Saturday, September 10, 2016

Terminal dementia

When my mother was sinking away, loosing herself from dementia, she lost language and the simple daily actions. Yet her bread had to be prepared. Sometimes she needed to be fed. She rebelled against that. She became dehydrated because also she didn't want to drink. Thus she ended up in a hospital where they flooded her with intravenous fluids. She was more alert, more conscious of her surroundings and the people around her. When the doctor explained what was going on he used the phrase that she had "terminal dementia". Since I didn't understand what that was, I asked him. His reply was that her brain no longer could tell her she was hungry or thirsty. Thus she didn't want to eat or drink, keeping her lips tightly closed. Refusing anything to eat. I had one day a last conversation with her. She was trying to say something, made some noises that were no words. I was intend on giving her a rely, but knew not what she meant to say. Thus what did the former interpreter do: I changed the sounds she made just a little bit. We kept it up for about ten minutes. I'll never know what we said. Maybe the only thing that counted was the effort to hear her and to try and understand how she felt. Just a few minutes later she knew no longer who I was.
I have a fond memory of this bizarre conversation that brought us nearer to each other, even not knowing what we said. I guess the connection was what was important to both of us.

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