Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Passenger 1

Hi Faithful Readers,

As I was pondering which topic to blog about I realized that I needed to make my MOM REPORT to my 4 siblings and Jill, Mom's/our amazing caregiver. As I wrote, it became more of a story so I submit a blog version of it here for your enjoyment.

Anyone who has an elderly parent with dementia can relate, I'm sure. So take heart. As Red Green (one of my favourite characters, in one of my favourite Canadian shows of all time) says, "we're all in this together."

Hi All,

Sorry I am very lax in getting visit report out to you.

WARNING: this is a long piece, so get a cup of coffee and relax. There is no vital info in this e-mail message.

I took Mom to hairdressers on Sat.

Her speech was pretty clear for the most part though she goes through periods when she's just nattering away and I just laugh along with her and make listening sounds and she seems O.K. with this. It was pretty obvious when she was trying to get through to me and then we'd work on it together though some sentences and thoughts sprung forth fairly easily.

As we made our way into Oakville, Mom enjoyed listening to my young friend Melissa McClelland in a CBC interview, and laughed readily at the set-up with the telemarketer. My friend Glynnie had called me earlier to let me know that the interview was coming up. So, while I prepared for this little road trip with Mom I enjoyed Melissa’s rendition of one of my favourite songs of hers PASSENGER 24 (Stop reading now. Play the video and see if you, yourself don't just want to jump into the car right now and take off, eh!?). It brings to mind many cross country bus trips of my own in my youth and just makes me want to hit the road, though not particularly with my 88 year old Mom on a journey to the hairdressers, but that’s beside the point.

Mom was good with the transfers from car to wheel chair, to chair, to chair etc. and at Milka's (her hairdresser’s name) even began to initiate it on her own when we told her we were going to move her! She gets stronger each time which is interesting. Milka and the gang there are great with Mom and Mom enjoyed the beauty shop banter, laughing along with all.

But, when we got to the restaurant it began raining. Luckily, Rob was there with umbrella and helped me in with Mom. We all had lunch together. Mom is a little confused re: use of cutlery (I cut it up for her and got rid of the knife), napkins etc. but once she gets in the swing of using fork she is O.K. though you have to watch her with coffee which can end up tettering on the edge of a plate or hovering at precarious angles over her lap.

So, everything was great til we got back to the nursing home and IT WAS RAINING CATS AND DOGS!!!! We sat in the car for a while but it didn't stop so I got out, got her wheelchair out of the back of my car and my umbrella but realized that I couldn't manage the two together enough to be able to keep Mom dry. Put the wheelchair under the awning/entrance and got the receptionist to help. She held 2 umbrellas while I managed Mom’s transfer.

As I was trying to get her attention, Mom kept grabbing an envelope that I was supposed to mail for Rod - she had kept gravitating to it all through the trip home and I kept putting it back in the slot in the dash. By the time I got back to the car to help her out, she had been working on it again and had made a nice little origami piece out of it (luckily not torn as it was a check). So, I finally had to thank her for taking care of it and then toss it underneath the seat.

But the time I got her focused on the task at hand she was a little confused and said that she wasn't supposed to get out of the car (I'd told her that when I left for assistance). As I began to shift her she got all rigormortesy on me and tried to grab everything she could to help stabilize herself. The receptionist, holding the umbrellas, kept saying, "you won't be able to do this (take her out) much more" which, like the rain pissing down my back, was pissing me off. My friends know what happens when I get that way, but be reassured gentle reader, I restrained myself.

Somehow saying "It's O.K. Mom, I've got you. Trust me, trust me" wasn't reassuring enough for her. When I realized that she probably didn't recognize me, soaking and pissed off as I was, I told her “it’s Nance” and focused on her more gently. Once we got laughing at the situation she eased up and it was fine.

As I wheeled her through the halls of the nursing home - Mom regally nodded, waved and said “hello” to all she passed - the sounds of laughter welcomed us along with comments like, "Wow, what happened to you! (I looked like a drowned rat)...Mom looks nice and dry though." That was when Mom jokingly decided she wasn't ready to go into her room and wanted to be wheeled around some more, but fortunately she needed to use the "you know what" so I had an opportunity to make my exit, landing a peck on her cheek and saying good bye, while she was sitting on the can. Life becomes pretty casual when you’re 88.

She had a great time, was none the worse for wear and I left her in good spirits.

And me? I had a good visit to the chiropractor on Monday.

Love and Light,

P.S. I'm feeling much better now that I'm all cracked out thanks to Dr. Steve. You'd think I'd been grappling with a sumo wrestler instead of a 90lb, 88 year-old, "frail" (frail my ass) woman by the amount of adjusting he had to do. He also said he could see me later in the week.

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