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An Odd Occurance
So there I am about 22:30 tonight when I hear some strange noises outside, I finally realized what people mean by the term keening and it was right outside my door. I opened the door to find a woman about 70 to 85 (old) who was lost. She was on my front steps and disorientated about where she was and how she should get home. There was some discussion about how the paratransit did not show and she did not know how to get home from where she was but she was fairly certain it was near. I took her in hand and started to walk in the direction she suggested but it soon became apparent that she did not know the proper direction. We came back to the house and using Mapquest found the address she indicated and it was indeed just a short ways away. We drove there and I got her to the front door, which was unlocked and I got her in.

I have some experience with people with dementia, grandmother, mother, aunt and uncle (in all fairness I never saw it in my uncle it was only told to me). This woman exhibited in my opinion the early-middle stages of dementia. She knew her address but not how to get there from where she was just a very short way away. She said she had been at the San Bruno Senior center but it was around 22:30 when I heard her, it seems unlikely she would have been at the Senior center until so late that she was near my house then. She kept repeating the phrase "my lord and my god" or something like that. I tend to block that kind of religious crap out of my mind. She tried to offer me money when I got her home but in an amount that would barely cover the gas to get her the short distance away. She asked me my name at the end but could not actually grasp it. I have no doubt that the woman was starting the long slide into dementia.

Getting her to the house added to the oddness. There were lights on in the house but none in the driveway or entry area. The house is quite large and impressive and one would assume that if someone in the household was still out lights would be on outside to guide them. To put it into perspective, my house may not be terribly valuable but a few doors up hill houses start getting into the $1.5 mill and up range fairly quickly, houses where one would assume that the cost of leaving lights on was trivial. The front stoop was covered with paint cans etc. and the door was tucked away (maybe just bad architecture, not the paint cans). But mostly no one was there expecting the woman. One would think that if grandmother was somewhere late without people knowing where she was there would be concern and someone would be waiting for her and happy she had returned. I even had rehearsed a little speech along the line of "is someone missing a grandmother". No, no one clearly concerned or happy no one at all.

Like I said I am somewhat familiar with dementia so my encounter (why the occasional stupid french spellings in english) with the woman is not so strange. The totality in the end was disturbing. Perhaps the woman lives alone and her family does not realize how vulnerable she is. Perhaps the family is uncaring. Whatever it is this particular woman appears to me to be at some risk.
I think it a terrible disease, worse than cancer, in as much as it does not take your loved one away from you completely, but leaves than in a state of fear and confusion, and leaves those loved ones left to care for them with the daily pain of not being recognised.

I would hope by the time I reach that age that there is legal support for people wanting to 'opt-out' of life.

Are there any local charities you could pass her details on to (although you may have some legal issues there, may be worth visiting her and asking a few questions)?
TE, try watching a person die from dementia. My mother looked more normal in death than she did in life at the end.

Yes I am thinking about maybe visiting the house to see if I can find out what is going on. I do hate intruding into other peoples lives. Part of me has convinced myself that she wandered away from the house, a common event for those in early dementia.

I have often joked with my family (a sick joke indeed) that even if I stored away a fatal dose of something by the time I should use it I would forget where it was. Assisted death should be legal everywhere but the religious fools seem to want to prevent that and politicians do not have the will.

I would go so far as saying beyond someone having my medical power of attorney, I should be able to designate a person who is able to tell a doctor that if I knew the condition I was in I would prefer to die even if I could continue live.
Edited by JohnH on 05/29/2012 16:46
A terrible disease indeed. I agree that Assisted Suicide should be legal and of course, have certain requirements. I recently watched (ok, bear with this mouthful) my ex's, god-mother's husband die from lung cancer. It was horrific and he looked better dead than alive. My ex father-in-law's grand parents are/were in their 90s and the grandpa was suffering from Alzheimer's and the grandma from Dementia. It was horribly sad at the grandpa's funeral too. (I didn't go as I didn't know them.) I was told that the grandma was sad not because she thought her husband was dead, but because she though he was sleeping and mad at her because he wouldn't wake up.
There is a swath of mental illness in my family. Typically the people in my family have killed themselves before they became to out of it to do so. The last one(in 2008) actually knew he what he was going to become and decided to kill himself before he became a burden to anyone. My mother even told me to load her up a bottle of hard liquor with dissolved Xanax if she became too much. I mentioned that she has a 9mm and to follow her Uncle Bill. I couldn't live with myself, knowingly killing my mother...even though I can't stand her. I figure that I would have fun with it. Parkinson's is fairly common in the family too and If I get it I am going to have a shirt made up that reads, "I'm not getting jiggy with it, I have Parkinson's disease."

Anyway, the point of assisted suicide is that there is legislation in Oregon and I believe it is now legal there. I am to lazy to open a new tab and go search for it....OK, I looked it is apparently legal in Washington and Montana too. This also brings up something that you said, John, about the religtables having an issue with it. I am not sure about ALL Baptist churches, but the one I actually attend doesn't condemn it. They believe that if you believe that you lived a good life(according to Jesus) then you should be allowed to go the way of the Dodo. This was YEARS ago that I heard it, but I will ask again the next time I go. I'll be back down in Kilgore to visit my son on 23rd of June. Now my curiosity has the best of me.
Ah killing ones mother. When my mother was at the stage where she sort of knew me but did not she got an infection. For a week +- I would spend 24 hours with her in her nursing home room and 24 hours elsewhere (I do believe I have told this story here before). I did want to kill her because she was no longer a real person and would wish me to do so. I did not have the courage. Not so much because it was the wrong thing to do but because I did not have the courage to stand up to the legal system, I did have two young children at the time.

It is so easy for the pious to make judgement. Life however is more messy than the pious accept.
I really do not want this in my future in any way.
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