Baby Step

Looking toward the future, my father just sat my mother down and had a talk about some next steps. The response was positive. Not perfect, but good. Let’s call it progress of the baby steps variety. Another, slightly more impressive, step will happen tomorrow while I’m at work.

Raise a glass to forward momentum. May a wave of good news wash us away to a newer, better, safer place because I really need this to end. I can handle a lot, and I don’t think I am quite to the snapping point yet, but it’s getting close. Way to close for comfort.

Oh, gentle readers, could you do your humble narrator a solid and cross those fingers and keep ’em crossed? We need all the help we can get.

A Literal Note to Self

We have had a home health professional in the house for three days now. When we first talked about bringing in help we discussed it with my parents. They were both on board. Given my mother’s memory issues, someone came up with the idea of having her write a letter to herself detailing how she felt about the situation at that time.

I had to use it today.

A literal note to herself.

It was rough. We were in one room and she was telling me how she wanted the woman out of the house and she didn’t like her and she liked the woman who was here yesterday and she wanted to know who allowed this to happen and can I call them and tell them not to come back. All through this, the woman who is helping us today, dare I say heroically helping us today, was in the next room hearing every word.

I had forgotten about the note to self but when I let my siblings know what was happening they reminded me. Mom wasn’t happy when she read it, but said she remembered writing the letter and she’s been okay ever since.

I made sure to tell the woman that she shouldn’t take anything my mother said personally, and that it was likely by the end of her shift my mother would be her best friend. That’s kinda how it goes. She was nothing but understanding and professional and I am so thankful for her attitude, not to mention her help.

Now though, my group at work is short handed this afternoon and I just had a task mailed to me. I’ll get on it.

Here’s hoping it will be a quiet afternoon in the house and at work. I need me some weekend.

Friday Morning

It’s Friday morning, everyone! You’ve almost made it to the weekend. Hang in there, it’s almost over.

Ready for your morning update to the saga of my personal pain?

Last night was okay. I don’t control the TV remote anymore so I stuck my AirPods Max with their transparency mode onto my noodle and surfed the web. I decided to watch The Orville. We had started it once before but only got a few episodes in. I’m going to give it another go. I also did some music and bitched about local news. Mom’s pain level was manageable. Dad was fine.

This morning though.

I woke up about 5:30. Dad was asleep but mom was up. She was in a lot of pain and she was very confused. She told me she was lost. She said she was in the new school and didn’t know her way around. She was opening doors and peering inside trying to figure out what was up. She asked me what each room was. She asked me if we were on the second floor. I kept telling her she was home and safe but it wasn’t getting through. Eventually she found her bedroom. She called it “a” bedroom, not “her” bedroom though. She sat on the bed for a little while and seemed to slowly come back to herself.

So that was fun, right?

Dad is still asleep, but mom is having breakfast. The complaining about pain and the feeling lost both seem to be gone. I’m pretty thankful for that.

I need to get my workspace ready for the work day, check on the doors, and try to sneak in the new episode of The Bad Batch. The home health folks aren’t coming until 9:00 so I had a little extra time to get ready. I had gotten into the habit of keeping all of my stuff on dad’s hospital bed in the living room but I can’t do that anymore. I think my CPAP machine and my laundry and stuff will go out to the car this morning so they won’t be in anyone’s way.

I have a really bad feeling about today. I shouldn’t but I do. I also had to switch some days around this month. My brother and sister and I all have stuff we need to do in our own lives outside of our parents’ lives so the calendar was monkeyed with. It works to my benefit later in the month, but in the immediate future I have some tough times. I will go home tonight around dinner time, but instead of having a day off before I come back, I come back tomorrow night at dinner. That’s still better than the 48 hour shift I have next week. That’s going to be a shit burger.

Okay. Let’s get this Friday rolling, shall we? Happy thoughts, everyone. Happy thoughts.

Good Morning

Last night at the parental abode was okay. She was asleep before 9:00pm and didn’t wake up until a little before 5:00am. I didn’t go to sleep until crazy late. It’s just so damn hard to let my guard down. I woke up when she got out of bed but I was able to fall asleep for another hour or so. I failed to hit the five hour mark in total, but what I got was probably okay.

Normally when I get up for the day I switch the alarm on the front door to chime mode so I can open the door during the work day without setting off the end of the world level cacophony. Now that I know she’s bolted twice this week I don’t think I can do that. I have to remember to switch the alarm off when I open the door for the regular 9-10am delivery. If I forget… that’s going to suck.

I did manage to close my three activity rings yesterday. That’s good. Two days down, infinity to go. It’s going to be tough to do it today. The only place I can do it without feeling like the house is going to collapse is the cellar, and I can’t really sneak off to the cellar while working/nana sitting.

My father is coming home today. I’m scared shitless. I can’t even believe how scared shitless I am. Why am I not happy? He’s coming home, I should be happy.

