This post had been pending in my draft column for about last one month. For some strange reason, I just could not complete the same. When I thought about writing this post initially, my concept was something different and today it is something different. Yes, times have changed and so have the circumstances.
I lost my maternal grandmother, who was 76 years old, on November 19,2018 due to old age and long battled illness. She was bedridden for almost last 6 months and later on her right side of the body was totally paralyzed. She was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and that was probably just the beginning.
I had been trying to visit her on and off, whenever, I could. To a certain extent till the end she had a good memory and decent speech, which slurred only towards the last few hours.
The reason, for this post is something wierd or something different. I have a 4 year old toddler and a grandmother who was simultaneously suffering from Dementia, one of the side effects of Parkinson’s disease. Dementia is a condition, wherein the Patient, creates illusions.
When our children are toddlers, we openly encourage them to think in an imaginative manner and encourage imaginary plays and characters to a certain extend, because it is meant to be good for the brain. When you see the same condition, in an adult, it can get real scary.She would usually talk about all our relatives, who had passed away. She would tell us that so and so has come, why aren’t you giving them tea and water. I am leaving now for Kerela in 2 hours, why don’t you go and pack your bags. Every feature, every incident explained by her then was true and factually correct, just that there was no relation of the same to the present.
Initially, it was difficult for us to understand her condition of Dementia, whenever, we spoke to anybody, all people said was, that yes in old age, memory goes in reverse, it sometimes happens, or simply that the brain has had a short circuit sort of because of lack of blood supply.
Yes, it is scary sometimes, to be around a person who has Dementia, but is also equally important to understand their plight. Mental Health, is something that is often ignored in our society and we refuse to talk about the same openly because probably we are ashamed about the same and therefore refuse to acknowledge. In this case, it may not have been a case of Mental Health totally, but of physical health affecting Mental Health.
When we were going through the same, we barely had anyone to educate us, because all we were concerned about was how to deal with Parkinson’s and make her physically healthy once again. The reason, why this article is titled my Grandmother and my Son is because, when she told us about true facts, but just totally unrelated, it scared us sometimes, but when my son told us some unrelated and imaginary incidents, we laughed about it and found it cute.
Two people, two experiences, two stories, one was spooky and one was funny.
** I am not a medical expert or a psychologist or related to any of the profession. The above article is based on personal experience and google reasearch.