Getting ready to leave

I will be leaving for a vacation this Saturday. I haven’t looked so forward to a vacation in a really long time. I am trying to ease Mom into that information, that I’ll be gone for a week. I did the same trip last year – it happens to fall over Mother’s Day – and it didn’t seem to really make a huge difference to her. But I’m a little worried about her reaction to it, mostly because lately she has just generally been fretful and I don’t want to give her anything else to fret about.

I visited Sunday about 45 minutes before dinner. Mom was in the lobby with many of her lady friends. One of them got up to make room for me next to Mom, which was so sweet. We sat for a bit and she said something along the lines of she had been wondering where I was since she hadn’t seen me in such a long time. Well, I had seen her Thursday and talked to her on the phone on Friday. But I do have to remind myself that the timing of my visits isn’t necessarily meaningful to her. The receptionist later told me that Mom had said I’ve been gone and that I got another job and was moving away. She could be thinking about one of my siblings. I did change jobs a year and a half ago but I never left town. And I certainly am not going anywhere, and I tell her that repeatedly. I don’t know where she gets these ideas. And then, while we were sitting there, she said she’s worried about the cat. “Do you want to go see him?” she asked. Of course I did.

In the apartment, the cat was on his bench by the window. I went over to comb him a bit. His fur is very matted. He is showing some age. I don’t think he’s grooming himself much. I think he has lost some weight. But he hasn’t been very active for years so I don’t necessarily think he’s sick. He was just at the vet in February and was doing fine. I checked his mouth to make sure he didn’t have a sore on his tongue similar to the one that ended up killing the other cat. All clear. After I combed him, I checked the litter but there wasn’t anything substantial to scoop. I checked Mom’s underwear supply, which I had just stacked into her dresser drawer last week. It seemed a little low. I looked on Mom’s bed and noticed a number of pairs of disposable underwear on her pillows and scattered around, including some on the floor. I asked her what was going on. Well, I had left behind an unopened package of the underwear as a spare supply. Mom had opened the package and strewn the undies all over. I asked if she knew which were clean and which were dirty. Stupid of me. She has no idea. I scanned them and most looked fine, and I tried to fold them and put them in her drawer. I threw away several pairs, too. The trash cans are in the bathroom. When I returned to her bedroom, Mom had taken off her shirts. And here I should say her outfit was pretty funny. She was sort of trendy, with a long-sleeved turtleneck under a short-sleeved T-shirt – a combination I had never seen her put together before. But the turtleneck was pale blue with flowers on it and the T-shirt had pink and white horizonal stripes. So it was a humorous ensemble. Since she had removed her shirts, I offered to replace them with something new. And clean. We settled on a yellow lightweight fleece with her gray pants. And her pink Crocs, no socks.

I decided to comb Mom’s hair so I went looking in her purse to find a comb. I noticed a cookie at the bottom of the purse. And a sock. And the interior of the purse had a slightly funky smell that I decided not to investigate. I combed her hair and she asked how it looked. The haircut is holding up pretty well. She then seemed ready to go to dinner. I did mention to her that I would be leaving in a few days to go out of town. She asked how many days I would be gone, and I said a week. But I threw in that my sister is visiting in a few weeks, and she liked that news. “I haven’t seen her in ages,” she said. Not since Christmas, anyhow. It didn’t seem to bother Mom terribly that I will be leaving. But I said we could go to lunch this week – she will enjoy that. She still seemed a little bothered by something. She said seeing me made her feel so much better. She is being weaned from her antipsychotic now, which I assume could affect her mood. I have a mind to add it back to her regimen if she continues to seem blue. I just can’t stand that, and there is no reason for her to be worried about anything, ever. I am noticing different philosophies about this. The neurologist wants to keep her functioning. The nursing home doc wants her to be a peaceful resident. I want her to be unafraid and as content as she can be. I hope we can figure out how to achieve all of those things.

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