Goodbye for a week

I visited Mom quite briefly today before my departure for vacation. I caught her shortly before dinner. I stocked her underwear drawer to the brim with disposable pants and scooped the litter. The litter has been a little short on pee and poop lately. I hope that means Mom is scooping and not that the cat is ill or not eating or anything of that sort. I saw him today and he looked fine, resting on the bed. Mom seemed pretty eager to go to dinner. I reminded her that I was going on a little trip but that I would call her and be back before she knew it. She seemed completely unimpressed by that information. Which is good. I did ask how she was doing, and she said, “Not so good,” but she didn’t go on to attempt to explain anything that is wrong. Maybe that is her current default answer. She did not seem depressed or confused. Just sort of a little blank. While I was scooping the litter, bent over, she did poke me in the butt. Which I found amusing. “I feel ornery,” she said. I love it when she is playful like that.

I stopped to talk to the head nurse about any med refills that might come up during the week. I asked that they be filled at the facility pharmacy rather than at Kroger, where I go regularly to pick up refills they have called in. I just had to give verbal permission to make this arrangement. I figure when Mom moves to the nursing home side, I will transfer all her meds to the facility pharmacy. I suspect that will make monetary transactions easier – in that Medicaid will cover it all. The nurse asked what I thought about Mom and whether she has shown any major changes. Today was her last day on the antipsychotic, and for a week she has taken a reduced dose. I told her I thought Mom had been more prone to say she was depressed, but that she also seemed a little less completely befuddled and confused. Still plenty confused, but not quite so cyclical in her concerns. And not crying or anything, just a little down. The nurse said she thought Mom seemed a little more “blank” lately. I have definitely thought that, as well. The facility doctor and the neurologist are supposed to consult this week while I’m away to be sure Mom is doing OK without this drug. The nurse said that while I’m gone, the staff will use an as-needed drug if necessary – for example, if Mom wanders or becomes highly agitated. And I gave my full endorsement of that plan. “Do what it takes to make her not sad and not scared,” I said. She did say that Mom carried the cat’s water bowl into the dining room this week and placed it on her dining table. Anyone iffy about germs probably did not appreciate that. Plus, what was she thinking? That is a first as far as I know. I don’t really even know how it was resolved.

When I dropped Mom at the dining room, she held out her hand to give mine a shake. I hugged her as well – but the handshake was another new thing. She may have been goofing around. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. I said, “I’ll see you in a week,” and she said, “Thanks for stopping by,” and waved and walked on in to her table. I’d say at that moment, at least, she was not upset about my decision to go away. And for that, I am grateful.

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