Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the mini-test

All day today dementia has been taunting me. "I've got your Mother and you can't have her. Na na na naaaa na."

From the first response to my "Good morning Mom." "oh..." to the last response "Bye Mom I love you." "umm..."

Today was Mom's annual physical with her primary care physician. Her doctor is wonderful, we are so lucky. She really listens to Mom (and me) and is thoughtful and respectful. I gave the doctor my list of concerns, the first item was Mom's continual loss of cognition, her mental decline. This summer she is having a hard time with he/she and him/her. She doesn't remember anybody's name. Sentences start out about one thing and quickly morph into a totally different topic.
"We had chicken for lunch because the cat likes to sleep with me." I hardly ever hear one complete sentence.

Mom's doctor decided to give her the Mini-mental screening again. I think Mom only got two answers right, she could name a pen and a watch when asked "What is this?"

We had been waiting in the examination room for a while, Mom in her johnny and me with my notebook. We discussed all the posters on the walls: osteoporosis and spinal curvature, using bug repellent to protect you from ticks, hand washing safety, and the farmers pictured on the calendar.

"Do you know what month it is?" the doctor begins.
"Hmm, well we had the fourth of July."
"Do you know what season it is?"
"Oh? Um, it's spring."
"Do you know what year it is?"
"I don't have to know what year it is, no one asks me that, I just show up when they tell me it's dinner time."

The calendar is directly across from her, she doesn't even know how to find the answer, how to cheat, how to look up to the calendar to find the answer. She can't use her tools.

"Do you know where we are now?"
"Stuvwxyz blah blah blah, but we just call it Stuvwxyz, I don't know what the rest of the words are, I don't need to know all the rest of the name, but we just call it Stuvwxyz."
"Yes, Stuvwxyz is where you live, but do you know where you are now, right here with me?"
"Do you know the name of this hospital?"
"Do you know what town we are in? Do you know the town where Stuvwxyz and this hospital are?"
"I'm going to tell you the name of three objects: apple book coat; repeat these three words: apple book coat"
"Apple cook boat"
"Apple book coat"
"Apple book coat."
"Repeat this sentence exactly as I say it: No ifs, ands, or buts"
"No if and buts."
"Now can you tell me those three words I had you remember"
"Apple.... ummm" Mom is even holding her coat in her lap, and a there is a book in mine. ABC, 1,2,3, the book and coat are gone.

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