Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Elusive Card

Today we were good people and took a step toward remaining healthy.   The main thing was that my mother and I were going to get flu shots.  She didn't remember that, of course, but the nice thing about her is that I tell her we're going somewhere and she never questions it. 
So I got to the apartment and first she had to find her Kaiser card.   This has been going on for about five years now.  Her Kaiser card is in her wallet, in a little plastic folder that has Kaiser's name on it, and she has to have it in her hand before we leave the house.  But she can never find it.  I told her where to find it.  She found it.  Then she put it back and we went to the car.
When we got in the car, she said she knew she would need her Kaiser card, so I had to help her search for it again.
Then when we got to Kaiser, she had to go searching for it again.   Every time it's exactly where she puts it every. single. time.
So we headed for where the flu shot were being given, but it was a mob scene.  That's when I remembered that she was also supposed to get blood work done, so I decided we'd do that first, hoping the crowds would thin by the time we finished at the lab.  
She found the Kaiser card to register and the phlebotomist told her to hang on to it and show it again before the blood was taken.  (This is kind of weird since we were the ONLY people in the lab waiting area and the woman who told her to keep her card with her so she could show it again before the blood was drawn was the same person who would be drawing her blood in 10 seconds!) 
The blood draw went uneventfully and we walked out of the lab and literally ten steps to the hall and she asked if she would need her Kaiser card again for the flu shot.  I said yes...and she couldn't find it.  It wasn't in her wallet.   It wasn't in her purse.  I searched her wallet and her purse 3 times myself.   I went back to the lab and it wasn't there.  It had just disappeared.  In literally ten steps!  
We sat in the lab and went through everything again, both of us and eventually she was the one who found it--in her purse.  I sure don't know where it was hiding because I swear I went through every pocket in that thing.  
But eventually we did have the card and we signed up for flu shots.   The line was, as I hoped, much shorter and we only had a couple of minutes to wait.   In case you have not had your flu shot yet, let me tell you that the needle for this is so small that you literally can't feel it at all.  There were toddlers having shots without even blinking.
When we got back in the car, I took her purse away from her and made sure that the Kaiser card was where it should be so we don't go through this all again.
We took the long way home.  I drove her around a little bit of the campus, hoping to get her interested enough in Putah Creek, which runs through the campus, that she might be willing to try walking there, but though she gave it passing notice, she just kept mentioning over and over again how many cars there were parked in the parking lot.  You'd think she'd never seen cars before.  And there was zero interest in Putah creek or the vegetation there, which a year ago would be a huge draw for her.
Plants and flowers are something else she seems to be losing interest in.  This is the woman who could make a dry stick bloom and whose house was always filled with lush greenery and the most incredible violets and orchids you can imagine.   But she seems to have lost all interest in gardening so much so that in the aftermath of my cousin bringing her about 8 different kinds of plants to put on her patio, she constantly talks about how much work it is to water them and how a couple of them have died.  And she keeps telling me that she thinks my cousin just had some old plants around that she didn't want and thought she would dump them on Aunt Chubbie. I know my cousin would be very hurt to know that since she has been so wonderful to try to make things look nice for my mother.
But today was another day when I realized that there are perks of dementia.  There is a beautiful street in town which has upscale unique homes, lush old greenery and is really one of my favorite places.  I took her for a drive along the street shortly after she got here, but it's now fall and the trees are starting to turn color so I took that drive again and, of course, she had no memory of having been there before, so it was like seeing it all over again for her--and that was nice, because she loved it.

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