MY MOTHER’S HEARTBREAKING STRUGGLES WITH DEMENTIA DISEASE

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My eyes were soaked in tears that Christmas, when I traveled home to see my mum.

With a child’s feeling of a son who had missed his mum, I hurriedly alighted from my car upon arrival at my family home to embrace my heroine.

“Good afternoon Mama”, I heartily greeted her before a shocker followed.

My mum looked me in the face and said “welcome my inlaw”. What? In-wetin?

I knew that she was getting old but not too old not to recognize her beloved son, me Kanayochukwu!

“Ọ bụ m, Anayo nwa gị nwoke” meaning “it is me your son, Anayo”, I said to my mum who insisted that I was her inlaw. Unbelievable!

I hated that day, the day a highly priced mum would deny her son and call him someone else.

Not my mum, nne m ọma! Never!

Was it not the woman that lived for me, who would give me the last food available and would go to bed hungry; a woman I swore to work so hard to take care of till she dies? Devil is a liar!

My wife had made my life so beautiful and my dream of taking care of my mum come true.

Two years into our marriage, she suggested that my 72 years old mum come live with us in the city.

She wanted to let my mother have the best of what we could offer.

I never stopped telling her all that my mum did for me and how I would rather die than to live in comfort and she in need.

Who says that the two hearts of a loving couple don’t beat in concert?

My mum, though reluctantly, came to live with us and was “detained” for 12 years. It is usually a Herculean task to “uproot” an old Igbo woman from the village to come live in the city.

She nursed all our kids and formed a formidable team with my wife to keep me well behaved. Every judgement was in my wife’s favour.

All changed one day, 12 years after, when my mother called me into her room to complain that my wife had stolen £10 my friend from U.K. gifted her.

“That was a laughable accusation” I told her and she started crying.

I wasn’t swayed. It didn’t just add up.

She was my mom and I knew where and how she hid her money when I was growing up. I was sure she misplaced the money.

My junior brother and I would compete on who would be the first to “tap” 5 kobo from her bag which we used to buy akara and bread during recess periods in school.

I took her bag, her bank, and instinctively went for the zipped compartment by the inner corner and found the money and handed same over to her. She murmured that my wife must have surreptitiously returned the money.

How? When? I was confused.

Even though I had never doubted my mum or deemed her a liar before now, I was convinced that the devil was using someone who was using mum to destroy my marriage. My mum was too holy a vessel to be inhabited by devil.

Of all the amount of money in this world, how could my wife, a bank manager steal £10 from an old woman she provided for mostly from her own purse? Mbanụ!

But I never related this incident to my wife.

How would I?

That would have broken her heart and the damage would have been irreparable. Such tale could bring out the Jezebel in any daughter-in-law.

Then, another day came when my mum again accused my wife of stealing and seizing her bra.

My mum would not take it anymore.

She had determined to confront the accused but she waited for me to return from work before she tabled the issue.

This, like the other charge of stealing of £10, was also laughable.

What would my wife do with my mum’s bra?

Their upper hemispheres were just not comparable.

While my wife is like a modern day model both in shape and size, my mum was blessed with an envious pair of burst lines that would make boobsful Cossy Orjiakor look normal. Hers would made my father’s friends ask him “ị na-ayị ara?”

It was at this point that I concluded that my mum needed a medical evaluation.

I suspected Dementia.

An all-night search on the internet made me very nervous as her symptoms were pointing towards one disease which can only be managed and buy not curable .

Shame to money which would become useless when confronted by an incurable ailment!

Two consultants, one of which was a professor of Neurology at Lagos Teaching Hospital, independently diagnosed the same ailment.

Mama Obiora, my mum, had developed dementia after 12 years of living with my family in the city.

Broaching the issue with my wife made her open up. She was more dispassionate as she had long suspected that Mama had dementia.

She had noticed Mama’s rapid deterioration both in aggressiveness, poor memory and loss of continence. She was careful not to tell me and had prayed that I noticed them myself.

She was afraid that she might be misunderstood as most men who loved their mums so much would.

My eldest sister advised that I bring our mum home to her. She was ready to nurse Mama while I and other siblings would support with enablements.

With a sorrow-filled heart, I took mama back to my home town for a better care not without retaining the services of a well known professor at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.

At 84, my mum looked well fed and well taken care of but calling me an “inlaw” that Christmas was hard a punch for me to bear.

Medical science can go to hell! Perhaps, someone ws behind my mum’s sickness, I thought.

Yes! It was possible. Are we no longer in a wicked world?

Would anyone have blamed me if the prophecy of one freelance pastor who came to pray for my mum made me smell an evil rat?

The spirit-filled pastor was ready to reveal the name of the person who had cast an evil spell on my mum. That’s if we were ready to “engage” him formally.

I quickly came to my senses when he sent a very expensive bill for the deliverance. What an unbelieving customer I turned out to be!

My mum didn’t get any better but good care extended the doomsday as she joined her Maker at 86 years, 14 years after the diagnosis of her dementia.

Do you have aged parents?

Please verify those tales about your wife or/and other people based on which you took some decisions.

You might have been deceived.

Many old people in our families and in our national lives are presently at various stages of senile deterioration known as dementia but we hardly notice due to our blind love, religious affiliation, filial loyalty or hero worship.

My dear mum would have wrecked my home if not for God’s grace and my introspective capabilities.

Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Amnesia and Senility are conditions of old people.

These diseases may set in much earlier than anticipated.

The patient may look normal and be confidently acting a new normal which would have wrecked a family or a state before it becomes obvious.

Many people as young as early sixties have presented the symptoms of dementia.

Check around you. Test all you hear from your old pals. They may be feeding you with inadvertent but dangerous lies.

Refusal to sieve and verify all the tales from our aged ones could be destructive to a family or to a nation.

Anayo Nwosu

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