Archive for January 16th, 2012|Daily archive page

A busy mind

Mom talked nonstop during my visit with her today. I found her lying on a couch by herself. She looked like she might be considering a nap. I pulled a chair up and touched her hand, which was resting on her right thigh. She didn’t acknowledge my touch. But she began to talk. These are just some of the things she said:

“I am so pissed off at her.” She continued on this topic for awhile, and I wondered if she was actually recalling a negative experience, or if there was a chance she was pissed at me. If that was the case, she didn’t seem to attach the negative feelings to me. I wondered what could have possibly happened.

“Nancy was here.” And I said, “Nancy? Was here?” Nancy is Mom’s sister, and I’m pretty sure I would know if she had visited. It is also the name of an old neighbor of Mom’s. Mom sometimes tosses out these names and it doesn’t mean anything. But then she said, “Yeah, isn’t that something?”

“The horses ran by.” She talks about horses a lot.

“Wasn’t that awful?” (pause, with no response from me) “She said to herself.” This made me laugh out loud, which made Mom laugh. That was classic Bonnie, to say something jokingly snide like that if she felt like she was being ignored. I loved it.

Throughout this conversation, I gently touched Mom’s hand or rubbed her arm, hoping that these physically comforting feelings might make her forget whatever she was pissed about. She was completely unresponsive to my touch. But she didn’t resist it. And she kept talking, sometimes in complete sentences, and sometimes in made-up words or what to me are meaningless syllables.

She abruptly sat up and then stood up. We took a walk around the program area, and Mom kept up the talking. She tapped one woman resident on the shoulder, and the woman said, “Are you crazy?” But Mom didn’t notice. Mom approached a male resident I didn’t recognize and put her hands on his shoulders. She was being friendly, but he said, “Hey, hey,” and she backed away. And she reached out to a university student who was visiting for a community service project. I explained, “My mom is very extroverted today.” And I thanked her for her volunteer visit.

We circled back to the couch, and Mom stretched out again. I leaned down to kiss her goodbye, and she said, “Where’s Roxy?” Roxy is one of our cats that lived with Mom for the last few years of his life; he died 2 1/2 years ago, beside Mom in her bed when she was in assisted living. I haven’t heard her say that name in a long time – even when he was alive, she often called him “Big Boy.” He was a fat cat.

When I made a motion to leave, Mom got up and started walking with me. Just then the lunch trays arrived, so I sat her down at a table and put a bib on her. A volunteer brought her tray. I poured her milk and buttered her bread and cut up her salisbury steak. Once I moved out of her way, she said, “I want that,” and grabbed a boiled potato with her hands. And then she began slurping at her ice cream cup. I could see she was focused on her food and was interested in eating, so I gave her one more kiss and told her to have a good lunch.

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