1. I sauntered over to Mom's room at 10:30 this morning with her laundry and she and Carol continued their visit while I hung up Mom's shirts and pants. Mom was in her wheelchair and was wide awake. I sat near her so we could talk and Mom had one thing on her mind.
She wanted to go home.
She was ready to be wheeled home. She was ready to get in the car for a ride home. She was ready to walk home. She wanted to go home.
Each time I told her we were staying put, she asked me why and with each short answer I gave her she repeatedly repeated herself: why, why, why, why, why.
None of my answers satisfied Mom. Her frustration reached a peak when she said, "Bill, somebody ought to just punch you in the jaw!"
Mom has always been strong-willed and this morning she was not only strong-willed, she was iron-willed and disgusted that she wasn't getting her way.
The only thing I could think to do was wheel Mom out of her room, thinking maybe it would help settle down her agitation. We wheeled by Peny's room -- Mom's known Peny for over fifty years -- and I stopped, thinking Mom might want to say hello, but Mom paddled her feet on the floor to get the wheelchair moving.
She wanted out.
We came to a juncture in the hallway where, if we continued to go straight, we could go out a door into a garden and patio area. Mom had been out there earlier with Carol and I thought she might enjoy it again.
Mom didn't say anything, but as I tried to head down that hall, she dug her shoes into the linoleum, making it impossible to move the wheelchair.
She wanted out, out the front door.
We went out the front door. Mom wanted to know where we were parked and was surprised that the car wasn't at Kindred.
I wheeled Mom toward Cameron Avenue to the end of the sidewalk on the edge of the parking lot.
I turned her wheelchair around started to head back to the front entrance and Mom dug her shoes into the sidewalk.
We were in the sun and the cool of the morning was giving way to the day's heat. We were about six feet from the shade of a tree and when I suggested we move into the shade, Mom dug her shoes into the sidewalk.
The message was clear: if we weren't going home, we weren't going anywhere.
I submitted to our standoff. I stood and Mom sat, silent, a silence broken once when Mom told me she was going to walk home and started to rise up out of her wheelchair.
"You can't walk home, Mom."
"Yes I can!"
"No, Mom, you can't."
"Your legs don't work."
A friend of Peny's got out of her car and talked for a minute with Mom.
MaryRuth, the facility's administrator, came out the side door on her way to her vehicle and saw me, no doubt looking helpless, and saw Mom, looking grim, and called out, "You okay?" I replied that I thought we were and thanked her for asking.
Soon, Dan Figueroa, a teammate from Little League, and his wife, Peggy, climbed out their rig. Dan stopped to visit and asked Mom how she was doing, "I'm doing fine, except for this lout!", pointing back at me with her thumb. Dan chuckled. A wan smile crossed my face.
Still sitting in the sun, Mom listened as Dan and I talked for a while. Dan headed into the facility.
Mom signalled to me that she was ready to go back in.
The standoff ended.
Back in her room, Mom said she wanted to lie down, but Vanessa, an aide, talked with Mom about staying in her chair until lunch was served and Mom agreed to that.
Mom returned to subjects she asks about repeatedly: is the bedroom picked up? how's the kitchen? is the bathroom clean? where's my purse? do you know where my keys are? I was happy that Mom seemed to have forgotten that I was a lout. I assured her that the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom were in good shape and watched as she looked in her empty purse for keys and other things.
At 12:20, Paul arrived and I went over to Mom's house, talked with the Deke, fixed myself an egg quesadilla, and lay down on the couch to rest up for my return to see Mom at 1:30.
2. As I expected, when I returned to be with Mom, she was lying down. Paul gave me an update, telling me that the last hour had been uneventful.
Had Mom fallen into a serene sleep, I would have left, trusting she'd be all right.
But, she didn't. She twitched. She pulled at her shirt and pants. Three different times she pulled her oxygen out. But, the twitching today wasn't as pronounced as it was on Tuesday. A nurse checked on her as did a few aides and asked me how she was doing. I sat close to Mom's bed and read from magazines I'd brought over.
After a couple of hours of lying down, Mom needed to go to the bathroom and an aide who recently got married came in and surreptitiously showed Mom wedding pictures on her cell phone before taking her to the toilet.
I sat with Mom until Paul and Carol arrived at 5:30. Mom's late morning agitation had melted away and we conversed aimlessly as Mom articulated whatever random thoughts or memories or questions popped in her mind and I did my best to keep up.
Mom returned to an idea -- maybe it's a concern -- that recurs. She wonders who owns the house she's staying in and wants to know why the new owners haven't come by to show her around and to tell her how things work at this house. She knows that if she paid as much money for a house as these new owners must have, that she'd make sure everyone in the house knew all about the house.
It makes sense.
3. I returned to Mom's and the Deke and I piled into the Malibu and rocketed uptown so I could introduce her to Radio Brewing, the new brewery in town. We shared a flight of six short glasses of beer and agreed that we each wanted a 10 oz pour of the IPA and enjoyed it so much we had a second. We were both very happy to know that we could enjoy such a fine tasting beer in such a handsome taproom in uptown Kellogg.
After our trip to Radio Brewing, we joined Christy and Everett, who had been to Spokane to visit Everett's daughter who is very ill (and doing better) at Sacred Heart Medical Center, for a chicken and salad dinner the Deke prepared and we dove into some very tasty Rebel Yell Rye Whiskey and talked late into the cool and refreshing Kellogg night.