Two short visits

I am trying to develop a routine for visits with Mom. This week, I went to see her before lunch on Tuesday and Thursday. I am allowing for about 45 minutes to spend with her so I can get a decent feel for how she’s doing. Yesterday, I concluded that she is doing great.

On Tuesday, I could see her clothing situation had improved. She had on black pants, a striped T-shirt and a red fleece jacket. It had just gotten cool outside, so having fleece on made sense. Her hair still didn’t look recently washed, but it looked better. I’m wondering if, even if she gets into the shower, she protests about her hair and face getting wet. I’ve heard some aides in the past say that about her. I painted her nails at a table in the program area while two other residents sat and watched us. I also clipped her nails – they seem to grow very rapidly. She likes the manicure so I will probably make it a weekly thing. Then she said she would like to have some pink stuff on her cheeks. So I took her to her room, where I have hidden a small makeup bag in her sock drawer. I put on some powder and blush, and had her put on her lipstick because she does it better than I can. I combed her hair. And then she was feeling pretty in pink, I think. I left when her lunch arrived. She was a little confused, sitting, then standing, then sitting again, while I tried to say goodbye. I eventually convinced her to just sit still and start eating.

On Thursday, I found Mom in the lobby, on the couch, but sitting upright. I sat with her and she was telling me about how the little kids from the daycare had just been visiting. She described a somewhat chaotic scene, but I didn’t really know how much truth there was to that. She loves little kids, but she seemed to be overwhelmed by them on this particular day. She brought up the kids several times during my visit. She was wearing blue pants and a red corduroy shirt, so I assume now that someone is helping her dress. I ran into her guardian angel and just asked her if she could look into why the disposable underwear I brought for Mom hadn’t been used. She also told me I needed to take away the laundry basket in Mom’s closet to be sure that the facility will take over the laundry. Where do they keep it? I thought, but didn’t say out loud. And then she said they pick up dirty clothes from each resident’s room every morning and run them through the wash every day. Wow. That’s one way to stay on top of it, I guess. And, perhaps with the amount of incontinence in this population, it’s best to not let these particular dirty clothes sit around for long. So I took the basket home, and while emptying it into the washer, discovered two pairs of Mom’s roommate’s pants among Mom’s belongings. So that’s where the strange clothes came from.

For the rest of the visit, Mom and I took a little walk around the facility, stopped to sit for awhile, and then took another walk. We went over to the skilled side, where she used to have a room, and an aide said hello to Mom and told her how much she missed Mom. And she said she wanted to brush Mom’s hair. Whoops – I guess I should have done that, but I hadn’t bothered. I didn’t take it as a reflection on me. I could see she just had affection for Mom. And of course, I am glad to see that anytime, anyplace. We returned to the program area to wait for lunch, and we sat at a table with two women I recognize but hadn’t spent much time talking to. One is a very talkative woman who seems pretty with it. Another is a fairly new arrival who cries a lot. And the talkative one was talking sternly to the sad one about how lunch would be arriving soon. And the sad one cried. A nurse came over and asked the talkative woman to try to be more comforting. But the talkative woman and even my mom said this woman cries all the time. Still, it’s hard to see her cry. She said she was hot and wanted to take off her sweater, and I helped her with that. She said she was hungry, and a volunteer came over and comforted her and then went and got her tray as soon as the first group of trays came out of the kitchen. She felt a little better when she got her food.

I got Mom’s tray for her – something I have never bothered to do. I poured her little carton of milk into a glass, and removed the warmer, and put her napkin on her lap, and put the knife and fork on her plate, and put her soup in front of the tray so she could eat it first. All the steps I have seen the aides do. This time, she was not confused. I kissed her goodbye while she was eating, and she returned to her soup without another thought about me.


2 comments so far

  1. Sherri on

    How nice. She sounds very settled. Maybe the schedule you’re starting will give you some peace too. I mean, it sounds like you’re mom is doing really well and has good people around her, so you can relax a little.

  2. momsbrain on

    Definitely, Sherri. I went to Bloomington, Ind., for the weekend and really didn’t think about her (meaning worry about her) very much at all. That was nice.

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