Dixie Peach: Almost Sorry I Asked

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Almost Sorry I Asked

I called my mother late last night. I should call her more often - it's cheap enough to call every day if I wanted - but I keep running into time conflicts that have cropped up every since she moved to The Plantation. There are only certain times in my day when I can speak with her relatively uninterrupted and some of those times coincide with her meal times. She eats lunch at 11:30am and dinnertime for them is 4:30pm. 4:30. You know you've crossed over to being officially old when you eat dinner at 4:30pm.

During the conversation I was able to squeeze in before her 4:30 appointment with a chicken pot pie and Jello I asked how she was feeling.

"Well, my back hasn't recovered yet from when I tried to pick that lady up off the floor."

It's times like these when I wonder if she's telling me the truth or she's confabulating a story due to her Alzheimer's.

"Would it be silly of me to ask why you were picking up a lady from the floor?"

"I was walking by her room and that old lady just stumbled and fell down so I went in to pick her up."

My mother is 75 years old so I can't imagine how old this other woman must have been for my mother to have pegged her as being an "old lady".

"She just fell out there on the floor and I tried to help pick her up but I just couldn't do it."

"Mother! You're not supposed to be picking people up off the floor! You're in an assisted living center! There are nurses and aids all over! You don't have the ability to pick anyone up off the floor!"

"Well I know that now!"

I had to leave it at a "Well, don't do that again. Ring for the nurse next time.". I figured that she'd probably already been blessed out enough by the staff and by my sister. Holy smokes. I can practically see my sister levitate off the ground when she heard this story. I wouldn't be surprised if her shrieks were heard over the state line.

I think that sometimes I'm accidentally forgetting on purpose to call my mother more regularly. I think I'm trying to avoid hearing stories like these. It makes me sad and a little bit crazy for me not to be there when she's doing stupid stuff like trying to pick up little old ladies. She forgets where she is and forgets that she can't do things like that and I'm trying to forget that this is what's happening to her. Deny! Deny! Do it enough and your skewed reality may actually become reality! Maybe if I put more effort in keeping up with her then it all wouldn't seem to foreign to me.

I need to get home for a visit. I need to see for myself how my mom is doing because what goes on via a phone conversation only informs me so much. I would like to make a trip home this spring but my MIL isn't able to be here for B while her knee isn't 100% and then she'll be going on a spa vacation for two weeks in late April/early May. I'm not crazy about being in Mississippi in the middle of summer so maybe I'll aim for September or October. I don't know. Maybe I'll just go whenever I get the chance. Stop denying that the window of opportunity to travel is getting smaller all the time.



Blogger Marshamlow said...

Sometimes I forget that I am 37 and a bit plump. I flirt and run around with Lily as if I were a skinny teen. I think this is where my identity got stuck in my head, young strong and pretty. Ha. In a way it is good that your mom is not feeling old and frail. Imagine walking around all day feeling old and frail instead she feels young and strong.

I am sorry for how hard this process is on you and your family. I will keep you in my prayers. I do hope I get to see you when you come to Mississippi.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Molly said...

I'm sorry for the frustration, Dixie. If if if...
It's not easy being away as parents start fading.

3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man, you and me both. I haven't been home in almost eight years. I know what kind of child that makes me so I'll just go cower in the corner now and wait for cosmic justice to strike.

I should add that when I moved here I never intended for any of my shortcomings to happen. They sorta just happened. :-/ There are way too many valid reasons not to do the right thing.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

I'm not going to pretend that this is easier or harder than it should be for you, dear Dixie, but please remember that with Alzheimer's you never really know the "real" truth. All you know is HER truth, which may not be anything close to reality. This is when you really need to trust the facility to be doing their job (which hopefully they are). I'm quite sure there was no way your mom could even try to pick up that lady (well, she may have gone through some motions), but in HER mind, she did. It's HER story and you get used to living in it without contradiction.

This probably doesn't help you one whit but really, once you can smile at the stories she tells, you will then know you have accepted her disease. I found it to be much better than the alternative!

10:10 AM  
Blogger sari said...

I'm sorry.


Maybe I can see you when you visit. I would love to.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Hilda said...

Yep - I too have the "accidentally on purpose" syndrome when it comes to visiting and/or taking my mother out sometimes. It's just that due to her condition I can't relax when I'm with her, much less if we're out. I'm always waiting for the proverbial show to drop. The thing is, it hasn't dropped in a long time, thanks to meds - but still I'm tense. So visiting or taking her out is physically draining for me. And that in turn makes me feel horribly guilty.

Dixie, at least you have distance as a reason, I have no excuse - so you can imagine what that does for my guiltometer.


9:22 PM  

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