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Archive for the ‘Anger’ Category

Tonight I lost a favourite cereal bowl. It was hand-made and one-of-a kind. I got it at the Great Bowls of Fire benefit for the Ottawa food bank.

Recently, Mom has taken to getting angry at me if I suggest that she’s forgotten something. Usually it is because she has done something dangerous… like taken her pills when I have already given them too her. She will swear up and down that she didn’t but when I try and logically explain how I know she took the pill(s) she gets angry… often to the point of throwing things at me. Usually it is the phone receiver or the TV remote.

Sometimes, like tonight, it is because, for the umpteenth time, she has put water in her cat’s dry food dish. For some reason she has gotten it into her head that he won’t eat it if it isn’t soaked in water . In fact, he won’t eat it if it is wet. The problem is that whenever she goes near the dish, he follows her about because he things she is going to give him something else… like caviar or roast suckling pig.

I see him chowing down on the dry food all the time. In fact, when we were in the old place, he would come into my room and eat Benjamin’s food which is not soaked.

All that happens is that he won’t eat the dry food and then it goes moldy. I have tried to explain that if he eats moldy food, it could make him sick or worse but she still insists that he won’t eat it unless it is wet.

Tonight, she simply denied that she put water in the disk. Since I changed both dishes yesterday, throwing out mold food, I didn’t put water in the dish (both dishes, actually, if you count the second dish in the kitchen which she put down this morning), and the cats can’t reach the taps… It had to be her.

Not only is it dangerous for Amber but it is wasteful and the food isn’t cheap. Since I end up throwing out about 1/3 of what gets put down for Amber, probably about 1/5th of the food is wasted.

Tonight she got mad and yelled at me and a moment later, my bowl was across the room in a bunch of pieces. She said she “dropped” it but since it landed half way across the room… I know she threw it.

I know it is my fault for bothering to try and get her to remember to do or not do something or bother trying to tell her she took an extra dose of her meds.

I need to stop and let go. Just pick up the dish and throw the spoiled food out… Hide the pills in a new place and not worry because she took one dose extra… I worry that she’s going to hit me with something and may well have thrown the bowl at me if I had been in the room. It just isn’t worth the risk of her hurting me or herself.

Normally, she is placid and easy-going. It is just once in a while and always when I have pushed her trying to be logical or to “make” her remember.

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This morning, Mom apologised for yelling at me. So she remembered that which is “good/bad”. I’d rather she had forgotten.

Today was Vernon’s funeral (a good friend of hers for many, many years and husband of not so many years of another dear friend of hers at the Fellowship and the larger congregation in town). So sad to say goodbye to a wonderful man. Virginia looked so shaken and very low.

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Tonight was the first time in a long time when Mom has gotten angry when I have said she has told me something a number of times.

In this case, she had seen something on TV about a ship that was sinking and the rescue helicopter pilot refused to allow the ship’s crew to bring aboard the ship’s cat. She was pretty upset about this and repeated a number of thoughts many times in the few minutes she was relating the story. Usually, I can weather the reapeated thoughts or questions. Tonight, however, she kept coming into my room to repeat a particular thought as though it was the first time she had thought of it.

Finally, I said “Okay, Mom. You said this a number of times.”

By now she was back in her room and she yelled at me “Oh, I did not!”

I said “I’m sorry, Mom, but you did.” She came storming into my room, screeched “I DID NOT!” and I thought for a moment that she was going to hit me. I had my back to her, so I don’t know.  Maybe not the best thing to say but I said “If you hit me, Mom, I will call the police…” She said she wasn’t planning on hitting me and I have to take her word for it.

I feel badly…. But everyone reaches a breaking point. Usually, I manage to deflect her thoughts onto something else. Sometimes when I say “I know. You said.” she asks “Did I?”. Occasionally, she gets miffed.

She hasn’t responded like this in a number of years.

Mom has never taken criticism or my feelings of anger very well. Even as a child, I wasn’t allowed to get angry or question or criticize. Her response has always been to do what we in the family call her “Martyr Routine”. “This is the thanks I get…”, “You never appreciated anything I did for you…”…

A very few times in the last number of years, her response has been an irrational outburst.

One time, I was trying to get it across to her that she had to stop loaning people money after I had had to bail her out of a couple of sticky bill situations. I kept trying to tell her that she simply didn’t have any money and if she didn’t stop loaning to certain family members, we were going to be out on the street. Suddenly, she looked at me with a terrified look on her face and started a panicked wailing. I had never heard her make a sound like that in my life and I had never seen her in such a state!. To make matters worse we were in the car and she tried to open the car door while I was driving. I had to keep pressing the automatic lock to keep her from opening the door.

I managed to pull into a parking lot and get her calmed down but it scared me.

I am sure that it was the feeling of losing control — in this case feeling as though she was being told she was incompetent. The fact is, in one sense she was.

The thing is that I had a real sense of what it will be like in a few years when we “lose her” to the dementia and she loses all sense of her self.

When I was in middle school, for a short time, I used to go with a friend to help out at a senior’s residence. The ward we visited was the dementia ward. We got to know a few of the people there. There was one woman who could only talk about a fire…. repeatedly. Another woman used to steal things and impishly refuse to tell us where they were (she hid my scarf one day). She would also like to try and get someone to give her sugar. As she was diabetic, she wasn’t allowed sugar.

One of the women would sit quietly until suddenly someone would walk near her… startle her… or just smile at her and she started wailing. It was that same wail that Mom made in the car.

I know by morning she will likely have forgotten it but I won’t have and I will still feel badly.

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