Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The one about the mule

"Your buggy stopped here, so you will just have to sleep here for the night. We'll find your mule in the morning."

Imagine me saying this. Imagine me saying this to Grandma. Imagine me saying this to Grandma at 1:00 AM.

One of the aspects of dementia that we are dealing with in Grandma is the inability for her to differentiate a dream from reality. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, she is often confused about where she's at and what is happening. Most of the times she wakes up, it is because of a dream. It doesn't take long to figure out what the dream was about. For long time, she was dreaming about being on a train every night. She would wake up 2 or 3 times wanting to get off the train or wanting to know when it was stopping. Her dreams are often about family members, which she wants to know where they're at when she wakes up. She's had dreams about cows and peanut farming.

While it can be quite humorous, it is often difficult for me to think clearly enough in the middle of the night to get her calmed down. I've tried to rationalize and explain to her that she's having a dream and whatever she is asking about didn't really happen. That doesn't go so well. Most of the time I just try to roll with the punches. I'll usually take her to the bathroom, which works as a good distraction. Then when I'm trying to get her to lay back down, I just say that she'll see that person in the morning or that whatever she's asking about will happen in the morning. Usually, this calms her down enough for her to go back to sleep. Sometimes not and it's a long night.

So back to my line from the beginning....

I heard Grandma talking around 1AM Monday night (Tuesday morning, but that's confusing). When I went into her room to check on her, she said that her mule had run away. She was banging her fist on her bed rail, saying that her horse (the bed rail) was pulling the buggy when her mule ran away. She was very concerned about getting to wherever she was traveling with a group. Enter my comment about stopping the buggy here for the night and finding the mule in the morning.

She went back to sleep after a few minutes. I couldn't help but to laugh a little as I stumbled back to bed.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Bless your heart. My great grandmother lived with us for awhile when I was in middle school and we had a lot of experiences with her like I have read you describe on here. One day she “got out” and about an hour later we found her walking down a busy highway...she was going to catch the bus to visit some family.

I admire your dedication and loving spirit you have about caring for your grandmother in law. I know it is hard a lot of the times but it blesses me to hear you being able to find the humor in it. And sounds like you were able to think quick on your feet about the mule, that was a good reply!