Being a caregiver to a dying loved one can leave you drained of emotion, exhausted and frustrated. All perfectly 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.
Helping my gramps when making difficult life decisions, while working hard to remember she’s 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 down and step up to next level. Love for my grandmother drove my decisions down to the last morphine stick.
As our population ages the number of caregivers increase. It can seem overwhelming at times. If you don’t have a blog I would suggest checking out, it gave me an outlet. Caregivers choose to open their hearts to the emotional and physical challenges.
Dementia Induced Thoughts Of Suicide
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 Grandfather going to the grocery store. She’s had many of these episodes 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 stroke caused dementia, and at 84 she continues to slide down hill. The meds do a good job of controlling the anger and aggression but on days like today nothing short of a miracle works. Yet we have never reached for “the emergency” stash and this sinks in as I watch her doze off from the effects.
Today she did not recognize her own home and thought my grandfather abandoned her in some body else’s house while going to the grocery store. She became enraged and very self-destructive by hitting herself in the head while saying that 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 painfully reality. It was a very hard choice but a drug induced calm over self-inflicted harm is the right thing to do.
While waiting for the drug to work I showed her photos of her and my grandfather from 24 years ago, a photo of my father on a pony when he was a child and many others I took 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 Grandpa went home to try to nap and she got upset that he was not there. It took six of us to hold down a 82-year-old who barely weights 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 to hold her down to the bed, 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 to me. I would get the message across. The doctor ordered a sedative.
Watching her lose touch with reality is like seeing your child get hit by a car in slow motion and not being able to get a word out. I’m thankful for time we spent together no matter how painful. I focus on the good moments and not hold on to difficult days likes this.