After the hour of repetitive conversation with my mother, which always depresses me, we had a major crisis. When I arrived, her door was ajar, not closed, which surprises me because you have to make an effort to leave it open, since it locks automatically.
She was worried, as she always is, because there was something she needed to ask me, but couldnt remember what it was. Then she asked me to check her door because there was something wrong with it. She said she couldn't get it to close and was afraid someone was going to get angry with her for leaving it open.
I checked the door and it was closed, and told her it seemed fine, which seemed to calm her. I chalked it up to one of the odd fears she sometimes has.
Toward the end of the visit, I got up to get her laundry to take home and wash and I noticed that her room keys were not on the counter where she keeps them. I didn't say anything, but started looking around and they were nowhere. She realized I was looking for something and asked what I was doing. I told her that her keys were missing. She immediately got what Walt describes as the "kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar" attitude and told me she knew nothing about it. She never used the keys. Someone must have put them somewhere.
She helped me look and at one point was standing in the living room saying "I can't even remember which shoes we are looking for." I am afraid I yelled at her that we weren't looking for shoes, we were looking for keys. She was sitting on the couch with her head in her hands and I felt guilty for letting her know how frustrated I was.
I looked everywhere, but they were nowhere. I even checked the refrigerator, where Alzheimers patients sometimes put things like keys. I finally was going to leave her my set of keys when I thought that maybe she had put them in her purse. Then I couldn't find the purse. She keeps it in a drawer, but it wasn't there. I checked all the drawers. No purse. I finally checked her closet and in a dark corner the purse was there, as were her keys.
I took out her checkbook, which I long ago put in her wallet to keep her from losing it (that system has worked well). In the keys search, I had found her AT&T bill and wrote the check for her to sign, but then found out that the return envelope was not there. I also went to get the newspaper bill, which I made the mistake of not paying 3 days ago. It was part of a stack of junk papers that needed to be thrown away but she wouldn't let me touch because she needed to go through it all. I pulled the bill out and told her NOT to throw that away. But of course she did.
The nice thing about dementia is that even when something unpleasant happens, you immediately forget it, so by the time I had written the AT&T check and packed up the laundry to go home, stopping to talk with her about a headline in the newspaper, she had forgotten all the drama of a few minutes ago. But of course I had not and got into the car still agitated.