Archive for December 4th, 2009|Daily archive page

Out to lunch

I had told myself that I would take Mom to lunch over the Thanksgiving weekend, as a little treat for her since I had extra time off. I didn’t manage to do that. I visited Thursday and then again on Sunday, staying for awhile before lunch and leaving when she began to eat. When I arrived on Sunday, she was in line at a table to have her nails painted. The activities aide gave her a really bright red this time, and I thought it looked nice. Maybe I can get her a new bottle of polish for Christmas. I have already bought her two pairs of pants and a lipstick. I’m all about practical gifts for her. And not too many, because she doesn’t really completely understand gifts.

All week, I had been planning to take her to lunch today, Friday. But as I was getting ready for work this morning, I thought, No, I just do not want to do that today. Maybe Saturday, when I have more time. Never on a Sunday, because there would be too long a wait at Bob Evans. But as the morning passed, I felt my mood brighten. I felt lighter. Not physically, but like the black cloud I have tended to have over my head seemed to be lifting. I was consciously aware of it, and it made me so happy. And I called the Alz center to tell the receptionist I would be taking Mom out to lunch.

When I arrived, I went and got her coat, hat and gloves before I even said hello to Mom. There were a few kids from the daycare visiting, so an activity was just nearing its end. An aide was also dancing with a resident. Mom was sitting quietly, picking her chin and holding dog/cat. She was wearing her glasses, which had been lost on Sunday. I know most losses are temporary so I tried not to worry about it. And there they were today. Mom was wearing good clothes for the weather – gray fleece pants and a yellow fleece sweatshirt over a pink T-shirt. Bright blue socks and pink Crocs. I told her I was taking her to lunch, and she liked the good news. When she saw me, she said, “This has happened again,” meaning I have come for a visit. My arrival is always a surprise, and, thankfully for both of us, a pleasant one. I bundled her up. And then she said she might have to poop. So I took her to her bathroom and she sat down and a few typical bathroom sounds occurred, and she said, “There’s the poop.” And I stepped away and before I could get back to her, she had stood up and pulled up her pants without using any toilet paper. And I noticed there was no toilet paper. I decided not to care and I guided her to wash her hands. I bundled her up again and off we went.

We were seated by a nice young man at Bob Evans who asked Mom about dog/cat and what his name was. This restaurant is close to the Alz center so I wonder if staff members know they might have an Alzheimer’s patient on their hands when an old woman walks in with a stuffed animal. Mom ordered coffee and I ordered water, and when both arrived, Mom picked up my water and drank from it immediately. The server brought me another water. As we waited for our food, Mom would occasionally take her fork and make a cutting motion on the placemats in front of us, confused that there was no food yet. She would laugh at herself, and say, “I keep thinking there’s food there.” Eventually, the food did arrive and we ate, mostly in silence, occasionally chatting. She would say, “Emily came and we went out.” And I’d say, “And we are still out.” She made references to Patrick and Emily. And I’d say, “That’s me.” And she’d laugh. It’s OK with me that she is forgetting me, as long as she can recognize my face as her person. I just want her to always know she is safe with me, that I am on her side. When we were leaving, after another visit to the bathroom, as I was buttoning her coat, she said, “You’re my best friend.” I said, “Oh, now…” And she said, “Really, you are. You do everything for me.”

Back at the center, other residents were still eating lunch, so Mom sat in a chair in the middle of the room. I took her coat and hat back to her room. I found some clothes on the floor in her room – a shirt and what looked like flannel pajama bottoms. Mom’s bedspread was in disarray on her bed. I figured someone had taken a nap in her room. And then I noticed a little skid on the floor, and a small piece of poop near my mom’s roommate’s bed. And I thought, yuck. I checked my shoes – no poop, thankfully. I just left the room and shut the door. It was lunchtime – no time to report an accident in my mom’s room. Perhaps the staff already knew, because whoever had been in there had probably come out of the room naked. I knew the staff would find the problem in time, and take care of it. I kissed Mom goodbye. I said, “I have to go back to work,” and she said, “I know.” And it was OK.

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