Parental Journal 54 from Planet Elderly – On the Eve of Neuropsych Testing

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 – evening

I thought I was following up on what Mom wanted to do when I asked Judy when it would be convenient for her, her mom and her aunt to come over for lunch.  Mom had such a great time when we went over to Judy’s for lasagna, and when we left Mom said something about maybe doing this again at her place.

I consulted with Mom after Judy emailed back suggesting this Sunday or next Tuesday.  Mom looked uneasy, but agreed to Tuesday.

I probably should not have attempted to arrange such a gathering.  Now Mom is anxious about having people over…telling me we eat differently…not thrilled that they like dark meat and she likes only white meat…upset that the rug isn’t vacuumed and the kitchen floor needs cleaning…and in general making a huge project over a simple lunch.

But I realize that for her this is not simple.  She is thinking of all the details and that overwhelms her.  “You’re used to having lots of people over; I’m not.”  So I offered to cancel because I didn’t want her to be mad.

“NO!  If you cancel, then I’ll really be mad!   And I don’t want you talking about me to anyone!”

“When do I talk to other people about you?”

“Any time you get the chance.  I don’t need you telling people to ‘look out for my mom.’  That’s crap.  I don’t need any help.  If I have to have help, I’d rather die.”

Subject dropped.  I headed upstairs to the room I’m using.  I brought my laptop up there earlier because it’s clear that we need more space between us.  She’s on edge with me “always watching” her, and I’m starting to feel suffocated with no time to myself.  It’s also the only room with a window I can open and get some fresh air.

On the eve of the day she participates in neuropsych tests, I’m giving both of us plenty of space while I practice breathing deeply.  I’m expecting that she won’t want to go tomorrow, so I’m strategizing what to say.  I’m also expecting that she’ll complain all the way there and back, so I’ll be practicing “mindfulness of keeping my big mouth shut” and not get sucked into spats with her.

Tomorrow is a big day, one I’ve been trying for over a year to get arranged.  I’ll need to be patient, show empathy for her concerns, and not be reactive.

I see the purchase of wine in the near future.

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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