Monday, September 5, 2011


Our return trip from visiting my mom and brother, got Logan and I into Kennedy Airport around 10:30PM.  The next morning we would be attending my father in laws funeral.  He lived to 95 and up until one month before his death he entered a hospital.  He had a great life and died in his sleep never being ill.  He was a very lucky man, so for me it was hard to feel much loss or sadness.  We do not get to choose how or at what age we will die, and yet if we could, many of us would sign up immediately for his ending.  When I saw my husband’s family they all asked how my mom was which I then replied,” she is great considering that she has Alzheimer’s."  I shared with a lot of them that I was in the middle of writing a memoir about her and our relationship, and how inspiring she has become to me.

To start off with my mom really looked fabulous, thanks to her caregiver Elaine and now Trudy who is Elaine’s daughter.  Logan and I actually witnessed my mom getting feisty with Elaine when on Saturday morning Elaine tried to get my mom to take a shower. Ruthie refused and said to Elaine “do not treat me like a baby “and on Sunday when my mom awoke she told me that she would like to take a shower and wash her hair.  I assisted her in taking a shower, which she took by herself and then I helped dry her, combed her hair and helped her get dressed.  She seemed to be able to do most of this on her own, although she did get quite confused.  She most likely would not shower, if no one was around, for it would never cross her mind.  My mom actually claims that she does not get dirty so she does not need to take a shower.

On Friday evening which was a rather late night for her, around 10PM I asked her to please wash, brush her teeth and put on her nightshirt.  She insisted that she should sleep in the top she had been wearing all day with her bra still intact.  Mom also wanted to wear her green jade beaded necklace to bed.  She was confused with which toothbrush was hers and I found her toilets not flushed.  This left me feeling concerned since she could strangle herself in her sleep wearing beads to bed.  I called my brother who had recently left to go home and spoke to him on his cell phone, as he was driving back to his house (which is approximately one hour from my mom’s home.)  I said to my brother that mommy really needs to have more help, and asked him if he had any idea what she did while no one was with her during the hours she is all alone.  At that time my mom only had her caregiver in for 3 hours a day (we are now up to 6 hours a day.) My brother is in the midst of still trying to get some money from the VA, since my dad served his country in the Navy during WW 2.   This would be a big help to us, so we could get Elaine to be with my mom for more hours each day.
Saturday morning when my mom came out of her room she did ask me if the “boys” were still sleeping, meaning Logan (her grandson) and my brother.  I told her Gil went home last night and Logan was asleep.  She seemed a little confused about my brother leaving.  She reminded me how sweet Logan is and that she thinks he loves her.  "Yes mom he loves you a lot, and you will always be MOM to him."

After Logan awakes and my mom sees him, she starts to serenade us with several different songs, from The Rain in Spain (from My Fair Lady), Tomorrow, Tomorrow( from Annie), to I’m Getting Married in the Morning which she sang over and over again.  She was so cute and so happy.  Of course she also danced for us.  Since we have arrived mom takes songs and makes rhymes and poetry out of some of the words she can no longer remember. This is something new for her.  She then says" I made it up because I cannot remember all the words" and I reply ” sorry mom I cannot help you because I do not remember them either”.  We both laugh and with words of wisdom my mom says “that should be the worst trouble we ever have”.

I explained to Ruthie, that Logan and I were going to take moving pictures of her and interview her and she asked "why?"  I said so I can send it to Dr. Phil, Oprah or some other shows and perhaps they will put you on TV.  Mom said “why, I’m not that interesting or pretty” and I answer “yes you are,” and she started to serenade us again with different songs from West Side Story, Tonight, Tonight won’t be like any Night ,ending with I’m So Pretty.

I had also noticed that her finger nails were done once again in a bright orange, almost the color of day glow and I asked her if Elaine or Trudy did them and my mom replies” no.”  Mom then tells me that some lady came and did her nails and I do not say anything, knowing quite well who put polish on her nails.  Around her apartment are the signs my brother has made saying FLUSH TOILET, BRUSH TEETH, and a new one WEAR CLOTHES TOPS & BOTTOMS.  Her neighbor told Elaine that sometimes she walks out without any clothes on.  One day my brother said when he was there that she brought him into the bathroom to show him the sign saying FLUSH TOILET.  Gil said she laughed and said “look what someone put up.” Since she doesn’t always flush the toilet (now she never does) or brush her teeth I’m not sure how much any of these signs really help her, yet they hang proudly on her walls. 

I will be returning with my son Logan to see mom in exactly 4 ½ weeks. I know that a lot has changed with my mom for I hear it on our daily phone calls. Some days she seems so lost and sometimes she sneaks in just for me, a special day where my mom is still, in some ways, my mom, as she slips further and further away.

1 comment:

  1. My ex-father in law's 2nd wife use to go out naked. I don't know if she was ever diagnosed with AD, but she had all the symptoms before her death.

    PS wearing a bra keeps you from getting droppy boobs, maybe your mom is smarter than you think.