Archive for August 13th, 2009|Daily archive page

Moving Mom

I hoped to write about the move as it happened, as in Day 1 and Day 2. But I was too tired last night to do any writing. And I was still unsure about how to assess how things had gone. For now, I’m willing to say things have gone better than I expected, but the situation is far from perfect.

We started Wednesday slowly. My sister, Laura, had arrived Tuesday evening from the West Coast. I scheduled the day to allow her to sleep in as she adjusts to the Eastern time zone. And also so Patrick could take just an afternoon off to help with some of the heavy lifting. Laura and I shared a bottle of wine Tuesday night, and after I went to bed, I learned later, she opened and started on a second bottle. So on Wednesday morning, she felt a little nauseated. Not tip-top. After some toast and a Frappuccino, she was much better. I felt physically fine, but full of dread in my mind.

At around 1 p.m., we headed over to the assisted living facility. Patrick followed with our truck. After introductions, Laura whisked Mom away for a day of ice cream, driving around and shopping. Patrick and I tackled some of the big stuff in Mom’s apartment. We are keeping an oak dining room table that Mom has had all of our lives in our basement until someone, maybe one of Mom’s granddaughters, can use it. We boxed up some small valuables, like Hummels, some glassware and odds and ends my grandfather had brought home from World War II, to store in our basement until we can divvy up these items. And then we took two cart loads of Mom’s belongings to her new room. We were able to fit a buffet table next to her new dresser, and we put lots of pictures and a clock on the buffet. We hung up pictures of Mom’s three kids, plus a picture of her beloved cat, Petunia. I filled her dresser drawers and her closet with enough clothes to last the rest of her life. Mom had a lot of clothes – we probably donated as many as we kept. We put two chairs into the room, including a nice white wicker chair, but it later had to be removed so Mom’s roommate could negotiate the small room in her wheelchair. That wicker chair is now on my front porch.

When Mom and Laura returned from their outing, we showed her the new room. We could almost see the black cloud form over her head. Her face went slack, blank, angry. She didn’t like the room. She didn’t show any interest in it. She objected to the whole thing. We introduced her to Kathryn, her roommate. Kathryn formerly shared the room with her husband, to whom she was married for 76 years before he died. Mom was nice enough to Kathryn. Laura and I explained to her that Mom is not crazy about the move, but that it wasn’t personal. Kathryn, in her very gentle way, let us know that she, too, is experiencing an adjustment. She made a very good point. She is a dear. We took Mom back over to assisted living for dinner, which we were told would be OK. While she was there, she got a dose of her antipsychotic. Laura and I worked for one more hour, bagging trash and collecting some of Mom’s hundreds of photos, until dinner was over. And then we took her back over to her new room.

This time, we fiddled with the controls for Mom’s bed, lifting her head so she could easily see her TV. She started lounging, and she was relaxed. “I’m feeling better,” she said. “I am SO glad about that,” I told her. She ate a few Oreos that we had brought for her. She also ate a chocolate from Kathryn’s end table, which we tried to discourage. We turned “Friends” onto her TV and decided to leave. My dad and his wife were having us over for dinner so we could not have to do one more thing after the move. And that was great, to drink a tall glass of water, eat a dinner of summer salads, and then crack open a beer after a busy day. That was Day 1 of Mom’s move.

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