Archive for November, 2012

Hubby and I were up early Thanksgiving Day getting ready for the 15 family members and friends we were expecting for dinner.  It has been our family tradition for the last 20 or so years to celebrate with an evening meal.  Trying to have everything ready for lunch proved to be too rushed and stressful.  Our daughter had volunteered to bake a cake for dessert and began working on it around 11:00 a.m. when mom and dad drove up.  I was a little puzzled at first as to why they were at my home so early and then realized that dad had somehow gotten confused on when we were planning to eat.  I met them at their car, helping mom out.  “Come on in, K just started baking a cake for dessert,” I told them.  Startled dad said, “Oh, are we eating tonight?  I thought we were having lunch.”  I’ve noticed that dad has gotten a bit forgetful lately so this concerned me.  “It’s okay, come on in.  We can sit on the patio for a while.”  Walking out to the patio dad kept shaking his head and mouthing to me, “It’s not good, it’s not good.”  Oh, I know dad.  One look at those dementia eyes staring at me let me know that she wasn’t having a good day.

As mom and I sat on the patio dad went out to help my hubby in the yard.  I could hear them discussing mom’s condition, talking about what a tough night it had been.  Mom sat, staring into space, not talking, not moving.  I tried to engage her in conversation to no avail.  I brought out my I-pad to show her the proofs of my son’s wedding, yet there was no expression, no acknowledgement.  My mother of old would have been ecstatic to see the photos.  Finally she asked to go in and lay on the sofa.

Needing a few things at the store my hubby asked dad if he wanted to go along.  Dad jumped at the opportunity.  He reminded me of an anxious little puppy, salivating at the thought of doing something normal again, having people around who engaged in conversation.  Mom peacefully slept on the sofa for about an hour and when the men returned we fixed sandwiches for lunch.  I kept thinking that they would return home to rest for a while.  I was worried that if they didn’t mom wouldn’t make it until dinner.  Usually if they stick around too long she gets anxious and wants to go home.  But after lunch they returned to the patio and both napped.  I think dad just needed to be around people.

Around 4:00 I texted my sister, “Come any time.  Mom and dad have been here since 11:00 :)”  I heard nothing.  A few minutes later I phoned.  She answered, “Hey, what time do you want us?”  “Any time,” I responded,  “Did you get my text?”  She hadn’t.  “Read my text and come on over.” They arrived within 15 minutes, chuckling a bit at how long our parents had been at my house.

Mom, of course, was ready to eat the minute they arrived.  After all, she had been here most of the day waiting on dinner.   Once seated at the table we each took turns giving thanks and expressing what we were thankful for.  When it was Uncle C’s turn he choked up, unable to speak.  Finally through his tears he simply said, “I am so lucky.”

So am I Uncle C.  I am lucky to have had one more Thanksgiving Day with my parents.  I am lucky to have shared one more Thanksgiving Day with Uncle C, who is now 94 years old.  And I feel lucky to have been able to spend one more Thanksgiving Day with so many people I love.  Thank you God for your many blessings.


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As mom’s mental state deteriorates, dad becomes more desperate.  He has started ordering anything and everything that claims to help with dementia or Alzheimer’s.  If he notices any improvement he becomes ecstatic.  I understand his feelings of desperation.  I too want so badly to find something, anything, that will keep my mother mentally with us for a bit longer.  Unfortunately, I think we may be losing that battle.

Perhaps it was the wedding that took so much out of her that she can no longer pretend.  She did make it through the wedding like a champ.  She wore her beautiful blue dress proudly, walking down the aisle of the church escorted by two of her grandsons.  She enjoyed the reception, tapping her foot to the band for a couple of hours, eating everything my brother-in-law put in front of her.  But it has been downhill since then.  We’ve seen it before, the ups and downs, but never to this extreme.  Some days she wakes up not knowing where she is.  She has that lost look about her, those damn dementia eyes.  How I hate them!  How I hate what this has done to my mother.

Yesterday dad made the decision to discontinue her physical therapy.  He thinks that is what’s causing the down slide.   “I’d rather have your mother in a wheelchair with some of her mind then walking with none,” dad told me.  I can’t argue with that even though I don’t really agree that the physical therapy is causing her harm.  But who am I to argue.  He is the one living with her day and night.  Fighting the fight.  Staying awake nights because she can’t sleep.  Driving her around at all times of the day or night because she is anxious and just wants to “go somewhere.”

At this point I can only be caring and supportive.  There’s not much more I can do.  I will continue to visit, continue to take them to doctor’s appointments, continue to cook for them and continue to be dad’s sounding board.  When I see his phone number appear on my phone and hear his man whisper I know – I know it’s a very bad day and dad just needs someone to listen.  I promise dad to be there for you and mom to the end, no matter what.

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Mom’s manicure and pedicure at the spa party was finished before mine and she was ready to go.  One of my daughters offered to drive her home.  As they were leaving the spa mom offered to treat my daughter to lunch at a little cafe nearby.  “My treat!” mom exclaimed.  My daughter readily agreed.

Grandmother and granddaughter had a lovely lunch and as the waiter laid the bill on the table, mom grabbed for it.  She opened the folder containing the bill, studied it for a minute and then slapped the folder shut, placed it back on the table and said, “Okay, let’s go.”  Mom arose from the table and began walking out of the restaurant, head held high, happy to have treated my daughter to lunch.  It was at that point that my daughter realized mom did not even have a purse with her much less money.  Making up an excuse to return to the table, my daughter left money to pay for the bill before driving mom home.

In mom’s pre-dementia days she always insisted on paying for lunch.  In her mind nothing had changed.  She was still treating her granddaughter to lunch, even though she had no money.  And she was very proud to do it.

We later chuckled about mom “dining and dashing”.  Thankfully my daughter noticed.  Pretty sure having mom hauled off to jail for leaving without paying the day before the wedding would not have been a good thing!

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“Well, we finally got a convertible,” mom told me as we drove to the “spa party” for my soon to be daughter-in-law the day before the wedding.  “Oh really, mom?” I responded.  “Yes, a pink one.  All of the bridesmaids had to get a convertible the color of their dress and, of course, K’s dress is pink so we got a pink one.”  I just responded with a, “that’s nice mom”, and went on to the spa party.

Mom seems to have some type of fixation on convertibles.  Our first clue two and a half years ago that something was not quite right with mom started with the man in the red convertible.  He was dating our daughter and she saw them everywhere.  Of course, there was no man in a red convertible dating our daughter, but it was hard getting mom to believe that.  Now she owns a pink convertible. 

I’ve never known mom to be particularly interested in convertibles, but something inside that brain of hers keeps going back to them.  Perhaps I’ll borrow a convertible and take her for a ride.  Maybe that will satisfy some childhood fantasy she has or the longing she seems to have for convertibles.  And I might have a little fun in the process!  🙂

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