Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sing Along

Today it was a sing-along.  I knew that my mother would have fun because they sing the songs she knows and she always enjoys singing along.  Also, the change of address cards I ordered for her had arrived, so I thought I would go over an hour early and we could get some address cards addressed to send to her friends and then go to the sing along.

Well, best laid plans and all that.

She thought the cards were cute but had zero interest in sending them to anyone.  She said she would look for her address book.  I knew right where it was, but she was still totally uninterested, so we didn't do that.  It's not urgent, but that meant we had an hour to kill.

And nothing to say to each other.

She told me a dozen times that she had to get something to go in the big blank space on her wall, maybe a picture with some flowers on it.  I reminded her a dozen times that Ed is going to bring up the picture of a floral arrangement which belonged to her sister and which she loves.

She got started with all the stuff in her house in Terra Linda and said she needed to go back there one more time.  I asked her what she wanted to go for.  She got angry and said that I didn't understand.  She had lived ther 20 years and she has important things that she needed to go through.  I reminded her,as gently as I could, that when she was there last time she didn't find anything that she needed to bring with her and that she had a return of her dizzy spells, her back pain, and all she could do was hold her head in her hands and say that she should not have come back.

She got angry and said she doesn't remember anything like that, but if I say so she'll have to believe me, but she was very petulant.  The nice thing about dementia, though, I've discovered, is that if you wait long enough, she'll forget about it, which she did.

Yesterday, I found her with a stack of old letters in her lap, complaing about "all this crap" and "why did I save stuff like this?"   Turned out to be letters written by her sister, the writer, all of which are little gems, and they date back to when my mother was still married to my father.  In fact, there were some letters written to my father, which were very funny.  I threatened her with death if she threw them away and told her that if she didn't want the letters, I would take them.

I have the idea that she won't be truly happy in that place until there is no piece of paper anywhere. She says that she doesn't feel at home yet and that she still feels like she's living in a motel.

We eventually went off to check her mail and to go to the sing along, where I managed to distinguish myself.  We got there early and sat at two chairs that were a good design for her back.  They had a table between them.  We each had a glass of water.

Eventually the musicians arrived.  Ida Sue, the pianist, is one of the residents and she is helped by her daughter Carol and our David's former kindergarten teacher, Judy.  

Carol suggested we move our chairs closer to the piano.  When I went to stand up, my hip bone caught and I couldn't stand up right away.  (This happens periodically and rights itself within seconds.)  Carol told me she would take the chair for me and when I went to help her, I spilled my cup of water on the rug.   I got the feeling that she wondered if I, too, was a resident!

The sing along was fun, and all songs that I knew very well.  As I suspected my mother entered into the fun and sang every song along with everyone else.

While we were singing, I saw Kendra, who is the wife of Ned's lifelong friend Greg, at the front desk.  I knew that Kendra's grandmother was moving into Covell this week and I left my mother singing and went to talk with Kendra.   Turns out that her grandmother just moved in and when I mentioned that Ned was going to come and have lunch with his grandmother this weekend, Greg said he would check with him and maybe they could include Greg and Kendra's grandmother (who is just a kid by my mother's standards, in her mid-80s),

When the sing along ended, I stopped to thank Ida Sue for her piano playing and my mother spied a woman she recognized and went to talk to her.  I was thrilled!   They seemed to have a nice chat.

I'm having breakfast with my mother tomorrow morning while Walt puts the finishing touches on getting the house ready for Ashley and her furry friends to move in while we are in Santa Barbara.  My mother is feeling sad that I am "leaving her alone."  ("Fine move me all the way to Davis and say you'll always be around and here you are leaving me alone right away.")

But I have made arrangements for a friend of mine to come and visit her while we're away, and Ned will be there too.  And I will call her every day, to make sure everything is all right.  She's scared that if something happens to her she won't know who to call.

I found out later that she told Jeri I had only been to see her twice since she was in the place.  But I guess that's OK because she thinks that she has only been there three days, not a week-plus.  I won't remind her that I have been there every day since she moved in!

We may be heading into the "difficult" part of settling in.

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