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Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Day After

OK, I didn't write anything yesterday:)  It always seems I need a day off when I visit my mother in the Alzheimer's Home or sometimes I can't get my thoughts together (Alzheimer's is contagious, LOL).  Anyway one thing I have learned to survive is  to laugh, my Fellow and I try and do see the humor in everything! We have been through a tough two years and one way to survive stress is to laugh, laugh often and laugh loudly.
The day before yesterday I went to town, (about a 10-15 drive) and ran a few errands. I always have to accomplish my errands prior to seeing my mother because my brain is mush afterwards.  Let me explain:
My mother lives in a home with 20-23 people that all suffer from the same disease.  That means when I visit my mother, I visit with several other residents.  Yes, we have gotten to know all these wonderful and funny people:)  And Yes, it is depressing but that's where the need for laughter comes in.  There is one lovely concerned little lady, Miss A who is constantly asking " Where's George?", " Where's Buck?" and "Have you seen Evolow?"  Over that last few months we have learned that these people have all passed away which I know is sad but remember Miss A doesn't remember that;)  So we have learned to always tell her that George is with Buck working on a truck in Silver City. And any guilt I have for lying goes away when she just smiles and tells us that George and Buck are like two peas in a pod, where you see one, you see the other.  And she is happy!! How cruel would it to be to tell her the truth each time, (sometimes she asks three to six times in just one of our visits).  It takes a whole bunch of patience and a whole bunch of restraint not to laugh out loud.   And this is just one of the lovely residents that we have contact with on a visit with mother.
So when I arrived Tuesday and went to my mother's room, she was lying down. She sat up and told me that she had went to work that morning and came home and was tired and she laid down.  She also told me there was nothing in the kitchen to eat.  She seems to think the kitchen is the bathroom and I have even found food stashed in the medicine cabinet.   I explained to her as I do often that she eats at the "cafe".  As she was getting ready to go have coffee with me, I searched her room for any items she has stolen from the laundry room.   She is still a hoarder and if the laundry room is left unlocked she will sneak in and take, sheets, towels and other peoples clothes.   I separate the items so I can replace them in the laundry room when she is not looking.  I got her moving and  we went to sit down in the dinning area/cafe to have coffee. As always , others join us and I begin serving them coffee and answering questions....  One of the residents Miss M is a lovely lady who is prim and proper and always tells me "Oh we need to do this again" and "its just lovely".   Another lady, Miss D comes by and asks me if I have seen her children.  (You have to be careful when answering questions so not to alarm them).  I usually tell Miss D that her children are at school or at the movies.   My mother sits and worries about where she is gonna eat, because she has already forgotten that she eats here everyday, three times everyday.  Apparently some patients have their hunger button stuck on and some have it stuck off.  Some like my mother never get enough and she has been known to sneak in the kitchen and steal food. I had arrived last week and found a half loaf of bread and a huge jar of salsa in her bathroom and she had made a salsa sandwich.  I  try to keep fruit and snacks in her room to soothe her and along with three meals, the residents get three snacks plus there are always cereal, crackers and other snack items in the kitchen for them, in spite of all this my mother is always hungry.   I always sit and drink coffee until my mother says  "You Ready!"  I usually take Mother and  we sit on the patio and I try  to keep conversation going. (did I explain, my mother is hard of hearing and loses all hearing aids we have purchased for her). The other residents come out and go back in and sometimes ask the same things each time:)    On Tuesday I looked over at the other patio and noticed Mr T was helping another resident stand up from her wheelchair.  I ran over and asked him if I could help, he then told me that "thing" was in her way.  Oh No, she can't walk!  Thank Goodness for the staff members, they always show up in the neck of time. After a staff member placed Miss G back in her chair and sent Mr T off in another pursuit, I returned to Mother who complained about being left.  We went back inside and I start to explain to Mother, I must leave to return to work. Sometimes, she thanks me for the visit and other times she asks me "What are I supposed to do?" and "Are you going to just leave me here?"  She has already forgotten that she lives there.  On these times I stay and explain to her this is her home and wait until she calms down before I leave.  It is hard but I have learned to handle it by texting my children and laughing with them via text.    My mother knows I am her daughter but she doesn't remember my name, she knows my Fellow's name but doesn't know who he is.  We will continue to visit with my Mother as often as possible even if she knows us or not.   We never know what to expect on each visit and we will try to just laugh and survive one day/visit at at time.

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