Starbucks memories

My sister Laura visited last weekend. Poor thing arrived while we – at my house and at my dad and stepmother’s house – remained in the midst of our power outage, so she stayed at a hotel. At our first visit together to see Mom on Sunday afternoon, Laura arrived with a mocha frappuccino from Starbucks. Mom had always loved those, Laura said. Sure enough, Mom got the hang of drinking her frosty, sweet drink right away.

Mom didn’t hesitate to drink through the straw, though it has probably been truly years since she used a straw.

Mom was very animated, too. Talked quite a bit, telling various stories. I admit I don’t recall much – I waited too long to write this blog post! But she was funny. She sat on the couch and Laura and I sat in chairs facing her. We had a really nice visit. Mom continued to work on her frappuccino.

We may have had to help her with the lid. She knew she wanted every drop of that cold, sweet treat.

I do recall Mom said at one point, “God almighty, you’re killing me.” I think it was actually an indication of how much she was enjoying her drink. But it was also one of those old-time Bonnie phrases. She also started one sentence by saying, “Interestingly, … ” which we found amusing. Her language was a diverse mix of full sentences and nonsense multisyllabic sounds. Her mood stayed very good.

Mom was amused by the whipped cream on her nose.

Laura and I were so inspired by Mom’s good mood that we decided to try to take her out for ice cream – more frosty goodness. I retrieved a pair of Crocs from her room and Laura and I worked together to get them on her feet. Unfortunately, we hit a sore spot on one of her toes. “That’s terrible,” she said, very dramatically. We apologized and kept working until we got the shoes on her feet. A nurse took her to the shower room to change her so she’d be fresh for the road. Laura and I listened outside the door just in case Mom screamed – I thought Laura would be interested to know what it’s like since I write about it sometimes. But Mom was almost silent, just talking a little. No major objections. We walked with her to the lobby, and here I needed a stop in the restroom. When I came out, Mom was sitting on the couch. Laura had tried to keep her standing, but with the couch in view, Mom went straight for it. Laura took a quick restroom break, too. And then we tried to get Mom to stand so we could take her out the door to the car. And we hit a wall. Mom’s mood had soured a little bit with the shoe incident and the shower room change. She was basically silent, but she did not respond to efforts to get her to stand. And she seemed very drowsy. She closed her eyes. We had worn her out. And maybe she was experiencing a crash after a sugary, caffeinated drink.

Mom on a lobby couch, freshened up and wearing shoes, but not up for an outing after all.

This visit was the best during Laura’s stay in town. Mom enjoyed another frappuccino the next day. And the three of us took a walk through the center. But she was somewhat subdued and distracted, and not as chipper. Later the same day, we took her a scoop of chocolate ice cream right before dinner – I have to hand it to Laura for wanting to provide Mom with these pleasurable flavors – and Mom ate it while walking rather than sitting down to enjoy it. This is how it is with Mom – she has stabilized at this point where she can walk, feed herself and thoroughly enjoy tasty treats, and talk in a social way despite language difficulties. But her mood is a little less predictable. She thankfully is never weepy, but it appears she can hold on to some irritation and glumness. I sometimes think she also has a limit to how much social interaction she can tolerate – either because it’s physically tiring or a strain on her mood, or both. So I’m glad Laura saw her on a very good day.


5 comments so far

  1. Lesley Austin on

    I am glad you all have some nice memories of this recent visit with your sister. I find the not knowing what sort of mood or energy my mom will have each day rather trying in its unpredictability….my mom sounds a lot like yours, Emily.

    I am working on not letting her moods affect mine, but that is a stretch, isn’t it? We always seem to be affected by those around us, and visa versa.

    You make me long for a Frappuccino in these hot, hot days.

    Wishing you a peaceful Summer,


  2. becky honeywell on

    Hey Emily,
    My name is Becky Honeywell, and we have a mutual friend – Cameron Smith. I live in Indianapolis and was supposed to see Cam and his new girlfriend but had to pass. My mother was just officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s …and I really wasn’t in the mood to socialize. When I emailed Cam why I couldn’t make it – he told me about you and gave me the link to your blog. I’m so happy to start reading it – just to get some insight, you know? Thanks so much for writing….

  3. Barry on

    Hi Emily! Well it was nice to read about your pleasant visit. I will be back in Ohio as of late Sat night (or early Sun morning – however you want to look at it). I think I will want to go for a visit while I’m back. I’ll be in touch. Miss you and look forward to seeing you.

  4. Jeff on

    Hi Emily – I heard from Laura about the visits, but she hadn’t mentioned that you were going to try an outing. I’m sorry that plan got derailed, but maybe a little better that it happened at the center instead of out on the road. I don’t remember Mom liking those frappuccinos, but I’m glad Laura has a keen memory for that. The pictures look like it was a good visit.

  5. momsbrain on

    Hi, Lesley – you are so right about Mom’s mood affecting mine. Of course, she is not in my home, where I’m sure the effects are significantly more intense. I hope your summer is peaceful, as well.

    Becky – I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. For us, the diagnosis was confirmation of what we suspected and also a very sad event. My blog starts several years after Mom’s diagnosis – it took me awhile to realize blogging might be something to pursue. Feel free to contact me via this blog or by email (on the About page) if you ever have any questions. I try NOT to distribute unsolicited advice, but I am perfectly willing to share my experiences in case something might help.

    Barry – How great that you can get back to Ohio! Just let me know when you want to visit – a weekday should be OK if that’s best for you; I can be flexible.

    Hi, Jeff – Poor Laura; I think she REALLY likes the idea of getting Mom out in to the fresh air. But it is just not easy, and it’s something we can’t even be sure that Mom will enjoy these days. It might feel like too much exposure; I think she feels very safe inside the center. But then again, what do I know? 🙂

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