Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting Ready to Leave Mom's

Friday morning at 7:30 AM my mom and I awake around the same time.  I tell her to go brush her hair and her teeth.  Mom enters the bathroom where I am, and picks up her toothbrush and starts to comb her hair.  Perhaps she meant to brush her teeth because I did say hair and teeth at the same time.  Yet the confusion is there for my sweet mom.  Describing this seems sad, like she’s a lost child not knowing what to do.  A little while later she just knocks on my door to see if I’m still here.  Last night she asks my brother when I’m in another room “is Lisa coming and when?” So I call out and she opens the bedroom door and see’s me smiling at her.  I blow her a big kiss she laughs and reaches out to catch it.  She then tells me that she’s cold and I tell her to put on some pants and socks.  My mom is in her own home with her surroundings, and she asks me where her pants are.  I tell her in her bedroom closet and I wonder if she will be able to find them.

Since I did arrive here it has been extremely cold.  This was a very cold winter for the Floridians. The five days that I was here was quite chilly.  We had one nice warm day reaching 72 degrees.  I decided to take my mom out on what I thought would be a lovely walk.  She started to say that she didn’t want to walk so far, which was only a very short distance from her front door.  So I took her to sit in the sun at the swimming pool that her and my dad use to go to all the time.  My mom would go in the swimming pool, and do some exercise with some of her friends and neighbors.  My dad would swim lots of laps.  He was a great swimmer (just like Johnny Weissmuller). As a young man he swam on his high school varsity swimming team.
 The whole time that I sat there with my mom, enjoying the sun beating on our faces, breathing the fresh air, my mom complained that her back hurt, that she wanted to go back home.  I was able to get her to smile and find some humor in her complaining.  Of course she said that she was not complaining.  I tried to encourage her to stay outside and said “mom there are invalids who cannot go out so let’s just be thankful and enjoy the day, instead of sitting in a dark room watching the television”.  My mom says “why I like it there”.  This is the disease talking, not my mom.  I get a little upset and tell her that she’ll have plenty of time to be in the dark after she passes away.  She says nothing and we sit for a little while longer before she starts to complain again.  I then realize that I should walk back with her to her safe domain.

 Later that day my brother takes us to her clubhouse. A place where she once enjoyed and loved to go.  My mom was arguing with us that there is no clubhouse so we had to go there to show her that it did exist.  As we were at her clubhouse my mom was approached by a neighbor who says hello and says” I know you from the swimming pool and I haven’t seen you in approximately 5-6 years”.  My mom who has no idea who this women is starts to chatter away (she loves to talk to people). So why does she hide in her house, and make every excuse not to go out?  This lovely lady showed such kindness and support telling my mom about all the clubs and lectures.  She said she remembered how much my mom use to enjoy going to them. My mom seems quite aware and seemed to understand.  Mom then starts to sing and dance for this lady, who I then explain to her, that my mom has Alzheimer’s.

 When my brother and I try to encourage my mom to go out and be more active she says “no just leave me alone. “ The more I see, I think I understand why my mom just wants to hide out in her safe surroundings.  For some strange reason I believe that my mom is aware of what is happening to her.  Yet as her daughter who loves her so much I feel pain in my heart for her. How can I not be able to protect my mom from any fears she may have.  My mom who has added such recent joy to our relationship is my mom and very much my hero.  Somehow when I am with her I too feel locked in part of her prison.
Tomorrow I leave and I have such mixed feelings.  Should I bring her back to NY, her home where she was born, taking her away from the place that she now calls home?  This home that she shared with my dad for the last 20 years.  Or must I live by her wishes and leave her in her home that offers for her a safe haven?

 My father- in -law recently at the age of 95 years old, passed away.  He also wished to stay in his home.  When I get to that stage in my life, and hopefully I will, will I also feel the same? Maybe it’s like removing them from their homes without them wanting to, is telling them, that the time is coming to an end whether it is 1 month or ten years left.  I only want to do what is the very best for my mom and to be able to see her as much as I can, and share with her whatever time is left for her, remembering who I am.

1 comment:

  1. My dad refused a feeding tube and was told unless he got one he'd die. He said he wanted to go home to die, so we arranged hospice. He had no dementia.

    I took Mom and a guy friend to Oklahoma one day to shop at a KMart, it's 2 hour away. She hadn't been diagnosed then and was living in independent living. I let her and the friend, Wayne, choose whether where we would go, 2 hrs any of the 4 directions; and they chose Clinton, OK. Mom was in the front, Wayne in the back when we left. We weren't out of the city limits that she was complaining about her back hurting. She had back sugery 25 or 30 years ago and so this is normal. Wayne switched places with me, and she continued to complain all the way to Clinton and back. We did a tiny bit of shopping at Kmart and then had a lovely lunch at a steak place and went home. Wayne said to me, "By tomorrow morning she'll be saying this was the best trip ever." But she complained for 2 solid hours going and coming, and I regretted taking them. As we entered Amarillo's city limits, she sat up and said, "This has been the best trip ever." Wayne looked surprised and looked at me and said, "Well, it came a lot quicker than I thought."

    Traveling is hard on the elderly. Home is where they want to go, and it may mean where they live now, where they lived as a newlywed or where they living when a child. Ask her to describe the home so you know which one it is. Mom can't described where home is, she just knows where she is at now is NOT it.