‘I wish I were normal’

Mom called today to say her cat had escaped. I didn’t really believe it was true, as I know this cat well. He lived with me for about 11 years before moving in with Mom. He is very sedentary and not that curious about the outside world. I think for Mom he has become a bit of a concept – if she can’t see him, he must not be there.

I said, “Do you want me to come over?” Her response: “What you said just now, that sounds good.” Poor Mom. So I hopped in the car. It was lunchtime and I had an errand to run anyhow (more banking for her) so it was not as inconvenient as it could have been.

When I arrived at her facility, she met me in the lobby. This was during her lunch, and I was concerned that she was missing her chance to eat. She said she had eaten some of it. I don’t know if that’s true. We went to her apartment, and there was the cat, standing on the chair and ready to relocate to his favorite spot on a bench by the window. He seemed to be his usual self, not necessarily recovering from an adventure in the halls of an assisted living facility. Mom can never describe what it is that really happened, so I am guessing he never escaped, but that she lost track of him for awhile and it worried her.

Whenever I visit, I scoop the litter boxes, which are situated under the sink in Mom’s bathroom. While I scooped, Mom sat on the toilet. We have never been modest about the bathroom so it was not a big deal. But I said something to her, and she said, “I’m trying to poop.” So she needed a moment to process that rather than speaking. She finished, and got up and stood behind me, talking. She said it was her fault the cat got out. And then she said, “I wish I were normal.” That just broke my heart a little bit. I didn’t want to make a big deal, so I said, “Have you not been feeling well lately?” And she didn’t really answer. But she didn’t seem upset or anything. She just had had a moment of recognition that she is confused about that damn cat. I’d prefer it if she didn’t recognize that she is confused. I hate that.

And she didn’t flush the toilet. So I did.

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1 comment so far

  1. Edie Dykeman on

    When my mother first showed signs of dementia, she realized what was happening and kept saying, “I’m going to fight this.” She kept repeating that over and over. She did pretty good for a while, but it was obvious she was losing the battle. It is so sad to see our parent or loved one when they are aware of what is happening, but can’t do anything to prevent the inevitable.

    Your mom is showing similar behavior to what mine went through, and I’m sure it is difficult for you to see her that way. You sound like you take very good care of her, and I am sure deep within, your mom recognizes that loving care.


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