I took mom in yesterday for her 3-month check-up. Before going, I faxed over a two page letter to the Dr updating him on the past three months and listing questions I had. I didn't really expect him to discuss it at that time, with mom there, but thought he may be able to gloss over a few issues and possibly set up an appt for me to come in to discuss the issues. Not only had he read the faxed letter, but he responded to everything. I must say, I was at first very uncomfortable having mom right there with me and discussing issues about her in front of her that I would not have normally done (occasional incontinence, balance problems, speech problems, etc). I then realized that the conversation was going right over her head, and also came to realize that Alzheimer's is certainly marching on. I think when you spend so much time with someone with this disease, you don't realize all the changes that are going on. But her Dr hadn't seen her in 3 months and apparently he was aware of the decline she'd made. This is the first visit that he discussed things so freely in front of her. I was cringing at the thought of leaving there, getting into the car and hearing how I should not have sent him a letter about her without her knowledge and having discussions of her, etc etc etc....nothing was said, so yesterday was certainly enlightening for me in more ways than one.
I had also been concerned because mom at times seems to slur her words and her arms tremble. He feels that she has not had a stroke and that what I am seeing is just part of the disease process. He went on to explain what will happen "down the road" to her language skills.
From there, we discussed her occasional incontinence and this time he spoke directly to her explaining to her that as we age, our bladder doesn't signal our brain the same way it use to, so she can no longer depend on her bladder or bowels telling her it's time to go to the bathroom; that we need to set up a scheduled bathroom time and she needs to understand that she will have to listen to me or her daytime caregiver. Mom, being a very very stubborn woman, smiled at him and said "ok, I will"...he said "I have a feeling you are not this agreeable with your daughter and caregiver" and she just smiled. He then went on to talk about how our parents know exactly how to "push our buttons" and even though she has "this going on in her brain".... "button pushing" is something they don't forget...he mentioned Paul Reiser in his old TV show "Mad About You" use to say that the reason parents know how to push our buttons is because they installed them !! I had mentioned to the Dr in my letter how she never wants me to leave her side and when I do, even for a few minutes (literally) she says when I return "where were you? why were you gone so long? I thought you deserted me!!! I was all alone"...I have been so caught up in the guilt of these statements, and knowing her past history of being a holocaust survivor and now Alzheimer's that I lost sight of the fact that she has ALWAYS been a remarkable manipulator...man, can she lay guilt. So now, I have something to work on; getting beyond the mother/daughter relationship and not allowing her to push my buttons. I still have every intention of being there for her, to love and care for her, but to not allow her to make me feel guilty if I want to watch a TV program in another room with my DH, or to go and check emails, etc... I've rambled on enough here...Linda, are you proud of me or what??? Everyone, be well... Mimi