Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Emily Post

I went to visit my mother this morning.  We actually had a good chat, mostly because I just play along with whatever fiction she talks about now. Every single day she tells me that she slept terribly, that she lay awake until 5 a.m. and finally fell asleep and slept until 9.  Then she tells me that fortunately this only happens once in awhile.  So I don't know if she really doesn't sleep until 5 a.m. every day, or if she is remembering ONE time when she didn't sleep until 5 and remembering it over and over again...kind of her own version of Groundhog Day.
She asked if I was going to have lunch with her and at first I said I was coming to have lunch tomorrow, but realized that the reason was that Wednesday was our day to have lunch after the Brain Gym.  But now that the Brain Gym is out, no reason not to make our lunch day Tuesday...or Friday...or whatever day it works out to be.
When we walked into the dining room, I saw X sitting by herself off at a table for one.  She was just getting seated, so I invited her to join us, since we have eaten with her before and it was sad to see her sitting by herself.  She is relatively new to Atria and I know she doesn't know too many people now.  She is also nearly 90 years old and I haven't quite figured out if she is better than my mother or any event, she also has dementia, and it's quite a trip having lunch with her and my mother.
But the thing about X is that ... how do I describe it ... ?   She is very "fey."  That was the word I wanted to use, so I looked up, to make sure it was the right one.  One of the definitions is "excessivey refined" and another is "quaintly unconventional."  There is another definition that is "crazy, touched" but I think that wasn't what I was going for.
Anyway, she speaks as if she wrote Emily Post's guide to etiquette, she is over the top polite, she's fascinated by everything and expounds on it a GREAT length, whether you are interested or not.  Still, she's a nice lady.  A mutual friend (let's call her Y) sat with us for a bit and she interjected a bit of normalcy and got a side conversation going with my mother, while X continued to drone on and on and on.   After our guest left, X went on at great length about how she really liked Y and that she didn't see her often because Y had her own circle of friends and X felt it would be impolite to intrude herself on Y's friends and she felt that friendships were valuable and it wouldn't be fair if X were to interfere with Y's time with her other friends just went on and on and on.
Then she told us that she had met a woman who was into scrapbooking and journaling and that I think she had invited X to her apartment to see the books.  She was very impressed with this woman, and with her husband whom she thinks is from India because he has a different color skin than X does and he was very soft-spoken but very supportive of his wife and she was impressed because when the wife was showing off her books, the husband didn't jump in and take over and do the explaining for her.  She mentioned many times how he was very soft spoken and very supportive and how he let the wife take the lead in the discussion.
I remembered that X has been divorced for a long time and she had eluded to difficulties in the marriage and listening to her talk about this "Indian" man, I wondered if her husband had been abusive and if that had left her with her various ideosyncracies.
Anyway, my mother and I finally made a break for it when X paused for breath.  When I looked at the clock I realized we had been sitting there listening to X for an entire hour and neither of had spoken a word in all that time...not only that, but X hadn't said anything that remotely related to us or that we were remotely interested in!
But at least we were able to have a good laugh about it...and times when we can laugh together these days are the best.  There was another plus today.   I had washed her laundry and brought it back for her on Monday and when I checked with the front desk, she hadn't returned ANY clothes saying they weren't hers.  We are making progress.

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