Parental Journal 108 from Planet Elderly: First Zoom Session with Mom

Monday, May 5, 2020   early afternoon

 

“Your Teeth Are So White”

I am very grateful for some Zoom time with Mom a while back.  It was arranged by the Director of Activities. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was eager to see her.

Once I was connected, I heard the director say to Mom, “Pearl…guess who’s here?” as she placed the laptop in front of Mom.

Mom looked around as if an in-person visitor had arrived, and then she was shown the screen.

“Hi, Mom!” I waved.  “I have missed seeing you!”

She looked at the screen and then went into visitor mode.  “Oh, I’ve missed seeing you, too.”

“How are you doing?” I asked.

“Oh, okay.  I’ve been busy doing stuff around here.”  She gestured to the rug as if she had been vacuuming as usual.

“Are you eating okay?”

“There’s plenty to eat here…and it’s good.”

She looked around a bit because there were a lot of people in the area preparing to assist getting residents to the dining area.  Mom loves to observe others and listen in on their conversations.  Kitchen pans clanked in the background.  People were talking loudly and there was laughter.

I got her attention again when I tried explaining why I hadn’t visited.  I talked about the virus, rules about not having visitors, and how people around the world had to deal with this “pandemic.”

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She looked amazed.  “Really?” as if she had not been told anything by staff, but of course she had and just could not remember.

“Yeah, no kidding.  This is quite historic.  People just have to stay home unless they need to get food or medical care.”

“Boy, your teeth are white,” she said peering closer to the screen.

“Oh, yeah?  Do they look nice and bright?”

“Yes they do.  Your teeth look really white.”

“Must be the new toothpaste I’m trying,” I said.

I noticed her nails were painted a bright pink color.  They matched her jacket.  When the director mentioned showing her nails to me, Mom smiled and said, “Oh, my daughter did my nails.” She held them up in front of her to admire.

No, the daughter didn’t do her nails, but I wasn’t about to correct her thinking.  I miss doing her nails though  because we chat and laugh a lot when I do.

Her attention turned to other activities for a minute, and then she said, “Well, it was good to see you.  You take care now.”  That’s her typical sign-off when visiting with other people.  Not me.

“Are you finished with your visit, Pearl?” the director asked.  “Ready to go to lunch?”

“Yes I am,” Mom said.  She gestured toward the laptop and told the director, “That’s my friend.”

And I am.  I am delighted and honored to be her friend.

 

 

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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: https://www.agingcare.com/ ; https://www.alz.org/
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