Parental Journal 41 from Planet Elderly: Scary Doll Baby

Friday, January 29, 2016  3:30 p.m.

Quite a contrast between yesterday and today.

Yesterday Dad waved at me when we arrived and announced, “Here’s my daughter.”   When he saw Mom he said, “There’s Mother.  There’s my girl!”   Mom was delighted.  She giggled and kissed him.  “She’s one of the best gals.  She knows her dad knows everything.”

Folks 01 Jan 28 2016

 

During the visit Dad was quite interested in all the folks moving about.  Someone was repairing the TV, someone was cleaning rooms, someone was delivering food carts for lunch, and his new roommate was trying to get out of his wheelchair, but couldn’t quite manage the strength to do so.  “He’s not worth much,” Dad said as he watched him.

Dad looked at Mom and me and smiled.  “Here’s a big team,” he said and laughed.

 

Things were different today.  He sat with his eyes closed.  I learned that he was given anti -anxiety medicine in the middle of the night.  When that happens, he’s quite groggy the next day.

When Mom was out of the area I asked the nurse what Dad does when he is “agitated.”  I was told he yells…is restless…sometimes tries to hit others…sometimes he spits out his medicine.  She also said it doesn’t happen often.  Sometimes it happens after Mom visits.

Sunday, January 31, 2016  3:45 p.m.

More grogginess yesterday and today…at least during the beginning of our visits.

Yesterday I asked him, “Dad, would you like to open your eyes?”

“I don’t know,” he said.  Under the influence of meds, I’m sure he didn’t know.  His lids probably felt quite heavy.  But Mom brought a plain cake donut again and after eating it with his eyes closed, he perked up.  Some of his gem comments yesterday included:

“I’m doing pretty good.  I’m prettier than good.”

“All the girls love me now.”

“I just can’t help but love me.

Mom was smiling, but she also reminded Dad who his wife is.  She’s not happy when he talks about other “girls.”

To Mom:  “You just pay attention to me.  I have a beautiful head of hair.”

“I just make a beautiful picture.”

It must be nice to be 93 and have so much self-confidence.

 

Today’s visit was quiet at first.  Mom resisted bring him a donut.  Dad was groggy until lunch and then he announced that he was “not going to eat here.”

This was one of the days he questioned where he was and what he was supposed to do.  He wanted to know if we knew where the car was.  He seemed to think he was going somewhere…or wanted to.  He was a bit loud and it took a while for me to calm him down. I just explained that Mom and I were going to go do laundry.  That’s our exit line.  We don’t say “We’re going home.”  That might trigger an outburst.

Even though we used the excuse of going to do laundry and would see him “later,” he looked worried.

“Promise?”

“Yes, Dad.  I promise.  Everything’s okay now.”

“Ok, then.  You take care.”

“I will Dad.  I will.”

Prior to leaving, we saw Mom’s friend, Dorothy, again.   It was nice to visit for a while and we talked about maybe having lunch together next week.  Mom always feels better after visiting with Dorothy.

 

Notes on Mom:

On the way to see Dad today she said, “I have a stupid question for you.  What day were you born?    I don’t even know when Dad’s birthday is.  I think it’s in July.”

Last night we had another tutoring session about bank accounts.  She thinks the social security checks are meant to help pay Dad’s expenses.  Nope.  There’s a money market fund set up for that.

She knows she meets her new primary care physician tomorrow.  (And she hasn’t said anything about not needing to see a new doctor.  Yea!!)

She made spaghetti dinner last night, but had some difficulty.  She put the angel hair pasta in the water before it was boiling…forgot to turn on the burner to heat the sauce.  Eventually she got it all put together.  “It’s been so long since I’ve had spaghetti.  This is good!”  It was.

Scary Doll Baby

A few of the ladies in the memory care unit hold doll babies in their laps.  I’m sure the act brings back fond maternal memories.  Among the supply of doll babies, the nurse found one that looks a bit different.

scary dolly Jan 2016

Wanda (100) is very protective of her pretty doll baby.  She doesn’t let anyone touch it, and yells loudly if anyone attempts to do so.    The nurse said that when she offered Wanda  the “different” doll baby to hold, she freaked out—BIG TIME.  I can only imagine.  When Wanda isn’t happy, the whole first floor wing knows.

When Ruth saw the different doll baby she said, “Somebody needs to run over it.”

So we showed Dad what I now called “The Scary Doll Baby.”    His only comment:  “This one looks messed up.”scary dolly and dad Jan 30 2016

So the lonely Scary Doll Baby sits on a table, far away from Wanda…and everyone else.

N.B:   Feb. 1, 2016.   No sign of Scary Doll Baby anywhere in the community room today.

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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