Overnight Shift

It’s pretty quiet tonight. Possibly because the memory issues shit hit the fan before I got here. A few weeks ago she tried to leave the house and ended up walking down route 38 for a while before turning back. Magically she made it back to the house without getting lost.

As a result we installed alarms on the doors. When they go off they ring at something like 110 decibels. You can probably hear them from space*. Apparently, twice in the last two days, including just before I got here tonight, she has left the house and set off the alarm and didn’t even notice. Yesterday she went outside to get the newspaper. She told my sister she had no intention of ever leaving on her own. Today she went outside to see if the car keys were in the car because she wanted to drive home**. Note, the car keys are not in the car, they are locked up in a case inside the house and she doesn’t have the combination.

After that she came back inside and went to bed. I woke her up for her 8:00pm meds and she stayed up for half an hour or so and then went back to bed. She’s been sound asleep ever since. Fingers crossed she continues to have a quiet night. My father is coming home tomorrow. His insurance has shut him off, but the rehab place says he’s ready anyway. My brother and sister have both seen him and say he’s infinitely better than he was when he came home last time. I believe them but I am still terrified. I guess I have to see it with my own eyes.

The potential for a shitty day tomorrow is high. The potential for a good day is also high but I am in full on glass-half-empty mode and I may never recover from it.

Shit.


*I understand that sound does not travel through a vacuum. Come on, man, it was just an expression. I got an A in Physics in college, thank you very much.

**She says she needs to go home, but she is home. This house has been her home for 52 years. My sister was told by a memory care professional that for some reason the idea of “home” is a common theme for memory patients. Oh goodie. Shit.

Sad Sigh

My parents celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary this week. We made as big a deal as we could, given the circumstances. My sister brought my mother to the rehab hospital to visit my father and they were both over the moon happy.

My parents were on the phone with each other a few minutes ago. I overheard her ask him how long have they been married. She sounded surprised when he answered. Then she asked how much older she is than him.

Then she asked me if he was my father for the second time today and the third time since I got here last night.

I can’t take much more of this.

It’s not Sundowning When the Sun is Still Up

Yikes, that was a weird one.

It was just after 4:30 in the afternoon. My mother asked me what time work ended. I am working from her dining room table right now so I assumed she meant me. I told her 5:30. She said she thinks she’s done at 4:30. Okay, maybe her last job let out at 4:30. She said the best part about getting old was not having to go to work anymore. I figured that was the end of the topic.

That’s when it went off the rails. She said that the house we are in right now, the same house that has been her home for 50 years, was just where she worked and that she had to go home. I told her she was already home. She said she had to go to her mother and father’s house. Ummm… She hasn’t lived there since 1967, as far as I know. I told her that her parents were gone. She then changed gears a bit. Yes, her parents are both dead, but her sisters are still at their house. I told her that her brother and sisters all had their own house. She said no, she had to go there to see them. She said she really needed to see them. There was a break in her voice that sounded like it might have been the start of tears, or a little desperation, or maybe just frustration.

Damn. I know she talked on the phone to her younger sister the last time I was here. Her older sister, my godmother, is in Alabama and I’m not sure what kind of mental state she’s in. Her brother is still around, with a slew of health problems of his own, and he has always sort of kept to himself. Not in a bad way, we just never heard from him as much as from my aunts. Needless to say, none of them are living in their parents’ old house, and none of them are expecting a visit today.

I tried to bring her around to something she talks about regularly and eventually I did and it seemed to ground her again, though I am not sure she actually realized it. One of her go to subjects is her parents’ deaths, and another is where her kids’ names came from. I said her father died when I was a baby. She came back with he died in 1972. Yup. I asked if her mother died in 1998 and she said yes. She asked if I was working here then. No, I was living here and I had just gone back to college. I was 27 and I had a Sociology final exam on the day she died (I think… it might have been the day of her funeral). She said her brother was near her when she died. I said one of her brother’s daughters was actually with her.

She looked a little surprised and asked how I knew all of this. I told her because I was her son and her brother’s kids are my cousins. Really? Yes, really. Back to this again, I thought. Who is your father? Your husband, I am named after him. Really? That brought us back to the other go to subject. I told her that when she was a kid she decided her first born son would be named after his father, and her second son would be named after her father. That’s exactly how it worked out. I was first and am named after my father, and my brother was second and he’s named after our grandfather. That lead to a discussion of where my sister’s name came from and how it was Dad’s suggestion. After that she seemed to be back to normal.

So to sum up… Yikes!

12:15 AM

12:15 AM on a Wednesday morning and the phone rings. Not my phone, my parents landline.

It was a reverse 911 call asking for help finding and 85 year old woman with dementia who got out of the house and got lost.

Damn… that’s not our current situation, but it’s close enough that I haven’t been able to fall asleep.

Scary stuff.