Girls’ day out

My sister Laura visited for a few days on her way to New York to see her daughter. She arrived Wednesday evening, with just enough time to have a little dinner before we headed off to the weekly support group I attend at the Alz center. We were sad to find the meeting was canceled – a very rare thing – because of floor work being done in the facility lobby. But this also offered an opportunity to visit Mom after dinnertime, something I had not yet done at this place. We found Mom in the program area, and she was very glad to see both of us. She said several times, “What a surprise.” I showed Laura Mom’s room and we sat in a little lounge area. A nurse came by to give Mom her medicine – instructions that Mom had a hard time following – and this nurse also recalled that she had seen Mom’s pink Crocs in another resident’s room. At that moment, perhaps inspired by the presence of two of Mom’s kids, she went and got those Crocs and gave them to me. I put them in Mom’s closet. For the last week or so, she has been wearing her blue Crocs instead:

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I put these cute striped socks on Mom before our outing on Thursday.

Mom seemed just about the same in the evening, but the feel of the place was somewhat different. It apparently was shower time for some residents, and one woman asked Mom to give her a shower. Mom directed her to the nursing station. Two other residents came to sit with us, talk to us, ask us questions, and the like during our visit. An aide was making his way through his group of residents, taking them by hand and leading them to their rooms, where he likely changed their clothes, perhaps helped them with a bathroom trip, and put them to bed. Mom said several times that he was her boyfriend. He stopped to talk to us and he said of Mom, “She is very concerned about me.” Meaning, I think, she pays a lot of attention to him. I hope he doesn’t mind. He seemed quite nice. He works the 3-11 shift. I hope he likes his job. Laura and I left so he could put Mom to bed. We told her we’d be back the next day to take her out to lunch.

We arrived Thursday morning to pick her up just as the kids from the daycare were finishing their visit with the residents. One little girl was turning 2 that day, and residents were singing to her and hugging her. The activities director asked Mom if she wanted to hug the girl. The girl hugged Mom’s legs. She was quite cute. I put a fleece jacket and socks on Mom and we headed to Bob Evans – lucky for us, there is one close by, just as there had been one close to Mom’s assisted living facility. We all had eggs. Mom did very well. She ate every bit of her food. She drank coffee instead of Coke. She studied the menu from time to time. She would read some things out loud. I noticed she pronounced breakfast as “brake. fast.” She is slow and can’t get every word. I didn’t react. But it is a really sad thing, for Mom to lose her ability to read. For most of my life, I knew her as a person who just loved to read. She was always in a book club. She wrote some poetry. She was an intellectual, really. And now she doesn’t know how to properly read the word breakfast.

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Mom seemed to really enjoy looking at the menu - not to select something to eat, but because the words and pictures caught her eye.

After breakfast, we went to KMart across the street. Mom grew to just love shopping at KMart shortly before her symptoms started to show. I don’t know why she was so attracted to this store in particular. Cheap prices are a good guess, however. She was frugal, especially after she retired. Laura had noticed that Mom’s roommate had a bedspread on her bed, and Laura wanted Mom to have one, too. We scouted around the bedding and eventually found a twin-sized striped comforter that Mom approved of. We walked around a little, wondering if Mom might like something else. In the past, taking Mom shopping had become sort of difficult. She would wander around, pick something out that may or may not make sense for her to own, and eventually we would find her walking aimlessly holding onto an item. It was as if stores were too stimulating for her. This time, she stayed with us, didn’t seem very curious about what we were looking at, didn’t pick out anything that she might like. Laura showed her a nightgown that she might like, but Mom said she didn’t really think much of it. Since it didn’t seem to entertain her, we figured we had shopped long enough.

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Mom's new bedspread.

Next, we took a drive. Laura rents a car when she visits, and she scored a Volvo for this trip. I often do the driving around town. I drive a 6-year-old Ford, so it was nice to drive this car. Laura expressed interest in seeing her alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware. She sat in the back, and Mom sat next to me up front. I took 315 North, a scenic route. Mom seemed calm and fairly quiet. She didn’t talk much. She didn’t fall asleep. We drove through the OWU campus and downtown Delaware and Laura talked about various school memories. One of those is when Mom got drunk during a weekend visit to Laura at school. I believe she ended up kissing a young man at some point during that weekend. It is not a good memory for Laura. It might be funny to think about now, but at the time it was embarrassing for Laura. And for Mom, one would think.

We turned around to head back to Columbus with coffee or ice cream in our sights. We asked Mom whether she would prefer a coffee drink or ice cream. “Ice cream,” she said. Not a surprise. We went to Graeter’s on Bethel Road, also close to Mom’s facility. We decided to take a few pictures at this point – photos of Mom, me with Mom, Laura with Mom. And a kind gentleman asked if we’d like a photo of all three of us together.

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Emily, Laura, Bonnie

When we took Mom back to her place and put her bedspread in place, we agreed she seemed tired, so we encouraged her to lie down and take a nap. I showed Laura the rest of the facility – the skilled nursing side of the building, and Mom’s former room. And we decided we were tired, too. We returned to my house, and we both took a nap.

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6 comments so far

  1. Gemma on

    Emily,

    What a sweet day. I’m glad the three of you had this opportunity. As my own mother ages, I find that we get along so much better. Of course it’s probably because I have matured too! Anyway my point is, we get more enjoyment out of simply being together.

    And I love the photo at Graeter’s.

  2. Sherri on

    Glad you all had a nice day! Love the photo – you all look great (your Mom kinda has her arm around you :-).

  3. momsbrain on

    Thanks, Gemma and Sherri. We did have a nice time together. Laura went back the next day and took Mom to lunch again before she left for New York.

  4. Laura on

    It was a great day – a wonderful memory! The next day at lunch, I think Mom had a bit of a flashback to when I took her in August while you and Patrick moved her. She kept asking what would happen if she didn’t like the new place or new people. I kept assuring her that she already liked it and she didn’t have to move again. ALthough she enjoyed her lunch, I could see the relief on her face when we got back. She immediately laid down to take a nap. Worn out from worry, I think!

  5. momsbrain on

    Isn’t that something, that she could revisit those feelings? It is such a weird disease. Thanks for taking her out again. I’m sure she enjoyed the socializing and being out even if she was feeling worried, too.

  6. sandy on

    I love girls’ days out! Ice cream and shopping is always a fine time. I’m noticing my mom is getting more confused when reading menus as well, and that she doesn’t remember her old favorite dishes! Glad you girls got to spend some quality time.


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