Mum was really jolly on the phone after her doctor’s appointment – see ‘And sometimes you despair’. A jolly mum is pretty unusual since she’s been suffering with dementia; sadly it was quite rare even before!
I had been quite concerned about her for some days; she had been very distressed, crying and asking me if people could come to the house and take her away without her agreement.
Obviously I was concerned and tried to understand who she felt might be threatening to take her. All sorts of nasty visions came to mind from loan sharks to con-men preying on old ladies.
“Who has been saying this? Why are you scared?” I asked. “Has something happened?” I became even more concerned when she started to tell me, initially in bits and pieces, and then more coherently, that she had also been asking other people the same question.
“Could someone come to the door and drag me from my home? Can I stop someone from doing that?” The list of who she had gathered for support was quite impressive and even included the neighbour, whom only the week before, she had confronted with the accusation of stealing her newspaper and ham!
Two of the neighbours had become so concerned about her that they had taken her to the Citizens Advice Bureau. Thankfully the staff there had been too busy to help on that day so mum had gone home and called her solicitor. The solicitor was in a meeting so finally mum had called her sister; someone she only speaks to once a year.
By all accounts everyone was horrified that someone was going to bundle mum into a car and take her away against her will.
After lots of questions from me and many tears from mum, I finally got her to tell me if there was a specific person she was concerned about, “Yes she said. You know who!” ‘No, who?’ was my response. She sighed dramatically and said “I know you’re in on it too!”
It turned out that the threat was my sister, who mum believed was planning to drag her into her car assisted by the carer. I was stunned!
On questioning her further, she couldn’t say why any of us would want to do such a thing. Or rather she acted as if we were all plotting against her and were each a part of the conspiracy. No amount of persuasion calmed her down or reassured her that my sister had no motive for kidnapping her!
This story went on for several days with varying degrees of drama. It then dawned on my sister and I that mum had a doctor’s appointment coming up and she always gets anxious before an appointment. We have noticed before that anxiety seems to increase the imaginations; usually unpleasant ones!
Mum is quite smart when it comes to things she doesn’t want to do (more on that coming soon). As you will have read in ‘And sometimes you despair’, she tried several ways to avoid the appointment.
Mum was a little better the evening before the appointment but she had decided to walk to the doctors as she still didn’t trust my sister enough to get into her car. She still thought that perhaps she would be driven away never to be seen again, and assured me I would be sorry if that happened!
On the day of the appointment my sister wisely didn’t engage with mum and her imaginings, but phoned her half an hour before to ask, “Would you like me to pick you up in the car, mum? Or would you like to walk?”
This approach seemed to work as mum agreed to a lift although she did question my sister on where she was being taken as soon as she got into the car.
Later that evening I called her, “Hi mum, just checking you weren’t kidnapped!” was my opening line.
She happily told me I was imagining things and then went to great pains to tell me how silly I am sometimes…
I had to laugh because sometimes if does feel like I’m the one losing my mind. Occasionally I even find myself wondering if these crazy stories could possibly be in my own imagination?