Things are going downhill at an alarming rate. Mom's been totally disoriented for days now, having no idea where she actually is. She thinks we're at the hotel at Pechanga Casino.
Pechanga is her favorite place, and we used to go there a lot before my brain surgery. Since then we've often talked about staying at the hotel there, but we never actually did it; I kept telling her that maybe the next time my husband's here we could all go. Now, even though she's never actually stayed at that hotel, that's where she thinks we are. She's gotten belligerent after telling me to "call someone [meaning the front desk] to come up here and help us get me into my wheelchair" so we can "go downstairs and play the slot machines!" I've tried coming up with all sorts of excuses, but then she demands the phone so she can call the desk herself...and I think up more excuses for that not to happen.
The social worker from hospice came yesterday and spent a good deal of time here. Mom asked her "how much longer will we be here?", and since I had already clued her in the social worker said "as long as you want!"
Right now I've had a great, unexpected excuse that's gone on all day--there's a massive manhunt here in SoCal for an ex-LAPD, ex-military man who's shot and/or killed several people today and Sunday. Because the local channels have had coverage going all day, I have it on in Mom's room and when she says she wants to go downstairs to play slot machines, I tell her, "look, Mom, they're still searching for that fugitive--look at the schools that are on lockdown, and the military base that's on lockdown...they're saying if you're in a safe place you should STAY WHERE YOU ARE!"
She's so confused... Our cats wander in and out of her room as always, but she doesn't understand how they got 100 miles away to the casino's hotel. She asked me last night how many carriers we have...because she's thinking about how we're going to get them all home from Temecula.
The last time I dealt with anything similar to this was when I used to volunteer at an HIV/AIDS clinic, and I'd do respite care on the weekends for end-stage AIDS patients to let their caregivers have a break. I did that for a friend who was days away from dying, and he had NO short-term memory at all. That was different from this, but similar as far as how it makes me feel talking to Mom. I'm just playing along as best I can.
It looks like the doctors, nurses, and hospice coordinator were all wrong and Mom is NOT going to snap back to her pre-hospitalization lucidity. I keep telling everybody (the nurses, the social worker, etc.) that it was LITERALLY as if someone flipped a switch that night Mom choked. Up until that moment she was perfectly, 100% present and coherent. But from the moment I saw her in the ER she was confused and saying weird things. I'm grateful for her sake, and mine, that up until last week she was 100% in control of her faculties. I know that many people have the added burden of caring for a relative with Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia.