Sunday, July 9, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/08/17: Mom's Lighter Mood and Good Talks, Rose Lake, Debriefing

1.  When I arrived at the nursing home around 10:00 or so, Mom was in her night clothes and was wavering between being asleep and awake. She made it clear she wanted to stay in her night wear and didn't want to sit up. I sat with Mom for a while and then told her I was going back home to take her clothes out of the drier so they wouldn't be wrinkled. Mom lit up a little, "Good!"

When I returned with Mom's laundry, Mom was up in her wheelchair and a longtime friend of Mom's, Mary Pierce was in the room visiting. I hung up clothes and gave Mom's hair a long brushing while Mom and Mary talked.

Mary's visit lightened Mom's mood. Mary made her laugh. Mom listened to Mary's stories and told some of her own. Yes, she occasionally had some things about her present situation confused, but not about the past.

Mary left and Mom's lighter mood continued and we talked back and forth for quite a while. I asked Mom if there were songs or types of music she'd enjoy listening to. She thought for a minute and said, "Yes." "Can you tell me any?" Again, she mused and then she said, "Oh, that one that goes 'do dah, do dah'." I brightened up. She went on and told me she thought Frank Sinatra was very successful, but she didn't really want to listen to him and then said that "they don't play the music I like anymore." I told her I could make songs "magically appear on my computer" and she chuckled.

At some point during our visit, an aide arrived to take Mom to the bathroom and dress her and I found "Camptown Races" on my phone. When she came back from the bathroom and the aide finished changing her bed, I played "Camptown Races" and Mom bobbed her head up and down and enjoyed hearing the song. I asked her if she knew who wrote it. She didn't at first, but when I told her it was Stephen Foster, her face brightened and I thought, "I'll leave Sinatra and 'My Way' alone, but start finding versions of 'Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair' and other Stephen Foster tunes to play."

I had plans to meet up with friends out at Rose Lake and, at about 1:30, I told Mom I was going to be leaving. A shadow crossed her face and her mood changed quickly. She knew Christy had a 2:00 appointment and was planning to arrive at Kindred around 3:00. Mom was suspicious. "I'm sure Christy will go where you are and not come here." I told Mom that Christy and I had planned for my time with friends and that she would not be joining me, but would be seeing her.

Now Mom wanted to lie down. An aide arrived and helped her. I thought about Mom's suspicion that my leaving would surely mean Christy wouldn't be coming to be with her. I thought about how uplifted she'd been by Mary's visit. I found it difficult to leave, knowing that when family isn't there or when the occasional visit by a friend ends, she's lonely and fearful.  She prefers to stay in her room. She prefers not to eat in the dining room with others or participate in activities scheduled through the day. She prefers to rely on those she knows for company and comfort.

I took a short walk down to the public restroom in Kindred, returned to Mom's side, and she had fallen asleep. It was after 2:00.  I knew Christy would be at Mom's side in about an hour. I hoped Mom would sleep until then. I learned later that Mom did just that.

I know now that Christy experienced something similar to what I did earlier in the day: Mom's mind was much more lucid than usual. Mom and Christy had a long conversation about Mom's stay at Kindred and her thoughts about the therapy she'd been refusing and why she doesn't eat in the dining room and how she came to be admitted to Kindred in the first place. Christy helped get a lot of things clarified for Mom. We don't know if what she told Mom will take hold in Mom's mind and memory, but at the very least, thanks to this illuminating conversation Christy initiated and maintained with Mom, we understand her feelings and what she's been thinking much better.

2. When it comes to getting in an afternoon nap, Mom wasn't alone in needing to saw some logs. I grabbed some sleep before heading out to Rose Lake around 3:00 or so. I joined Jake, Carol Lee, Ed, Nancy, Stu, and Byrdman on the balcony of Jake and Carol Lee's lake place. It was all about relaxation. We enjoyed a few beers together, yakked and yucked it up, and enjoyed bratwurst, potato salad, baked beans, and watermelon. Outside, it was blistering. Inside Jake and Carol Lee's cabin, it was air conditioned and cool and, after I ate, I sat back in a recliner and was still and serene.

3. Eventually, I slowly roused myself out of the recliner and returned to Kellogg. It had been quite a day and I wanted to learn about Christy's conversation with Mom. Christy, Everett, and I relaxed on their deck as the day grew darker and the air began to cool. We talked about Mom and how to move forward and about other things, too.

It had been quite a day: enlightening, taxing, and relaxing.

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