Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 07/31/17: Sibling Breakfast, Mom is Animated, Tasty IPA BONUS Mom's Good Times

1.  Christy, Carol, and I sat down at Best Shots for breakfast together and we let each other know what's on our schedules for the next month and planned out our time with Mom over the next week. This is one of my favorite things to do: talk with my sisters about Mom's condition, share beyond our writing about what we see and experience, and talk about how Mom's decline is affecting us. Our breakfast made me long for the days of our Sibling Outings. It's been too long since we've been able to go somewhere together and eat food, take pictures, and relax together over drinks. I miss those outings a lot.

2. I had a quiet time with Mom starting at noon. Until two o'clock, she was in her wheelchair. She ate some chicken, pasta, carrots, and a bit of brownie at lunch. Mom wasn't very talkative, although at one point when a woman on some HGTV show kept complaining about the different houses she looked at to possibly buy, Mom said, "What a big baby." I winced, thinking she was talking about me, so I said, "You mean that woman on tv?" Mom said flatly, "Yes."  Mom went back to bed at two o'clock and was sleeping when Christy walked in the room to be with her.

Just a couple of hours later, things changed for the better, dramatically. Judy and Angie, Mom's nieces, arrived from Boise and Mom became the most animated I've seen her in weeks.

Christy texted me to come over to Mom's, so I strolled into Mom's room around 5:30 and Mom was holding court. Her speech was lucid, she was tracking conversations really well, and she had a lot to say about people in her family and things that happened in the past.

Mom did slip into the world of imagined events from time to time. My favorite was when she talked about the time she and I took a train to Texas and how big the stars were in Texas.

By seven o'clock, Judy, Angie, and Christy had all left to go to Christy and Everett's for dinner.

I just couldn't leave quite yet. I tuned in Jeopardy on the television and Mom and I watched. With everyone but me gone, Mom quieted down and she was starting to nod off while Jeopardy was on.

I decided I'd join the others for dinner at 7:30.  I made sure Mom's help button was clipped to her shirt and I kissed her on the forehead and said, "I love you Mom."

"I love you, too, Bill."

I started to stand up straight and then Mom said, "You must find me very irritating."

I recoiled.

"No, Mom. I don't find you irritating at all. I promise." I made an X over my heart and said, "Cross my heart."

Mom smiled, "OK. Good night, Bill."

"I'll see you in the morning, Mom."

3.  At around four o'clock, the Deke and I drove up to Radio Brewing at each enjoyed a couple of 10 oz. glasses of their very delicious X-Minus One IPA.  The Deke and I starting to think that this is one of our favorite of the beers we've sampled from Eugene to Beltsville, MD and points in between. It's hard for me to pinpoint exactly why I like this IPA so much, but I think it's because its mildly bitter, allowing other hop flavors and its malt foundation to assert themselves. I enjoy hoppy IPAs, but this beer takes me back about twenty years to when locally brewed IPAs were not quite as hop forward. I enjoy this beer's balance. The Deke and I talked about what we might do over the next couple of weeks and, as we left, we had our Radio Brewing growler filled with X-Minus One.

When we drank from this growler later on while enjoying grilled chicken, potato salad, and a zucchini/mushroom mix, we commented again that this X-Minus One is, for us, a really good beer.

BONUS: I'm going to write a little more about Mom because I want a more detailed record of the last couple of days.

On Sunday, July 30th, Mom slept for about seven hours, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. During those seven hours, she woke up for a little while and talked with Christy and a family friend, Tina, but mostly she slept.

When she woke up around six, aides transferred her into her wheelchair and she ate pretty well and we had a meandering talk, but I had this feeling that when Carol would at 6:30, Mom might have a burst of energy, much like she did last Thursday, July 27th, when she propelled herself on a circuit in the hallways of Kindred's building.

I was right. Mom and Carol had what Carol reported was good talk about why she was at Kindred.

Then Mom said something like, "Okay! Let's go!" and Carol wheeled her out to garden. On the way, Mom stopped and talked with her longtime friend, Peny, and she greeted everyone she saw. Out in the garden, Carol and Mom watched hummingbirds at the feeders. Carol asked Mom what her favorite hymns are and when she responded "In the Garden" and "The Old Rugged Cross".  Mom started to sing "In the Garden" and Carol joined in and Mom teared up. Mom let Carol take some selfies of the two of them and the one Carol posted shows Mom with a wide grin, looking animated and happy.

So Mom had a lively evening on July 30th, singing hymns with Carol and another lively time on the 31st when Angie and Judy visited.

We were told when Mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia that Mom would have some really good times and some lousy ones -- peaks and valleys.

These peaks, these bursts of energy and animation may not come often, but it's sure fun when they do. It's heartening to have these short periods of time when Mom is awake, alive to what's happening around her, and really enjoying herself. I love it when she is happy.

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