Thursday, June 22, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 06/21/17: Morning Chores and Mom's Voice, Lunch with Mom, Mom's Evening Ramblings

1. I popped out of bed at five this morning to write and to clean the kitchen, load the dishwasher, do Mom's and my laundry, water outdoor plants and other things. I am doing my best to meet Mom's high standards of cleanliness around the house with mixed success. It's funny that even though she isn't here, I can hear her telling me what needs to be done and how to do it -- and, then, wouldn't you know it, when I visit Mom and her mind begins to float, among her top concerns is her house. She'll ask, "Are the beds made? How's the dining area? Is my bed cleared off?" Etc. So, I suppose, in part, I'm putting in a little extra effort so that I can answer her questions positively. (Her bed is not cleared off, though.)

2. Christy and I arrived together at Mom's room shortly after 9 o'clock. She was dressed -- although it turned out she put her pants on over her pajama bottoms so one of the staff helped her correct that -- and I thought she seemed fatigued already. Mom's occupational therapist persuaded Mom to attend the Wednesday morning yoga class. Christy attended with her and I dashed back over to Mom's and organized my clothes and belongings and arranged to have Mom's car serviced on Thursday.

Upon returning, Shoshone News-Press under my arm, Christy left to join Everett for an afternoon in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls. I wheeled Mom out into the fresh air of the garden area where she read Joan Ross's obituary and we talked about some things. We went back in for lunch and Mom was more tired than usual and the things she had to say were increasingly disconnected. To our delight, Zoe and Paul arrived during lunch and we all returned to Mom's room.

Christy and Everett had brought a comfortable chair over to Mom's room from her bedroom with the hope that when Mom sits up in her room she'll use that chair rather than the wheelchair. Zoe read Mom a letter Carol wrote her from Italy. I returned to Mom's and rested.

3. When I arrived back at Mom's room around 5 p.m., Zoe was with Mom. Earlier, Mom had asked Zoe and Paul to leave so she could sleep. Zoe returned around 3 p.m. ready to do Mom's nails, but, as it turned out, Wednesday was Nail Day at Kindred and someone had already trimmed and polished Mom's nails.

Mom was fighting hard to stay awake. She was adamant about not going to the dining hall and she continued to speak whatever popped next into her mind. Mom wanted to get in her wheelchair and have me wheel her to "the dining area". I thought she had changed her mind about going to the dining hall and this frustrated her so much she nearly cried and was red-faced with frustration. No, she wanted to see the dining area in her house. She thought we were at her home. She berated me briefly for trying to tell her what to do about going to the Kindred dining hall. I got mixed up because Mom has never referred to the table sitting in our kitchen as the "dining area" before -- but, I took my lumps, quickly recovered, and temporarily helped her understand we weren't at her house.

Mom was seeing things, including a airplane near the ceiling of her room, and she talked for a while as if Jack and Shirley Carney were Zoe's grandparents. We then talked about who Zoe's grandparents are, including Mary and Pert Woolum, and we discussed who Jack and Shirley's kids are and how many children they have. Mom suddenly thought it would be a good idea for us to work on making a Turnbow family tree, since "we don't have anything else to do".

I understand if these stories make you laugh. If it weren't my mother, I'd probably think the oddball comments and misunderstandings and hallucinations were funny, too.  I understand if, for any of you reading this, the absurdity of what Mom says provides some comic relief to a sad situation as Mom's mind betrays her.

Maybe one day I'll sit around with Carol and Christy and Zoe and Paul and others and we'll look back and remember the random things Mom said and I'll have a good laugh then.

For now, I try to enter Mom's world and answer her questions and I try to help her understand where she is and keep the conversation going. I think she's frightened. I hope that having family nearby during much of the day helps her feel more secure.

Shortly after I returned to Mom's house, Christy and Everett arrived back from Post Falls.

I had asked Christy to find me a 16 oz. mug for my morning coffee. She did. This made me very happy.

Christy also bought a fifth of Uncle Val's Botanical Gin.

We sat on her back deck, enjoyed some gin, and talked about the day just completed.

This was the relief from Mom's sad situation that I needed.

Oh! Christy took this picture of Mom and Zoe on Monday, June 19th before the care conference at Kindred. As you can see, Mom looks pretty good, especially after she'd had such a rough day on Sunday.

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