Posts Tagged mental disease

Eid

It was Eid Al Adha few weeks ago. Eid is one of the two major Islamic holidays. On the last Eid, though mom was sick, she was still able to come to the prayers and actually had a great time. We dressed her up and she loved the visitors. This time, she was on her bed, as usual. I told her its Eid and she smiled, which is rare. I was sitting in her room, just staring at her. She looked at me and said, “whats wrong? you  look little down”. I was down, it was Eid and mom has always been the host. She would make her special sweets and breakfast. Our neighbors and family would come over for breakfast. It would just be awesome. Not this time. Tears rolled down my cheek and I looked away from her, so she can’t see me cry, and I said “nothing, I am good”. She said ” I know everything”, tearing up.

I have never written this and I don’t really know why.But every time I pass by mom’s room, I look at her and check if her diaphragm is moving to make sure she is still breathing. We all do it..

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New Posts

We haven’t really been updating the blog lately and have been asked by many of you why? I have been thinking about the question and couldn’t really  pinpoint to the reason. We woke up early today, well really early as my sister-in-law and her kids were going back to Canada on an early flight. When she was getting in the car, she would come back soon to see mom, without Inshallah. She then commented, I don’t even want to say Inshallah, because she is in so much pain.

That’s when it hit me. We have come to a point in our and mom’s life that it has turned to nothing but a waiting game. Mom has stopped eating properly,maybe  couple of morsels here and there,  drinking few tea spoons of water, wants people around her all the time, is seeing relatives who have passed away, and we were recently told by the nurse that her right side has gotten weaker, she can barely lift her right arm, and her face is a bit more lopsided. It seems she had another stroke.

We don’t expect her to last much longer. Let me rephrase and this might seem very insensitive, I don’t think we want her to last much longer.

To clarify, it is not because we are tired of taking care of her. As on of the comments posted said, this might be the blessing in disguise because of the reward and the chance to serve her. Its sure is hard and tough on mom but make no mistake, we would give everything to have her with us. But we would not be selfish and wish for her prolonged life, if she is to be the way she is.  As Muslims, it is not for us to ever wish death, because of a core belief, that Allah never burdens a soul more than it can bear. To wish death would be losing this core concept. And that is out of question.  We only pray that what is best for mom should happen and may her life and afterlife be easy.

Islamic belief of Almighty God (Allah in arabic) is that , Allah is All Knowing, All Wise and perfectly Just. Thus, we leave it to Allah as Allah is the Owner of All that exists and all that doesn’t exist; and just carry on with our duties with the belief that Allah knows and does what’s best.

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3rd Day

Mom has been in the hospital since Monday noon almost, its her third day today. She is a bit stable now and the blood pressure is slowly creeping towards normalcy. This morning it was up to 110/56 which is much better than 70/40 when she was rushed to the emergency room. Numerous tests have been done during these three days and she is constantly on IV fluids to replenish her body. The IV also has something called “dopamine”, which helps in increasing her blood pressure. Since, yesterday they have allowed her to start eating from her mouth, though she is not fond of hospital food.  The ICU doctors have asked us to brig some food from home because she needs protein and other nutrients, which will start today at lunch.

She has to be fed every two hours. It’s an awkward ( to say the least) feeling to see mom in this state with tubes sticking out of her hands, oxygen in her nose, catheter for urination in place, and machines displaying variety of numbers monitoring her. All she has become is a number. Her situation is based on those numbers on the screens, the numbers dictate when she goes home, they dictate how long she stays in ICU or what medicine to take.

Her neurologist visited yesterday to check on her and realized that her left side is weaker than the right side and her speech is little impaired.. We already know from the MRI done last week that there was a stroke sometime in the past but he wanted to make sure there is no new stroke. He ordered CAT scan which was done yesterday and we are awaiting the results. Today, we got the news that there are traces of blood in her stool. I am not sure how they are going to tackle that at this point but yesterday the doctor wanted our consent for colonoscopy and endoscopy.

