All normal feelings. I felt quilt mixed in my bowl of emotions. I grew up knowing my grandparents wanted to die at home. I would grant the wish if possible. They inspired me, saved me from parental abuse and blessed me with unconditional love. I felt terrible helping my Gramps make difficult life decisions. I worked hard to remember she is my grandmother.
There were uncomfortable conversations, articulate to doctors how she is progressing and butt heads with family members. I ran a tight ship, no problems telling people it’s time to leave, not allowing people over everyday. God blessed me with the ability to turn my depression away and step up to next level. Love for my Granny drove my decisions down to the last morphine stick. It can get overwhelming at times. If you don’t have a an outlet, please take 10-15 minutes for yourself everyday. I started my blog to document what I was going thru, hoping someone could use the information. Blogging gave me an outlet. Caregivers choose to open their heart to the emotional and physical challenges. Granny died 10 years ago yet I’m crying like it was yesterday. I loved her so much, it hurts so deeply.
Today I used one of four “in case of emergency” pills to keep my Grandmother from hurting herself during a dementia related meltdown brought on by my Gramps going to the grocery store. She’s had many meltdowns since her stroke almost two years ago. Today I saw the beginning of the end in her face. As I look at the three pills in the bottle, I try to accept that we will need to “ease” the trauma more times before her memory is gone.
Her strokes caused Dementia and at 84, she continues to slide away. The meds do a good job of controlling anger and aggression. When she unleashes her aggression, emergency meds are becoming the only option. We had never reached for “the emergency” stash and this sinks in as I watch her doze off from the effects. My Gramps can no longer leave the house and I take care of what they need.
Today she did not recognize her own house and thought Gramps abandoned her in some body else’s house. He went to grocery store. She became enraged and very self-destructive by hitting herself in the head saying she would rather be dead than left “here” by herself. I tried to calm her as I always do but today nothing worked. I tried to get her to focus on what I was saying but it was too late, she was lost in her reality. It was a very hard choice but a drug induced calm over self-inflicted harm was the right thing to do.
While waiting for the drug to work, I showed photos of her and my grandfather from 24 years ago, a photo of my father on a pony when he was a child. I took others off the walls to see if she could connect to anything. She recognized my dad but several other family members where a blur. It was so painful to watch her lose touch, it ripped my heart out.
Those four pills where the “holy grail” and they took me back to the night of her stroke when Gramps went home to try to nap and she got upset when he was not there. It took six of us to hold down a 82-year-old barely weighting 100 lbs . Her aggression reached a point she needed restraining. Her arms tied to the bed yet she managed to fight. I used all of my weight, laid on her to hold her down in effort to finishing restraining her to the bed. I’m yelling at the nurse where the hell is a shot to knock her out. The nurse did not articulate to the doctor the urgency of the situation so he did not approve a sedative. I told her if she could not articulate the need, pass the phone. I would get the message across. The doctor ordered a sedative. I’m like a drunk biker chick who takes no for an answer protecting my Grandparents. I was coming to end of my rope trying to relieve my Granny. Incompetent causes the Cherokee/German, never back down attitude to come out. I spent a minimum of 30 minutes getting her up to date, stressing Granny has meltdowns more often and the doctor should order at least one tab or injection. I must have talked to myself.
Watching her lose touch with reality broke my heart, how could I live without Granny. I’m thankful for time we spent together no matter how painful. I focus on the good moments and not rehash difficult days likes this.