Posted on: July 21, 2014 | 0 Comments |
Note: In 2007, Jamie Wilson Headley (founder and CEO of Dementia Services Group) began the complicated process of helping her once-independent mother adjust to life with dementia.
These are the challenges that one woman faced, but although Jamie’s Journey is deeply personal, it is also universal. We hope that her trials and triumphs will shed light on the emotional and logistical issues that come with caring someone with dementia.
The phone rings – “Hi Jamie, this is Pat, your Mom’s neighbor. Your Mom fell and she was taken to the ER…” The call you hate to get, especially when you live out of state.
Mom had started to feel dizzy and lost consciousness. When she came to, she crawled to the phone and called her neighbor. When the ambulance arrived they noted she had a split lip from the fall, and was confused but conscious. At the ER she was stitched up, given a CAT scan and released when there was nothing found.
I caught the next flight out and spent two weeks at home trying to decipher what had happened. We were told she may have had a small stroke, we were told she may have suffered some small heart attacks, we were told her brain looked fine – just normal wear and tear for someone her age. Regardless of what we were told, I was confused and Mom was scared. But Mom was healing so I went back to Philly and we tried to get back to what we considered “normal” life.
A few weeks later Mom was back in the hospital. She was lethargic, dizzy, nauseous, and generally felt crappy. Further tests discovered that she had fractured a vertebra during the previous fall, but no one could determine the cause of her other symptoms. Prior to all of this she had seen her general practitioner for headaches, dizziness, fatigue and neck aches. No one could determine the cause of these symptoms either. In addition to the previously mentioned symptoms, I noticed Mom was more needy, uncomfortable being alone, and her short term memory was impaired. She had no recollection of her first hospital visit at all. Now we were both scared and confused. Little did we know life would never go back to “normal again”.