Parental Journal 33 From Planet Elderly – Christmas Visit 2015 Part One

December 21, 2015  – evening

Damn!  I left the bourbon eggnog at home and forgot to take it with me when I left yesterday.

The drive went smoothly, but the initial visit with Mom was a bit unsettling.  Fortunately, she was pretty calm yesterday afternoon and evening.  She even made an effort to put out some Christmas decorations.

xmas decore 2015

Of note:

  1. She continues to believe that Dad comes to the house and takes money.
  2. She is royally pissed that the police came to check in on her and wants to know who contacted them.
  3. She continues to believe that she has no money.
  4. She wants me to be happy.
  5. She does not want to be a burden to me.
  6. She still thinks about getting a job.  Doesn’t want to do volunteer work; wants to be paid.
  7. She doesn’t “feel like Christmas.  I just don’t have it in me.”  It’s the first Christmas not being with her husband in their own home.  Of course she doesn’t “feel like Christmas.”

“So, what are you going to do this winter?” she asked.

“Not much.  I need to come up here every five weeks or so and help out…so it’s difficult to have any kind of job, even part-time.”

Her reply:  “Maybe it would be better if Dad and I died.  Sorry I ruined your life.”

Fortunately, I did not respond to that nugget.  I kept eating the slightly burnt frozen pizza she cooked for us.

We moved on to some TV time and I went to bed very early.

Then I woke up today ultra early:  2 a.m.  which happens a lot because my mind spins with concerns and uncertainties.  I did get a small nap in later in the early morning hours.  We started our day around 8 a.m.

First thing Mom said this morning when she came downstairs was, “You know, I think I’m going to have to sell the house.”

“Why?”

“Because we don’t have much money.”

O.N.C.E.  A.G.A.I.N. I explained the different bank books and assured her that she did not need to sell the house or get a job.  She and Dad are okay financially.

It’s interesting that the money issue never seems to take hold in her brain.  She was always given a $20 per week allowance and Dad took care of all the money matters.  She’s still living on $20 a week, and she resents that Dad has not given her an allowance “for a very, very long time.”

Before visiting Dad today, we went to the bank and withdrew some money so she could feel more comfortable knowing she has some cash.  She doesn’t keep much in her purse, but feels secure if she has a bit of a stash in a drawer…until she forgets about the stash and claims she has no money.

After visiting Dad she said, “I think we need to stop at the bank so I can get some money.”

“We went this morning, Mom.”

“We did?”

We made a pit stop at Wal Mart and upon returning home she said, “We should go to the bank to get some money.”

“We went this morning, Mom.”

“We did?  I don’t remember.”

The whole day was perfectly fine except for her confusion with bank accounts and the inability to remember that we went to the bank this morning.  We shopped, joked, visited Dad, made an early dinner…no problems.  Occasionally she would make a reference to Dad coming to the house…plus she also thinks people like my Dad are having sex in nursing homes.  I let that comment pass…not even a nod from me.  I change the subject.

Late this afternoon she asked me to check the thermostat to make sure it was set for 75.  That’s cooler than usual for her; it’s usually 77.  When I checked the thermostat, I saw that she had turned the system off.  She moved the wrong button, and I showed her how to change the temperature.  I’m not sure she’ll remember, but I did try to be kind of dramatic when I said, “So…you certainly don’t want to turn the heat off in winter.”

“No, I don’t,” she said firmly.

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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