My previous saga
Last year was a fairly difficult year for me, landing in hospital 3 times, with one of those visits a real life threatening situation. The result is that I now permanently wear a full length medical compression stocking on my left leg.
My mom’s saga
Then, in the year or so before December 2013, we started noticing that my mom started forgetting things, and we thought it was just typical old age memory loss. That was until she put a microwaveable plastic container in the over to keep the food warm and it melted all over the oven. Then she flooded parts of the house because she simply forgot that she opened the tap in the kitchen or the bathroom.
So, I took her to a neurologist. After discovering that my mom was a smoker, he suggested we have her lungs checked for cancer. He explained that there is a part of the lung, if affected by cancer, could cause Alzheimer’s like symptoms. He referred us to an oncologist and she sent my mom for the necessary scans, etc., and a visit to the hospital for a biopsy. It turned out that he was correct, and she did have cancer of the lung exactly where he thought it would be.
By this time, my mom’s mind had gone so far that she gave the poor nurses a run for their money when she had to go in for a lung operation to remove the offending lobe. They eventually assigned a fulltime nurse just for my mom.
Six weeks later my mom had to go in for a PET scan to verify whether the cancer was all gone, which was indeed the case. We also took my mom back to the neurologist for another test to see if her mental condition had worsened. It indeed did, and it was now also confirmed that my mom had Alzheimer’s.
She lived with us and it became more and more difficult for us to take care of her, since she was alone at home during the day. We were concerned for her safety and her well-being. So, we set out to find an Alzheimer’s home for her. It took some time to find a suitable place, which we did. It was insanely difficult for us to take her there and then to leave her behind (I do go visit her every weekend). So, we checked her in on 1 May 2014.
Since then her mind has worsened to the point that she doesn’t always recognise me. She’d be telling the caretakers all about her son, William, but when I get there she wouldn’t recognise me. She’ll have all kinds of stories when I visit such as what she and my dad have been up to. He’s been dead since 2000. This past weekend she asked me if I could please take her to visit her mom. She’s been dead since 2004.
It has been very difficult for me to see my mom like that. She used to be such a strong and independent woman. She ran the household and all the finances when my dad was still alive. Now she has to be checked the whole day, and she needs a caretaker to assist her when she needs the toilet. She also needs adult nappies. She is now a totally different woman than just 2 years ago! Yet, I visit her every weekend, take a chocolate for her to enjoy and perhaps a milkshake. Then I just let her talk about anything that is in her mind.
My continued saga
For a long time now I have been suffering from this continued high pitch noise in my ears (tinnitus). At the end of last year as I was researching this I discovered that it could be caused by many factors, and one of them was wax in the ears. It just happened that I had way too much wax in my ears. I visited a local Kind2Hearing practice where the wax in my ears were cleaned out. The tinnitus didn’t go away. So, I left it to see if over time my situation improved, but to no avail. It became so bad that it woke me up one night. I first thought I’d heard some noise outside, but the noise was so loud in my head I immediately recognised it for what it was. Even if I put headphones on with music, I can still clearly hear the tinnitus noise.
I finally decided that I have had enough, and today I had an appointment at the same practice. It lasted for 2 hours. The young lady (Nadine Basson) that tested me did a thorough job, explaining before and after what she had done and why. It is no wonder that she did such an excellent job. In her final year of study she was awarded two prizes:
- SASLHA Prize – Best final year student in Speech Pathology – Clinical
- P. De V. Pienaar prize – Best final year student in Speech Pathology – Academic
The result of the testing is that I have hearing loss in both ears in the higher frequency range. In the area where my hearing loss has occurred is also the area where words with “s, f and th” are found most frequently.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I need hearing aids for both ears to supplement my hearing in those higher ranges. At least it will help with minimizing the tinnitus while I am wearing the aids, and that will be a great relief.