Friday 25 March 2022

Birds in Focus, and That's Not All

Already my mom's improved vision is enriching her life and improving mine.

This morning when I visited to do her eye drops, she was excited to talk about how much better she could see. We stood looking out her window for a good fifteen minutes watching a large flock of starlings as they pecked their way across the lawn and splashed in a rain puddle. She recalled that she used to see them bathing in the puddle but "hadn't seen it in years". It's been happening, she just couldn't see it

Ordinarily during that fifteen minutes, in spite of my best efforts at making other conversation, she would have spent it telling me the same stories from the past, over and over. She often prefaced a story with the words, "I've probably told you this before, but . . ." and told it again anyway. I wondered more than once if part of this was simply a desire to talk, and she had nothing new to say because of being isolated during the pandemic. All along, she has also been incorporating into conversation stories from the more recent past, so this seems plausible. It seems to me that with more severe dementia she would not be able to recall those recent events at all.

I guess the disease is a continuum and there is no clear answer. But I find it interesting to observe and think about.

I do wonder what the testing at her next geriatric appointment will show. Will there be an actual reversal of what was previously noted as deterioration? 

It's not just the birds she is seeing better. She has realized there is a worn, holey section in a blouse she wears a lot. It has been like that for months but now she can see it. When we went for groceries yesterday, she lingered over items she has never shown any interest in during the time I've been taking her. She recognized mushrooms as something she used to eat. She noticed the many kinds of cold cereal and we had a discussion about what kinds she might want to try, now that she's not cooking. She was easily able to see that the coffee she chose was the right kind (decaf). 

I'm a bit teary just remembering it. And I think she's all in for surgery on the other eye.

So am I.








(You might have to enlarge the photo to see the pet in the second green circle.)







Donkey says: I do this. Repeatedly.


























Apologies if I've repeated any of these memes. 

Hope you're having a good day, or, for those on t'other side of the world, a good evening/night :)



Joan (Devon) said...

You're making me wonder about my ownn mother Jenny, as she had dementia, but there were times I didn't think she was too bad. I'm wondering about it because she had problems with her eyes, which stopped her reading, watching TV or doing crosswords which she loved doing. She needed cataracts doing, but was told they couldn't operate and I think it's because she'd had an accident when she was about three or four when her eldest sister spiled hot fat which landed on her eyes and as she got older one of her eyes started turning to the outer corner. So if she'd had her cataracts done she may not have been assessed with dementia. That's not to say she didn't have it, but perhaps the beginning of it.

Elephant's Child said...

Wonderful, wonderful news. For you both.
Some of the funnies struck home too. Thank you.

Marie Smith said...

What wonderful news, Jenny. The surgery has already expanded your mother’s life and give you a glimpse of her former self! Bring on the second surgery!

dinthebeast said...

It is said that novel sensory input staves off dementia, so perhaps your mom's newfound eyesight will have positive effects on her mind as well.
I recall texting with Sara as I sat outside of Highland Hospital waiting for my Paratransit ride after getting my bandages off from my first surgery. Sara asked me what I was doing, and I told her "Seeing."
I don't know about wanting to make the ducks pay, but I do recall turning to Briana up at the mill pond after a pair of Canada geese had tried to run me off by flapping and hissing at me and saying "Now maybe I understand why my dad used to like to shoot at these (expletives) so much."

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Anonymous said...

A connection between good eyesight and dementia? That makes sense. Hearing loss is said to make dementia worse. That is good news about your mother and it seems it would be worth while having the other eye done too.

jenny_o said...

Joan: It's a shame your mother didn't qualify for the surgery. It must have been a real disappointment for all of you. I'm going to make a point of telling the geriatric doctor about the differences in my mother, especially her mood. They had prescribed an anti-depressant although we had not followed up on that. Maybe they're already aware of how much poor vision affects a person's abilities, but if they are they didn't say anything to us about it. They need to know this for the other patients they are assessing.

EC: Today was one of the good days :) I'll take it!

Marie: Yes, exactly!

Doug: That's what I'm thinking - better vision may not reverse any of her losses but it may slow the decline, at least for awhile. And yeah, Canada geese are not nice!

jenny_o said...

Andrew: Mom has already gone from tentatively feeling she should have the second surgery to repeatedly asking if we know the date for it yet! I think she's on board :) It does make sense that both vision and hearing would increase dementia. The brain isn't getting as much stimulation.

Diane Henders said...

I'm so happy to hear that your Mom is thrilled with the results of the cataract surgery and eager for the next. Here's hoping this is just the start of a steady improvement in her mood and mental state!

Thanks for the funnies, too. The 'no pets' sofa made me laugh. That's not a pet in the background; that's a short furry family member. ;-)

Joanne Noragon said...

Don't worry about repeating memes. I can't remember them.
Your mother's progress makes my heart go pitty pat, too. It reminds me of my grandmother.

Red said...

Good to hear that your mother has some improvement in her quality of life.

e said...

I'm so glad your mother is more alert and can see better...take what you can get! Hugs.

messymimi said...

This reminds me of when we finally realized Little Girl needed glasses. She put them on and said, "Trees have individual leaves, not just blobs of them?"

It's astounding the difference it can make when people can see properly.

My prayer is that your mother can have that second surgery and it goes as well as this one did.

Thanks for the funnies!

Bonnie said...