These tests are not pleasant but mummy seems to be in good spirits and seems to be quite fond of the nurses helping her. The community support we have from mine and Mariam’s friends is huge and extremely helpful. At home, its weird for us without mom, especially for Papa whose life for last few years have revolved around taking care of mom. I can see him being down but at the same time as bad as it maybe , this is a small break for him. It’s a break he doesn’t want..

Thank you all for your kind words, help, support and prayers… may you never have to deal wit this disease ever, not even remotely.

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The prick of a thorn….

The neurologist called yesterday. Mummy’s MRI report came back. He said there is no sign of any new strokes, just the previous stroke that she had some time earlier this year. He also said her brain is shrinking.

So at this point, we’re not sure why she has deteriorated all of a sudden. Stroke is ruled out. What else can it be? We have no clue.

Mummy has been getting depressed lately. She’ll cry every once in a while about how bad her health is.

Yesterday, after eating lunch, she cried because she said no one cares for her or feeds her. I asked her if she wanted real food, or if she wanted ice cream. In between whimpers she let me know she wanted ice cream. As soon as I gave her some vanilla ice cream (her favorite), she got up and ate it enthusiastically. She calmed down after that.

Her pain complaints have gone back up as well. She is complaining of pain everywhere. Her joints and her muscles ache. Papa tried explaining there’s not much we can do about it. A Tylenol or an Advil, maybe, but that’s about it. He tried telling her that this comes with the territory of growing old. Obviously, Mummy didn’t understand. Rationale and logic aren’t the best ways of solving her problems. Sometimes she just needs verbal reassurance that everything will be alright.

Explaining to her WHY she’s having pain won’t stop her from complaining about her pain. Showing her that you’re doing something about it, even if it’s pretend, for example, rubbing lotion on the place of pain, or giving her a multi-vitamin and saying that it is knee medication usually works.

As Muslims, we believe that the difficulties, sadness, hurt, and pain that happens to us cleanses us of our sins. In a hadith (teachings said or done by the Prophet, peace be upon him) the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” [Bukhari]

Applying this to Mummy’s situation, we can understand that Mummy’s sins are basically being washed away because of this disease that has befallen her.

The test isn’t on her, it’s on us. This disease might lead her to paradise, but will it lead us to paradise? If we lose our patience one day, or get angry the next day, or even worse, question Our Lord’s Will by saying, “Why me?” will that lead us to paradise?

Our test is whether or not we keep our patience, remain calm, rational, and focused on the bigger picture. It can be extremely easy to lose patience with a person with dementia/Alzheimer’s. Things that they have OCD about can drive any sane person to the brink of insanity.

But how we react under pressure is the ultimate test of character. It’s not about how we appear in public or in front of others, or how outsiders view us. It’s about how our character shines through when faced with difficulties within our home, with our families. It’s about how we treat our weak, our sick, and our old when it’s just us, no outside people looking.

Patience may be the LAST thing we want to practice. But patience is what will save us in the Hereafter. It would be very unfortunate to put all this effort into being a caregiver for a disabled person, only to have this be the reason of our demise in the Hereafter. If we’re going to put all this effort, we must make sure that these deeds will be accepted, and that we do things right.

Patience is needed in abundant form. Even if you are annoyed, irritable, or angry, it is the ultimate test of your character when you can project an aura of calm despite of  the emotions going on inside of you. As hard is it is to care for a person with this disease, as a Muslim, the true test of faith is whether or not we keep our eyes focused on the Hereafter, with our hearts remembering Allah and fearing Him.

To all people dealing with dementia/Alzheimer’s: What might seem like a calamity that has come upon you, could be a blessing in disguise, or it could be the one thing that brings down Allah’s disfavor upon you. This could be the one deed that tips the scales on the Day of Judgement, either for better, or for worse.

It is a decision that we make with our actions.

The real question is: How will our actions (i.e. our family) speak for us on the Day of Reckoning?

I guess we’ll find out then…

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