If it’s Monday, yesterday was Sunday. I had asked Mom Saturday if she wanted to go to church, as I frequently do. She did, so I efficiently wrote a note asking staff to have her ready at 9:15. At 8:45, I remembered that, instead of the church service at 9:30 and Sunday school at 11:00, the events were reversed. Rats. That would not work for Mom, since the Sunday school would not give her as much as church where she can enjoy the music. I could pick her up after S.S. for church, but then she’d be late for dinner at Bickford. I called and apologized, explaining the situation, and went on our way. After church there was a dinner–it occurred to me at that point that Mom could have eaten with us. Why didn’t I think of that? Never mind, I informed the scoldy voice in my head, I’m doing the best I can!
My husband and I left church and went straight to Bickford; I listened to a voice message from my sister that she had found Mom shaking and anxious on the bed. She gave her a mild tranquilizer, and waited while it acted, until Mom felt better. Poor thing! This increased anxiety is a problem to keep under control. What happens on days when we’re not there to notice and help her out? How I wish I could fix everything for my mother, and how helpless I am to do so. This is a truth I have to accept and live with, without beating myself up. I’m working on that right now as I struggle with less-than-happy mental states.
My sister was at Bickford when I arrived this morning–I could hear her and Mom in her room, so I went to see Dad. He wasn’t in his room, but found him drinking a cappuccino from the automatic machine, which pleases me. This is the second time this strange confluence of events has taken place; that is, that I visit right when Dad is having this treat. Both times, he’s flinched with irritation that I found him with the evidence before him: he was having a cappuccino! Horrors! “This happens all the time,” he said, clearly unhappy. I must say it’s a bit annoying to make the effort to visit and get that reaction. I pointed out that it was only the second time, and also that I hadn’t had any coffee, so I could join him. As I sat there, I realized that Dad felt he was “caught” ingesting something that he likes to hide from family, as if we will judge him for indulging. How familiar–we all snuck food at home, working to keep Mom from knowing we were eating between meals, and too many cookies or chips; my father clearly was reacting as he might have eating outside meal time and Mom had seen his “crime.” I do remember Mom reporting that Dad would get cookies and hold them stiff-armed at his side as he snuck them to enjoy while he watched TV, but SHE hadn’t missed the subterfuge! She ruled the food in the house–or tried to–and was frustrated when we were old enough to flout the rules and eat BETWEEN MEALS! I had my coffee and Dad drank his cappuccino and even talked about him taking a peanut butter cookie back to his room for later. Oh the delicious sense of breaking rules! Go, Dad, go!
Then down to see Mom. I took along a Reader’s Digest magazine that promised “Funny Family Stories,” which Mom loves. I have to say that our family stories are at least as funny as any in the magazine, but she enjoyed them. “What’s that numbro?” she asked, holding her hands like a book. “Reader’s Digest,” I replied, noticing that she did not seem to realize that the word she used was nonsense. Another paving stone on the road downhill, I guess, but we enjoyed our time together, and she earnestly thanked me, as she usually does, for coming to visit. Coco needed to go out, emptied her bowels, and contemplated snacking on the result. I called her off, and checked to see if Coco had eaten yet today. No, she hadn’t, so we got her filled up on the right stuff. I left both Mom and Coco happy and ready for a nap. Overall, a good, uncomplicated visit.