Parental Journal 53 from Planet Elderly – Mini Tizzy Fit and Cuddle with Wanda

Tuesday, April 26, 2016 – late evening

I’m on an odd schedule.  Lately I’ve been waking up at 3:30 or 4:00 a.m.  I think I do that because it’s the only time I can be by myself, other than sleeping.  Then I end up napping for a couple hours in the afternoon.  Mom is asleep now and because I napped, I can’t sleep.

tv remote in phone charger April 2016

Photo:  It’s not unusual to find the TV remote stored in the phone charger.  It’s something Mom does from time to time, probably because they are similar shapes.

What’s concerning is when she tries to make or receive calls using the TV remote. She stays with the task for a while until I can no longer stand it, and then I’ll say something like, “Mom, that’s the TV remote, not the phone.”  It doesn’t seem to phase her.

Mini Tizzy Fit

Mom had a mini tizzy fit yesterday.  She did not sleep well the night before and was kind of on edge most of the day.  Then I sort of got in her way with a suggestion here and there.   She was confused about some of the mail, and when I tried explaining something about a reimbursement check she received, she got angry and threw the mail onto the living room floor.

“I’ve had enough!  I’m going out!” she said.  “Did you put the car in the garage?”

“Yes.”

“Shit!”   She has trouble getting the car into and out of the tiny one car garage and usually has the neighbor do it for her.

I decided to stick my neck out.  “Do you think it’s a good idea to drive when you’re so upset?”

She muttered something and went upstairs where she rummaged around stuff for a while.  Later she came downstairs, finished with Dad’s daily laundry, and said she was going to take a nap.  I had the same idea.

I napped until almost 5 p.m.  Way too long.  Mom napped longer.  When she woke up, she got dressed and came down to fix breakfast.  I was watching TV.  It was evening, but she didn’t realize it.  This happened once before during one of my visits, and I think it occasionally happens when I’m not here.

When I explained that it was only the early evening after her nap, she kind of chuckled.  She finished her oatmeal, raisin toast and tea, and then she went back to bed and slept through the night.

Population Increase in the Sunshine Wing

More residents have joined the Sunshine Wing…and the staff members are feeling it.  It’s stressful work. If I recall, there are 3 more gentlemen and 3 or 4 more ladies.  Few talk.

But Dad was talkative today…looking around…somewhat anxious.  When we took him to the dining room, he called out to one of the staff members, “Hey, lady!”  He was concerned about retrieving his luggage at the airport.  I tried to explain that it was lunch time and we were in the dining room.  It didn’t register until Mom ordered his lunch and he enjoyed a salad and a burger.  We decided he would not eat either of the two entrée choices of the day, and when that happens, a burger is always a sure thing.  Of course, she made sure he had some ice cream and a cookie for dessert.

Night Owls

It’s after 11 p.m.   I’m writing and sipping a Blue Moon.  Mom decided she can’t sleep and is rummaging around upstairs.  She brought down their wedding invitation and showed it to me.  She wants to show it to Dad tomorrow.

Thursday’s Appointment at the Thomson Memory Clinic

I haven’t said much about Thursday’s appointment at the Thomson Memory Clinic.  I figured I’d get a lot of drama.  But I haven’t kept it a secret, either.

Mom earnestly tries to keep track of what’s happening each day and the couple times we talked about this week, I mentioned “the appointment Dr. Gupta wants us to have on Thursday.”  So far, no explosive reactions.

One time she asked, “What’s the appointment for?”  I tried to be calm and honest.  “Dr. Gupta was concerned about some of the checking she did with your memory, so we have to go for more testing at the Thomson Clinic.”  Then I added, “We all change as we get older.  Within the next ten years, I’ll probably get referred for the same tests.”

Her only reply was, “Yes…my memory.”

For some reason I’m bracing myself for a difficult ride to the clinic on Thurs. with lots of complaining.  Maybe not.  Maybe she’ll just be curious and find some of the tests interesting.  She enjoys doing new things.

I’m delighted Dr. Gupta made the referral and that the appointment is set.  I just wish it would not take until May 9 to have the evaluation report visit.  I’m struggling with the tedium of my Mom’s place and her routine.  I actually do better when we hang out in the Sunshine Wing.

For example, today we arrived early and things were busy with after breakfast settling down.  Wanda was finally given her glasses and then I waved at her.  She looked very sad and was mumbling loudly.  So I walked over and asked if I could sit next to her.  She motioned for me to sit, gave me her doll baby to hold, and then she took my hand and kissed it.  We just sat together and talked a bit.  Sometimes she would kiss my cheek and we would chuckle.   “We’re buddies,” I told her.  “Can I be your partner?”   She laughed and said, “Yes!”   From time to time she would order me not to laugh…or not to wiggle my foot, but that’s just Wanda.

At one point I put my arm around Wanda and she immediately leaned into me and put her head on my shoulder.  It was so sweet.  We stayed that way for over an hour…not saying too much…just smiling now and then with her kissing my hand and cheek from time to time.  With her doll baby in one hand and my other arm around 101-year-old Wanda, we made a nice memory, one I’ll keep for a long time. I wish she could keep it, too.

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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