I'm not my grandmother's caregiver, but I am the first person to notice she was saying and doing things that were entirely outside her character. Everyone just assumed that she woke up one morning hating me. But before that day we spent 10 hours a day 5-7 days a week together for 2 yrs happy. Then one morning, after a week long headache (which is totally abnormal for her) she just started screaming at me over the most random things. The first time was for a hose laid over a fence, another time for moving clothespins on a clothesline.
This led to a series of untruths that I systematically disproved, but my uncles simply didn't care. They spend a combined 80 hours a year with their mom between 4 men. In their minds I must be an awful person for their mom to suddenly hate me so much. It took me time and education to figure out what it was, but once I knew, I knew. Again I tried to show these men, my poor little grandma has dementia (probably vascular) and her new rage was part of the disease. She's forgetting words, can't always operate an outdoor faucet, accuses anyone nearby of "stealing" whatever she's fixated on that day, gets stuck in a loop of questions or stories, started calling her great-grandbabies derogatory names, can't remember friends she's known for 25 yrs, can't learn new things, and has forgotten old skills like operating her dvd player or e-mail.
This led to lawyers and accusations, which I again systematically disproved.
Two months ago, the day before mediation, she had a stroke caused by her heart not pumping enough, which created a clot. They put in a pacemaker. My uncles complained about who would take her home. After 1 week they brought her home and dropped her off. At 90 yrs old, 9 days post stroke that almost killed her and pacemaker surgery, and they just left her at home alone. Because, according to them and her, she's fine and doesn't need care.
A few weeks ago her attorney told her she can't win with the lies she's told and they offered to settle. We accepted; suddenly she says she never offered and was furious. Last weekend she was found by the neighbor screaming for help, completely disoriented, extremely combative. They forced her into an ambulance and sedated her. She didn't recognize her brother or his daughter and kept calling her niece her granddaughter. This is when she demanded that my cousin come kill my husband and I, followed by demanding that her sons kill her attorney. She wasn't allowed to come home, for now, but that may not be a permanent situation, and if that changes she has a loaded gun in her house. (she says she uses it for coyotes, we're in small farm country). I live next door with my four kids and husband.
Still her sons can not see it. What is it going to take? For 2 1/2 yrs this has just progressed from bad to worse for her, and I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. It seems proving she's lying makes my uncles more defensive about her mental state instead of seeing the disease for what it is. They are actively working to prove she's in her right mind, despite the laundry list of people she can't remember anymore, or the hallucinations of people talking to her through her window. Some of her friends and religious leaders have started to see it and are reporting it where ever they can. Including one episode of Grandma losing her temper and screaming at her friend while inside her holy temple. (no one ever talks above a whisper in there and this is sooooo far out of character for grandma) Grandma is now very suspicious of her friend, and treats her with disdain.
Yet her "holistic" doctor says she's fine based on one type of memory test that she has failed and passed depending on the day.
Why is this diagnosis so difficult to get? What the heck can I do? I'm just in survival mode while this disease eviscerates my life. Stupid disease doesn't just tear up our LO's, it destroys whole families. What the heck is it going to take for them to see?