I am planning to go for it this morning with an emphasis on distraction and redirection. In the heat of the battle yesterday, I forgot a basic that any apprentice Care Partner should have grasped by now. For a while, I foolishly tried to reason with Maureen to establish that I was a good guy. Where on earth I expected logic and reason to appear from after all this time I will never know. Such qualities have long gone and when abject fear took over the going got really tough.
I should have known that two strangers from the Local Advocacy Service probing Maureen about what she would do if I wasn’t here would spell trouble. I could have anticipated that fear would eventually lead to her turning on me as the driving force for the probing questions. However, I was taken aback by the force of Maureen’s reaction and failed to apply distraction and redirection techniques. It took telephone coaching to put me back on the straight and narrow and for Mrs Dementia to be put under pressure and for glimpses of my loving wife to return.
So this morning I have a cunning plan to take the Bull by the Horns. Maureen’s son will be here around 10 am and I going to involve him in the Birthday Mission. If all goes well we will go into Grimsby to help Maureen solve her inability to access her own money. Our first call will be her bank so she can cash a cheque and order a new pin number for her debit card. Then she will have cash in her purse: a common complaint is that she hasn’t tuppence to her name. Our next call will be for her to buy the ‘old man’ a card and a present for his 71 st tomorrow. If she wants to get me a surprise I can leave them to it and wander around Grimsby by myself for a while.
If my cunning plan doesn’t work I can always play ‘More Than Words’ tomorrow morning as a reminder of the good old days:
This was OUR SONG in the early days of being together: if Mrs Dementia surfaces tomorrow she can Take That!
The context for my bright ideas this morning is that Maureen has been wanting to go home since 3 am. She wants to live with her parents again, where there are no thieves stealing her clothes. I have listened to her concerns and tried to put her mind at rest to no avail. I attempted to distract her by talking about the impending visit of her son; with unfortunate consequences. I listened to a diatribe about him for quite some time. She doesn’t know ‘what he looks like and knows nothing about him as he never comes to see her.’ Her disappointment about the diminishing level of contact with her family is palpable. She has been pleading with her daughter who died some time ago to come back, as she was a real friend.
Around 5 am I decided to give Maureen some space – hoping that the passing of time would lead to a change in her presentation. My hunch paid off and by 6 am she came to tell me: ‘she didn’t know what she would do if I wasn’t here’. It will be interesting to see how she presents when her son arrives. One thing for sure, I will need our night sitter on duty tonight so I can try to catch up on a bit of shut eye!