I guess the best place to really start this journey is at the beginning, when I found out that mom had Vascular Dementia and the explanation the Neurologist gave me of the “disease” and, in moms case, what caused it.
First, here is a very brief definition of Vascular Dementia per the Mayo Clinic website:
Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain.
You can develop vascular dementia after a stroke blocks an artery in your brain, but strokes don’t always cause vascular dementia. Whether a stroke affects your thinking and reasoning depends on your stroke’s severity and location.
That is the medical definition. Here is my definition:
A condition that causes a person to lose themselves and essentially become a different person. In some cases the change is very pronounced and dramatic from the beginning, in others the progress is slow. It all depends on the severity of the incident that caused the Vascular Dementia.
In moms case the progress has been slow and agonizing. Her Dementia is caused by “Mini Strokes” and according to the Neurologist she continues to have these. A Mini Stroke doesn’t cause physical deformities like a full blown Stroke does, at least not in the beginning.
Over the last few months, since she had Pneumonia and was in the hospital for almost a week, she is listing to her left side and the left side of her bottom lip droops. I can only assume this is due to the Mini Strokes taking their toll on her already frail body.
Her mind is a totally different story altogether. She has her good days and her bad days, with the good days only marginally better than the bad. The last two days and nights have been some of the worst I’ve seen, which tells me that she’s probably had another series of Mini Strokes and the Dementia has progressed further. She has an appointment with the Neurologist on Tuesday, so I’ll find out more then.
To put an even finer point on it, Vascular Dementia destroys who a person is, including their character, attitude, temperament, judgement and overall outlook on life. The person you once knew becomes a stranger to you and in my case, I’m a stranger to mom most of the time.
As with normal aging, or at least from what I’ve experienced throughout my lifetime, a persons memory fades and gets weaker. Most of the time, they will be able to remember something that happened 50 years ago easier that 5 minutes ago. With my mom that is the case all the time.
Over the course of this blog I will talk about things like dreams and dream walking, severe agitation, extreme confusion, hallucinations, sudden fear and anxiety and other conditions I have to deal with on a daily basis. These conditions are all directly caused by her Vascular Dementia.
I will also talk about what I do that works for me to calm mom down or get her back to as close to herself as possible, and the things that happen where nothing works, or at least anything I have tried.
The one question that I can not get an answer to is Why? Why did this happen to MY mom? She has been a wonderful, loving person her whole life. Everybody that knows or meets her falls in love with her and always have. She’s been a Christian since she was something like 12 years old, she has read the bible all the way through several times. But like other incidents in my life that I question, I will never know the answer.
Perhaps with this blog I will uncover some of the mystery that is Vascular Dementia, be able to pull back the curtain just a bit so others can have a glimpse of what life is like for mom, my youngest son and myself. I will open the door and take you on this journey with me into the darkest, deepest depths of a once bright and beautiful mind.