Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/20/17: Mom in the Garden, Cooking Chicken Dinner, Mom's Fatigue and Fragile Mind

1.  When I arrived at Mom's room this morning, staff were assisting her in getting dressed. I suggested we leave the room and go outside into the cool Kellogg morning and enjoy the fresh air and roses, violas, columbine, petunias, and other flowers along with the blue spruce and Ponderosa pines outside. I pushed Mom in her wheelchair around the garden area and then we sat and visited for a while until we returned to her room. Mom's occupational therapist soon arrived and I left to run some errands, but returned before too long to take Mom to lunch at the dining hall and to spend more time outside. At lunch and during our second visit to the garden, fatigue was setting in for Mom and the things she had to say were increasingly disconnected from what was going on around her and became more random. At lunch, I couldn't tell if Mom was tracking what Peny or Betty had to say. Her contributions to the conversation didn't grow out of the others' comments or observations. Mom was part in the world of the dining room and part in a world of her own. She didn't eat much.

2.  I wheeled Mom back to her room and left her to rest and probably sleep. Back at Mom's house, I rested a bit, took a short nap, went over to the store, and used the lemon garlic baked tilapia recipe the Deke and I enjoy so much to bake drumsticks for Christy, Everett, and me to eat later for dinner.

3. I returned to Kindred around five o'clock, thinking I'd wheel Mom down to the dining room. As I strolled into her room, her physical therapist, Sheri, was leaving and Mom was bushed after her session. Firmly, she told me she wasn't going to the dining room. No problem.

This is not a medical observation, merely the observation of a son: when Mom gets tired, the symptoms of her vascular dementia start to take over. This evening, Mom's ramblings were incoherent. She was seeing things before her eyes that I couldn't see. I'm not saying they weren't there -- for Mom, they were there, but I couldn't see them. I tried to answer her questions about these things and listened to her tell me about things that happened in her mind, but nowhere else. When she told me to get out a pad and pen and write down things I needed to look for, I did so -- one of those things was her cell phone, and I found it.

For dinner, Mom ate a container of applesauce I brought over and a little bit of the hash I had made the night before. Tuesday night is ice cream night and when John brought her a cup of huckleberry ice cream, she was uninterested in it. We'd all like to see Mom eat more, but I don't think she's going to. Mom asked to go to the bathroom and wanted to change into her pajamas, so I buzzed for help, waited, stepped out, returned to her room, and then bade Mom good night and went back to the house, finished cooking dinner, and took the chicken, rice, and corn over to Christy and Everett's.

One other thing: when I was injured in a roaster at the Zinc Plant back in 1973, the superintendent of the roaster floors was Rich Nearing. Now Rich volunteers in the evenings at Kindred. On Monday, he took a picture of me and Mom and today he brought it to Mom's room and he asked me to remind him about my accident and I told a very short version of what happened. It started to come back to him and we reminisced a bit about the Zinc Plant and he told me about a serious injury he suffered at the Phosphoric Acid Plant. We may not return to talking about the injuries we suffered at the Zinc Plant anymore, but it'll be good to see Rich as the summer continues.

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