Mom had her yearly check-in appointment with her neurologist today. Dr F. has amazing, wild hair – long, dark, and tightly curled like an ’80’s rock star – and a wonderfully casual, calming bedside manner. I’m pretty sure we could go into his office and tell him that mom had taking to running around her apartment clucking like a chicken and making toothpaste cookies and he’s just smile and say, “Well, let’s talk about how we might want to address that.” Dr. F’s been treating Mom for dementia for about seven years now, and we love him, because he makes us both feel like things are pretty OK overall, and in the process makes Mom feel respected and understood.
After Mom’s appointment, we decided to go out to Shari’s for lunch. We picked up Grandma Edith at her place on the way. Edith has recently had cataract surgery, so she’s seeing the world in crisp Technicolor for the first time in a long while. On our way to the restaurant, she kept commenting about the colors of things, and it reminded me to remember to appreciate the little things that I take for granted. Like being able to see in color.
When we sat down to order our lunch, Mom repeatedly said that she wasn’t very hungry, but I convinced her to order a bowl of chicken noodle soup, and when it arrived, she ate almost all of it. She wasn’t as shy about dessert – she managed to polish off a whole piece of chocolate cream pie, leaving only a bit of crust and whipped cream.
As we were leaving, we stopped for a minute to (try to) take a selfie of the three of us. I have my camera set to snap when you say “shoot” or “cheese,” but it turned out to be a just a bit of a mistake telling the grandmas about that, because right away they were both saying “shoot, cheese, shoot, shot, choot, sheese, chot, toot…” You get the idea. It definitely created a whole new level of fun.
This shot is as good as it got.
Postscript: Mom called me about three hours after I dropped her off at her AL facility to check to make sure that I was still alive. She had forgotten our lunch together already, although she seemed to remember it when I mentioned the pie.
This happens a lot. She loses herself in thought or dozes off, and then when she wakes up, she thinks everyone in the family is dead and gone, and that she is all alone with no money and no means to live. She gets so frightened, and then when she realizes that her mind is failing her again, it scares her in an entirely different, but equally terrifying way. I don’t know how to help her beyond reassuring her that she is safe, and that we love her and are taking care of her. I wish I could do more, but I don’t know what. I won’t give up trying though.