Monday, June 27, 2016 – evening
Not a Quiet Drive Up Yesterday
Phone Call #1: The drive up went well for the most part; however, I received a call from Mom around 9:30 a.m. “Where are you? I thought you were coming up today.”
“I’m on my way now, Mom. It’s an eight hour drive, so I’ll see you later this afternoon.”
Phone Call #2: Three-quarters of the way up I received a call from the nurse on Dad’s wing. She needed to report that Mom had been there and was involved in an incident: Mom was angry at Dad, slapped his arm and also his leg, accused him of taking her money, and was crying. The nurse said she had to report the incident, but that she was concerned about Mom because as she left she said, “If I’m killed in a wreck, it’s Victor’s fault!”
Phone Call #3: Received a call from the administrator. She confirmed that she received the report of Dad being slapped and we agreed to meet Monday at 10:15.
Phone Call #4: Received another call from the administrator. Mom returned in the afternoon and staff was trying to keep her there for a while. She was upset and they didn’t want her driving when she was upset. I was just arriving in Grayslake, so I agreed to go directly to Victory Lakes, pick Mom up and bring her home.
Phone Call #5: Five minutes later, another phone call from the administrator. Mom refused to stay and was headed home.
I turned around, drove to Mom’s townhouse community, and her car was in the driveway.
After unloading my car, Mom and I relaxed and visited. I decided to gently mention the phone calls in a calm and understanding voice. I did pretty well. Mom seemed surprised and was convinced “it was all a misunderstanding.” I told her we had to meet with the administrator Monday morning and she was fine with that.
Overall, she stayed calm, but she was clearly upset and a bit defensive. “Okay then. I just can’t touch him. I can’t say anything. I won’t speak to those people anymore.”
We had a light dinner of burgers and veggies. She cooked. I was cautious, especially when she said we would each have 1 ½ burgers. She was cooking two fresh burgers from the meat department and one of unknown age. I wondered if we could both die of eating hamburger meat that was too old and not properly stored in the refrigerator, but by the time she cooked the hell out it, I figured anything dangerous was killed off with the extended cooking time. (It’s the next day and we’re both alive and arguing.)
After dinner we took a quick ride to see Dad. She was so grateful. He was agitated and was holding his shoes. He had an undershirt on but not a shirt. I told him he looked like he’d been partying. He couldn’t hear me, but he looked like he was struggling and we were told he was given some Ativan because he had been so agitated. He had been uncooperative taking his meds that day and reportedly told the nurse, “I don’t want that in my life anymore.” They won’t force any medicine. They will try another time. I understand.
We didn’t stay long…not more than 20 minutes. It was long enough for Mom to get her goodnight kiss, and that made her day.
We relaxed the rest of the evening. I watched Masterpiece Theater and Mom napped in her chair. Lights were out by 10:15 p.m.
Today: A Roller Coaster of Emotions
We visited with Dad before our morning meeting. Dad ate some of the watermelon I brought, but he was groggy and mostly unresponsive. It’s sad seeing him this way.
The meeting with the administrator and the director of social services was conducted with care and understanding. Mom was asked what happened yesterday and she didn’t remember much.
Things became more difficult when she was told she would have to have someone with her when she visited Dad. She cried, tried to explain what happened yesterday, and became angry and defensive.
Mom was also told she should not be driving. Staff members are concerned, especially when she is upset or angry and then gets into the car. This didn’t go over well at all. She stood her ground: “I don’t drive much…just to the store and to see Victor,” and when the potential to hurt others in an accident was brought up, her response was “I’ve been fine. I’ll be careful.”
We even talked about the possibility of Mom trying out staying in the community for a month or so to see what it’s like. That way she could see Dad often and also have social outlets. She said she’d give it some thought, but thoughts for her are fleeting…at least some are. Other thoughts are obsessive delusions: “Dad is taking all my money.” “Dad wants a divorce.” “Other women don’t like me because I’m his wife and he’s a good looking man.”
Overall, she was upset by the content of the meeting…and I understand. She feels like everyone is always telling her what to do. At one point in the meeting she became so upset she left, but then she returned.
After the meeting, we visited with Dad for a bit and Mom was quite tearful. Even Dad noticed her red eyes, but he could not find words to comfort her.
On the way home, Mom became defensive and I made a big mistake – again. I tried to explain why people are concerned about her driving…why they are concerned about Dad being slapped. I should have just let her talk, but she asked and I tried to explain.
We ended up in an argument and then agreed to be quiet. Once home, she went for a short walk and I checked email. Mom decided she wanted to take her annual driver’s test tomorrow to prove she is fine driving, so we’ll be at the door with bells on by 8:00 a.m.
We were going to visit with neighbor assistant, Kevin, to bring him up to date, but when Mom went to find him she said he was not home. Eventually she located Kevin and he came over to do a form of much needed family therapy – once again. I told him what had been going on, and by the end of our time together, Mom was calmer and grateful to Kevin. “He’s so easy going,” she said. He’s also not her child and I, too, am grateful for the leverage he can provide with difficult issues.
So. Big day tomorrow. Will Mom pass the driving test or not? I’m hoping she doesn’t, because if she does, I have to continue to deal with the driving issue…and that’s only the tip of the impending iceberg.