Parental Journal 20 from Planet Elderly: “My Eye Popped Out”

Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015 6 a.m.

Last night at 11 p.m. Mom received a call from Victory Lakes telling her that Dad is okay, but that he sustained a laceration on his leg…something about when he was in the bathroom. Mom couldn’t remember exactly what was said, and the person who called spoke with a Spanish accent, which didn’t help Mom’s comprehension.

I woke up at 4 to find lights on. Mom was downstairs rummaging through a drawer of miscellaneous pieces of paper. Decided I was up for the day, so I made coffee and read while she rummaged. She ignored me for a while, but finally said something about “that letter about my eyes.” I reminded her that we put the letter on the refrigerator and attached to it is the form the doctor has to fill out. She took it off the refrigerator and read through it…then saw the note I had written on it reminding her that she has an appointment on Oct. 6. She was quite relieved to know the letter was safe and that she has an appointment.  She went back to bed about 30 minutes ago.

Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 afternoon

Mom keeps asking about a driving test she has. She forgets that it’s an eye appointment on Oct. 6 to determine if she will still be assessed as having vision good enough to drive. She has asked about the appointment at least five times today.

Today she admitted to some confusion about something. I took this opportunity to plant another seed: “Well, I still think it would be good to see a doctor to find out what is causing the confusion and forgetfulness.” She ignored the remark…but at least she didn’t get angry.

Last night we were chatting and she told me of “that strange feeling I had when my eye popped out.”

What??”

“Yeah, my eye popped out.”

“What do you mean, your eye popped out? Which one?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, when did this happen?”

“About a month ago.”

“Your eye actually popped out?”

“Well, it felt like it did.”

“Did you tell a doctor about it?”

“No. It went away. There was nothing to tell.”

“Are you going to mention it to your eye doctor when you see him Oct. 6?”

“Probably not.”

“Hmmmm. I wonder if it might have been some kind of mini stroke.”

“Who knows? It’s fine now.”

Of course, I went online later and googled “eyes felt like they were popping out.” Seems to be a common experience for some folks and it can be related to pressure behind the eye and other things. I plan to go into the examination room with her on Oct. 6 so that I know it gets mentioned…and if she gets pissed off, too bad. She’s becoming an expert at denial and masking things.

Mom saw Dad early this morning and came home within an hour. She thought we had the meeting about supplemental care insurance at Walgreens today. It’s tomorrow. Every day she wakes up thinking it’s the day for the informational meeting for Walgreens retirees, but it isn’t. When she wakes up tomorrow, it will be. There are several well organized steps to complete in order for Mom and Dad to be transitioned from Walgreens supplemental health insurance and I’ll go with her every step of the way.

Informational meeting Aug. 25

In Sept. – new information booklet arrives with a date and time for a 1-2 hour telephone visit with an adviser. I’ve asked her to keep it on the dining room table so I can read through it when I return in early October.

In Oct. – participate in the scheduled adviser visit to decide on what company/plan and to enroll. Before the phone visit, we’ll go online and I’ll help her enter needed information. That will save time during the phone visit.

All of this needs to be completed before Jan. 1, 2016.

Dad was sleepy when we went to visit him after lunch today, but Mom insisted we visit even though she was there this morning. She didn’t want him to feel alone. He slept the whole time we were there.

Ray didn’t sleep, though. Aides were trying to get Wanda from the recliner into her wheelchair and she was having difficulty. Ray kept accusing her of “being lazy.” “She’s lazy, that’s all. She’s just plain lazy. Watch. You’ll get her up and she won’t walk. She’ll sit down in the wheel chair. She’s just lazy. That’s all.” It was the first time I had heard Ray mouth off. He was reminded to be nice and eventually Wanda was wheeled down the hall for her bath time.

Then Ray kept telling the female aide, “I can help you.” He said it three times, louder each time.

“You can help me?” the aide responded. “Help me with what?”

“I can help you get undressed if you want.”

My Mom’s eyes became big as headlights as she shot me an “OMG” look. I could not help but laugh. The aide reminded Ray that his comment was not appropriate, but Ray just said,” I don’t see what’s not appropriate about it.” Ray is 93.

We’re usually in the Sunshine wing in the late morning and sit with Dad while he has lunch in the dining room. I’ve heard that afternoons can “get kind of active.” No kidding.

Recent comments from residents in the Sunshine Wing:

“I want to go home.”

“Where am I?”

“Help me. Please help me. Somebody help me.”

“Hey! Hey! Sit here! You sit here now! Sit here! Hey! Hey!”

“Youth is not forever and old age is no pleasure.”

“Where is everybody?”

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 60 years and faces permanent residency on Planet Elderly. Update: As of March 2, 2017, I turned 70. I'm now an official resident of Planet Elderly. Dad passed away September 22, 2016. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of what our family experiences with one parent in a memory care unit, another living independently with short-term memory loss, and me, the only child daughter who lives 400 miles away. It's quite an adventure. Recommended readings for others who have loved ones who live with some form of dementia: The 36-Hour Day, The Myth of Alzheimer's - What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis, Alzheimer's Early Stages.
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