Sunday, July 28, 2002

Betty's Observation of Our Mother over the last 6 months:
As I begin this letter my heart is heavy for the daily loss of our Mom. It's hard to verbalize at times and hopefully my words will express it.

Last night about 9 pm Mom called me and said, "Betty, where have I been since August 8th?" I said Mom, "It's not August 8th yet". She said, "I know, from August 8th last year. I don't remember anything." (what must that be like) I said, "Mom, you have been at the Moorhead Manor all that time". She said, "It's been like a blur, I can only remember bits and pieces."

She couldn't remember just coming back from Sharon's in Chicago a week ago and having spent 4 weeks there. "Yes, I said Sharon said you did not do as well this time."

"What do you mean this time, was I there before?"

"Yes, Mom for 2 weeks at Christmas."

I have labeled Mom having two moods - her passive mood and her rampage mood. I will explain...

When she is in her passive mood here is her routine: she sleeps all day, will get up around 4 pm. Has supper and goes back to bed around 10 pm. She is not interactive and very weepy. Says things over and over like: "I wish I would just die, I have no reason to live. Why didn't God take us both." (It has been almost one year since our father passed away) Does nothing except sleeps, eats one meal a day, eats excessive amounts of candy, does not tend to hygiene, cares about nothing, can't carry on a conversation except briefly and repeats over and over. In less than 5 minutes time, she can't remember. When I got her from the airport coming back from Chicago, we picked up her luggage and went out to the car and put in trunk. Before we could exit the parking lot, she asked me why we had not gotten her luggage yet. These moods generally last anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.

Then all of sudden - there's the window - the rampage mood. We call it a window like we have read about Alzheimer patients. She can't sleep - sometimes for 1 to 2 days. During this time she asks A LOT of questions of what has happened, where are her things. I call it the rampage mood because she can then be calling you up to 7-10 times a day asking about things - and not knowing that she makes these calls. We never belittle her and have always been taught to respect our parents; therefore, we respond with love. She can sometimes get very crabby during these times. It's during these times that she says things; "I can still drive better than most people" - which she has not driven in over a year and has no license to drive at the present time. These moods generally don't last longer than a week.

She does watch TV at night, plays solitaire and is a very good reader and enjoys her books. She was an avid seamstress and needlework person but now only talks about them but never gets back into it. My one sister here in Moorhead sees her every Wednesday night and goes over bills and pays them for her; and visits. Plus she takes her every Saturday for a hair appointment. I take her to church on Sunday - when I can get her up by 10 (50% chance) and have her out for the afternoon.

All three of us stay in very close contact with each other - daily - and the Moorhead Manor to make sure Mom is well taken care of and that she knows we love and want to care for her. I know these are difficult things to analyze and help us; but can anything be done?

We have a large clock in her room to show her the time and it also has on the day, month and year. But time does not mean anything to her. She has no motivation or desire to live. She is not suicidal and would not take her life. But she has given up on life. My 2 sisters and myself love our Mother desperately and want only the best for her. She is an amazing woman and has lived a lifetime of love, hardship and sorrows. We just want to know if we are doing everything possible for her and have not overlooked anything. So, we ask ourselves - what can we do??!? Do we let nature take it's course? Is she under-medicated? Should her medicine be changed? She is only using 50 mg of Zoloft - and is this the best for her or another medication? Would any medication help these symptoms? Who do we turn to? We are asking both of you - Doctor Martindale and Doctor Haake - PLEASE consult after reading these letters from all three of us sisters and combine your sources and be open and honest with us - if there is anything we can do??

Susan, Administrator at the Moorhead Manor has recently had Mom reviewed by the Clay County Health and they feel she should have a mental eval. Now, we totally agree but you know something - it will ALL depend on which mood they find her in when it is done. If this is done, I would like to recommend and request that it be done when she is in BOTH moods to get a fair assessment. Also, Susan mentioned that maybe some counseling of some sort would benefit our Mother - we are open to that as well.

We are begging you to please take the time to carefully read all three evals from us and consult each other and THEN contact us. We are not taking this lightly and ask that neither of you do as well. This is a life of a wonderful devoted mother, wife and human being that deserves whatever we can do to help.

We thank you and admire you both for the love and care you gave our father (Gordon Short) and continued care for our mother.

Sincere Respect,
Betty Thorsvig (second oldest daughter of Harriet Short)