August 14, 2020

The point of updating a log daily is to not forget the day’s events. I’ve failed. I wish I’d been more diligent.
Was it a few days ago? A week? Mom was more confused than usual. I don’t remember the circumstances. I made her do a home UTI test and it came up negative.
Today was more alarming, however. We’ve been through the usual forgetfulness. Her memory is seconds long– except when it’s not. Sometimes she’ll remember things I would think she’d forget. Sometimes if I drill a fact into her head enough she’ll eventually begin to remember it. Like her friend’s birthday.
She forgot her friend’s birthday. We went out and got a card and put it in the mail. Late, but not by a lot. For the next many days she panicked about it every day. “I forgot someone’s birthday!”
“Betty’s. But we got her a card and put it in the mail.
“We did? Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
Over and over and over again. So many times.
Now she remembers. Sort of.
This morning was not that; not forgetting someone’s birthday and not remembering that she sent a card. Today she asked questions that lead to other questions that I am afraid to face.
This morning she forgot who her daughter and grandchildren are.
The UTI test was recently enough that I am certain it’s not the cause here. I think her dementia is getting that advanced.
“Who is my family?”
That was the start.
Who is my daughter? And my grandchildren are who?
We went over this several times.
A few hours later she called to make a hair appointment and couldn’t remember the name of the woman she’s been seeing for more than 30 years. And she couldn’t remember the dates that we’d decided were best. Or that I’d written a note with the dates we’d decided were best. But when the hair dresser wasn’t available and she had to leave a message she rattled off her phone number like she was a world-class memory champion.
It isn’t like she never sees or talks to my sister or her grandchildren. We have a picture frame of constantly scrolling pictures of my sister, her children, and their significant other’s– that I have spent hours identifying when she can’t figure out or remember who they are. (Her grandchildren have changed quite a lot in the last few years as they’ve matured into young adults.) My sister calls every week. We talk about them often. Though we haven’t seen them in a couple of years, these are not strangers to her. And yet this morning she didn’t know their names at all.
My question is, how long until she doesn’t remember me? How will I handle it? How will she?

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