Today is one of those days where I am really happy my parents taught me to be resourceful, because living with dementia sure does throw you into some weird situations. It is a beautiful day out, so we were planning to go out to do some errands and for a drive once I was done working.
Half the day went pretty well and then my mom started becoming restless and then increasingly pissed off that we weren’t leaving yet. Dementia has left her with no patience and when she gets an idea in her head, she wants it NOW.
As a result, her response to being asked to wait a bit was to go dink around with the front door. We have a wonderful chain on it that only opens with a key, which normally keeps her from doing much damage beyond opening the front door a crack. The thing is that the door knob needs replacing. I’m not sure if the threads on the screws are worn or what, but the inside part of it falls off if you jiggle it long enough and since she was miffed, she jiggled it not only long enough, but hard.
When it came off, she threw it on the floor and then proceeded to shove the outer end of it out onto the ground outside before emphatically slamming the door before retreating to her recliner to aggressively recite the Lord’s Prayer in German and occasionally shriek “help me, I’m living with a crazy woman, who won’t open the door” and call me names and tell me I belong in prison, which is something she does now when she’s angry.
In her head, it’s a normal response to not getting her way. In mine it makes me think that if there’s anything that is going to make me want to take her out in public, even if she can’t help it, it’s not going to be throwing a tantrum and acting like a complete nutter.
Anyway, the net result is she is now angry, for a while we couldn’t get out of the house, because we couldn’t open the door anymore, and I’m really not feeling interested in being in the same room with her let alone going out with her. Maybe there was a time when I would have panicked, but these days it’s just a normal Friday in Dementialand.
At some point, enough they do enough weird things that you just become resigned to it. Sometimes they’re harmless, sometimes they’re a big pain in the ass, but you figure it out and learn to manage without calling someone every time something goes wrong.
For a minute or two, I have to admit, I was stumped. We have 6′ fencing in the back yard, but there are also padlocks on the back gates to keep her safe in the yard when she wants to be outside. Unfortunately, she hid my date book, which contains the combination and I’m not wildly inclined to scale the fence, if I don’t have to.
There’s always climbing out a window, but then I have to find a way to climb back in, if I can’t fix the knob from the outside. Finally, I remembered the garage door, so I waited until she was relatively calm and snuck out and managed to put it all back together. The door knob still needs to be replaced — maybe with a key lock, I don’t know. I hate feeling like I’m living in a prison, but that’s just one more face to life in Dementialand.