I'm so happy to hear your mother is doing so much better with improved vision. So many things she didn't even realize she was missing that she can now enjoy and appreciate. It reminds me of my grandmother when she first got hearing aids. She wrote me telling me she had forgotten how beautiful the rain sounded.

The funnies are great! I'm like you, I always answer the store clerk that I found everything okay whether I did or not!

kylie said...

Fabulous news for you both!

and the funnies are, well, funny :)

River said...

I love that enormous sheepdog standing up against the fence.
I'm so happy that your mother is SEEING things again and able to discuss them. It's a whole new world for her, even with the 'always there' dementia, things would seem to be a little easier all round.

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

So good news. And YES doctors need to know this! I see the same happening in elderly around me.Being messy, holey, disinterested. Havin cataracts done, getting cleaned up, talkative and so on. Vision makes a huge impact on our lives

gz said...

Yes, good to hear that the op worked!
Pirate noticed dust.but no bending to clean it! Also details and different shades in trees and clouds

Boud said...

I'm very happy for both of you that the eye surgery improves your mom's life. I expect she's also seeing color much better, and that's important for your spirits. It's a great result, and yes, wise to share it so maybe other patients too will benefit. She's lucky to have you.

baili said...

i read about your mother fondly dear Jenny ,not just she reminds me my own mother and the way she spent last year of her life but i feel i am previewing my future when everything in this world despite of remaining same old will change for me as an old woman with dim mind and weaker senses ,i still can love this life but next part is hardest when i will loose my mobility and depend upon others for my most basic movements ,sounds scary hm !

i am glad despite of all your inner and outer issues you are managing to look after her ,that is such blessing that every child must have because it will be repaid to you by any source Lord will chose to do so .
thank you for such pure and heart warming posts always .
i enjoyed all the funnies so much !
hugs and blessings

jenny_o said...

Diane: Fingers crossed :) And "short furry family member" is so funny!

Joanne: It's heartwarming to see the difference!

Red: Yes, it is. I'm glad she agreed to the surgery and glad she's looking forward to the second one.

e: I'm happy to report good news for a change (and to experience it).

Mimi: I can relate to Little Girl! I got my first glasses at about age eight but I needed them long before that. They changed everything. I believe Mom's second surgery is a foregone conclusion for the surgeon; Mom simply has to say yes, and she will now. Yay!

Bonnie: The sound of rain - yes, how wonderful it would have been for your grandmother to hear that again! I'd miss that very much if I lost my hearing. And the grocery store issue - I always figure if I didn't find what I was looking for, the checkout is not the place to bring it up unless I want a line of angry people behind me - lol

jenny_o said...

kylie: It was good news for both of us :)

River: Yes, it has been good for her - and for me. A big win!

Charlotte: It just makes sense, doesn't it? I wonder how many folks are not diagnosed with vision problems and all of their behavior is chalked up to mental deterioration?

gz: Your comment about the Pirate seeing the dust is funny! There are things my mother can see now that I kind of wish she couldn't - like me putting empty envelopes in my pocket to take home to discard because they're piling up, or taking garbage home because she can't figure out that it doesn't go in the compost bin, things like that :)

Boud: This has been a positive experience in so many ways and I hope telling the geriatric doctor about it might help someone else too.

baili: "previewing my future" - YES. I think about this far too much but it's something we should probably all ponder sometimes. I strongly feel that I do not want my children burdened with everyday care of me (although a visit from time to time would be nice :))

Martha said...

That is just wonderful news about your mom! I can imagine how emotional it was for the both of you. Being able to see things more clearly opens up so many doors for her! She can enjoy many things she couldn't before. So heartwarming!

jenny_o said...

Martha: I'm hoping this will help her, especially when she's had the second eye surgery. She is even reading without the difficulty she had all along. Poor vision HAS to affect so many other aspects of life when you've been used to seeing in the past.

Mike said...

I think the answer to the last one is maybe.

John M said...

Glad your mom can see better. I enjoyed the jokes.

jenny_o said...

Mike: Stop that; it's already confusing enough :)

John: Thanks, and glad you liked them :)

Steve Reed said...

Excellent! I'm so glad things are looking up (or should I say "looking up more clearly") for your mom! We often don't realize how much our eyesight, and the little things we see each day, stimulates our brain and encourages our interaction with the world. Good for her!

I love the "funnies" about the sheepdog, the ducks and especially the "fellow industry professional" (LOL!) -- but I don't get that bank one.

jenny_o said...

Steve: You're right - and I knew Mom was missing a lot and had stopped doing things that required decent vision (such as reading) but I wasn't sure how much of that would come back. The bank joke is about inappropriate sharing, and not everyone's idea of funny, for sure. But it feels like a kind of black humour to me. I've caught myself about to overshare a few times so I kind of identify with it. Especially since during the pandemic people have had fewer social outlets.

Mr. Shife said...

That is so awesome to hear about your mom. I am glad she is seeing so much better and feeling better too.I love all of the funnies, jenny_o. Before YouTube, I would put on nature DVDs for our basset hound to keep him entertained while I was away. He probably zoned out after a few minutes but it made me feel better about leaving him alone while I went to work. Take care.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

I am SO happy for your mom's progress! And breathe a sigh of gratitude once again for modern health care! It is very probable that at least some of the loss of her ability is merely due to lack of input!
And those funnies are FUNNY! LOVED the sheepdog picture! Pandy would get a kick out of it...