Parental Journal 59 from Planet Elderly – We Survived Mother’s Day at Olive Garden

Mother’s Day – May 8, 2016  – early morning

Alaska, Anyone?

Been dealing with Mom’s continued confusion about money matters, but after each thorough explanation she settles down for a bit.  A day or two later, we have the same conversation.  She was given a written explanation of different bank accounts, but keeps forgetting she has that.  Even after reading it aloud to me, two days later it’s all a mystery and she has no money.

Things have actually been rather calm with little drama lately, except for recently when she decided to return in the afternoon to visit Dad a couple times and saw him yelling, kicking, and carrying on.  When she returns from those visits, she is very upset and crying.  She tends to blame herself, and I gently coach her that this is nothing she can control or fix; this is how his brain is functioning.

“He keeps saying that he wants to come home,” she cries.

“They all want to come home,” I said.  “We all want to be home where we feel safe and secure.”   Then I reminded her that when we visit each day and ask how he is, he’ll say, “Great!”  or “Good” or “Just fine.”  I acknowledged that it’s  truly devastating to see him when he’s agitated.

By the time I helped her calm down yesterday she said, “I need a vacation.  I can’t do this anymore.”

“Sure you do,” I said.

“You’re coming with,” she said.  “Where do you want to go?”

“Alaska!  Everyone I’ve met who has gone on a cruise to Alaska had a wonderful time.”

“Yeah…I’ve always wanted to see Alaska, too.   Check it out,” she said, as if ready to book passage.

Then I asked her if she’d feel comfortable being away from Dad for that period of time and she admitted that she would not.

We’ve had this conversation numerous times.  Mom would like to do some fun things and travel a bit before she dies.  Wouldn’t we all?  I’m 69 and feel like I’m in my 40s.  Mom is 89 and feels like she’s in her 20s.  Go figure.

We Survived the Cattle Call at Olive Garden on Mother’s Day

3:30 p.m.

Quiet visit with Dad today.  He slept in his chair until lunch, but then had a good lunch.  Mom was sad because he “didn’t say anything.”  I reminded her that he has some verbal days and some quiet days.  If he doesn’t look at her and smile during a visit, she is not a happy gal.  Sometimes she’s royally pissed.

At least when we left Dad and headed to Olive Garden in Gurnee, IL, she wasn’t crying.  Mom had never been to an Olive Garden, so I thought that would be something different for her.  I’m not a huge fan, but I knew she would enjoy the lasagna.  She did.   We also enjoyed people watching.  With just two of us, we only had to wait 20 minutes.  We brought home leftovers and two orders of tiramisu to enjoy later.  So, yeah, if you’re going to go to Olive Garden for the first time, why not go on their busiest day of the year?  Mother’s Day!

Mom Mother's Day 2016 first visit at Olive Garden Gurnee, IL


Neuropsych Evaluation Visit Tomorrow

I’m kind of anxious about what the evaluation report will reveal.  The appointment is for 2 p.m.  First, I’m hoping we can drive there without Mom threatening to jump out of the car.  I think she’ll be okay.  I’m expecting that she will primarily complain about the drive and not understanding why this was done in the first place because she’s just fine.  My response is already planned:  “Yeah…I understand.  Well, we’re just finishing up what the doctor said we needed to do.  I’m pretty sure my doctor will have me referred for the same tests sometime within the next 10 years or so.”  I’ll say that once or twice and then just let her complain the rest of time without any comment from me.  If she asks more questions as to why, I’ll just shrug my shoulders and say, “I dunno.”

I’m curious about the doctor’s approach and if there will be a recommendation to stop driving.  I also wonder what recommendation might be made in terms of living independently.

In my mind I’m playing out different scenarios…options…and how to approach them.

I’ve been here a month.  Right about now I’d love to have a month back in Columbia to recharge my battery.  I miss my life there.

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 70 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. In late March 2017 I was able to move Mom closer to me where she resided at a memory care assisted living community until being downsized to a skilled nursing senior community in October 2018 in Columbia, Missouri. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of our family's journey with dementia. 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 website: ;
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