Sniffles

Mom might have a cold. When I visited her today, her nose was running a little bit. And she said she had needed to blow her nose. She also seemed really woozy. I assumed she was tired. This place is not the type to overmedicate her, so I think I was right about that. In fact, when I walked into the lobby, I saw her heading for a couch, and I was guessing that she was going to lie down for a nap. It was just after lunch. She said “It’s a miracle” when I showed up today. She said the same on Sunday afternoon when I visited. I imagine it feels like a long time between visits for her – or that she really simply has no idea about the last time I visited. I have also cut back on visitation now that she seems so settled. That remains true, still. She might toss out a small complaint about not having friends or about being lost or about not having a place to sleep, but I attribute that to confusion and forgetfulness. She is friendly when we pass people in the hall. She pointed out one man as her friend. He likes to dance. And when I walked past him in the hall on Sunday, he was standing around with no shirt on. “Excuse me,” I said as I passed him. “You’re welcome,” he replied. He is a pretty funny guy – functions fairly well, like Mom, compared to others in the place. So I’m not surprised they are friends.

Today, I painted Mom’s fingernails again. I liked having a specific thing to do with her. A few staff members joked “I’m next” as Mom and I sat in the lobby and I did her nails. They’ll find out soon enough if they take one look at Mom’s hands that I do a lazy job of it. But Mom seems to like having pink fingernails. I just put on one coat. It looks nice with all of her bracelets. We took a little walk and then I took her to her room today and suggested she consider taking a nap. She said she had to pee, so I headed her toward her room for that purpose. It was funny, because when she was done peeing, she said it smelled bad – worse than usual. When I stepped over to the toilet to flush it, it was pretty clear to me that Mom had simply farted, and that’s what she smelled. But she didn’t seem aware of it. She is still able to declare when she needs to use the bathroom, but it does seem she can be easily confused about it, too. She’ll start to lift up her shirt and make the motion of pulling down her pants at the sight of a chair or a bed in her room before I open the bathroom door and point her toward the toilet.

On Sunday, we ran into each other in the lobby and I told Mom I wanted to go to her room to hang up her clean laundry. She sat in a chair while I did that. I also arranged some pictures on posterboard under plexiglass so she can have some familiar faces on her wall. I didn’t do a very good job, though, and when I stood it up to prop against the wall, some of the pictures slid out of place. I need to tape them to the posterboard, I guess. I don’t even know how meaningful the pictures are to her. But I want her to have them to look at nonetheless. After I was finished, we went to the big program area just in time for the art activity. A staff member gave Mom a page from a coloring book and Mom picked out two markers and a crayon from a box. She set out to color the picture, which was a flower with leaves and what appeared to be some ribbon. It was sort of a confusing picture and Mom had trouble really recognizing what it represented. But she persisted. And I sat and watched her. We shared a can of root beer from the vending machine. She asked me to fill in some of the picture so I just made a few pink touches to match the ones she had already done. Here is her finished product:

Mom\'s picture. She selected yellow and pink markers and a fat green crayon to work on this. I think the colors look great. She wrote a B in the upper right corner. And then she said, \'I wrote a B but I don\'t know why.\' In the lower left, she just made her own small design. I told her it looked a bit like a bird.

Mom's picture. She selected yellow and pink markers and a fat green crayon to work on this. I think the colors look great. She wrote a B in the upper right corner. And then she said, 'I wrote a B but I don't know why.' In the lower left, she just made her own small design. I told her it looked a bit like a bird.

That day and today, I sensed she was fatigued so I took her to her room and encouraged her to lie on her bed. I covered her with a fleece throw that she recognizes from her assisted living days and suggested she go to sleep. I don’t mean to cause her to sleep too much. For some reason this has just seemed like an appropriate thing to do. I was going to find a couch for her today in the big program room, but all four couches were occupied – including by a napper or two. Since I really did think she might be sick, I put her to bed. I turned on low cool air and closed her blind. She looked cozy in her bed, holding onto dog/cat. And I kissed her goodbye.

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4 comments so far

  1. Tom on

    It sounds like she is settling in nicely and that your life is beginning to get back to some sense of normalcy. I’m sure it’s quite a relief. It’s amazing what a difference a couple of weeks make!

  2. momsbrain on

    Hi, Tom. It is a huge relief. And I do feel much more normal, much less full of worry. A co-worker today even observed that I seem less … something. So this is real progress!

  3. Sherri on

    What a “cozy” posting. Sounds like things are going well. She’s doing art – she has new friends – it’s just so nice for you and for her, isn’t it?

  4. momsbrain on

    Sherri, it is very nice. I popped in quickly yesterday to drop off some underwear for her and I couldn’t find her. The activities director saw me and said Mom had been in the program area eating ice cream not too long before that. We guessed she might have gone in someone’s room for a nap since she wasn’t in her own room or in any public areas.


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