August 5, 2020 – early afternoon
Once I began driving after my knee replacement surgery, I was able to resume some “chatterbox” visits with Mom, and they were terrific. They are held inside, which was awesome because outside we were having many days of 90+ degree weather.
It was wonderful to see her recognize me, smile, chat a bit, and listen to me gab on and on about various matters…my new knee…physical therapy…baking…socially distanced yard visits with my gal pals…Zoom visits with my cousin, Bob.
When I asked how she was doing, she said, “Pretty good.” She is eating well, doesn’t take many pills, still likes to be up quite late at night, and she still manages to assert herself with staff at times (and they know how to handle her anger and stubbornness–just get a different person to ask her to do the same thing and she’ll go along with it) Considering Mom’s general nature and feisty personality, she just seems to be going with the flow. On August 16th, a Sunday, she will turn 94. I can’t visit on weekends, so we’ll have an early celebration on my scheduled visit the Thursday before her birthday.
Mom with a super gifted angel staff person, Donnie. He works with her so well and with such care, respect, and humor. She’s not fond of the mask. Can you tell?
I’ve been bringing in some flowers once a week. She loves them and I know her neighbors and the staff enjoy a bit of color also.
More recently, Mom’s community initiated in-person visits outdoors. Residents and visitors must be masked and must be six feet apart, but the visits last for 30 minutes instead of 15 for Chatterbox visits, and there is no screen or plexiglass barrier.
We had our first outdoor visit Monday of this week. It was wonderful. The weather had cooled off and sitting outside was quite nice.
It was also difficult because we could not touch each other…no hand holding, no hugs. It’s something people worldwide are experiencing during this pandemic outbreak.
But I just chatted away about my physical therapy sessions and the two-part documentary about Frank Sinatra I saw the other day. Of course, I could not resist asking her about how she reacted to Frank Sinatra as a young crooner when she was a teenager. She said she thought he was okay; she liked his songs. When I said the film showed old footage of screaming girls in the audience, Mom just shook her head.
“I mean, it was just like teens acted when Elvis became popular…and then the Beatles, Mom!”
Her reply: “All that isn’t necessary.”
Nice to know we are two peas in a pod, so to speak. Both of us enjoyed popular singers as teenagers, but neither of us got swept up in the hysteria.
Mom kept fiddling with her mask during our visit and exposing her nose. I kept gently reminding her to “pull it up.” After my fourth or fifth reminder, she pulled the mask up to cover her eyes; then she pulled it down. I just shook my head and laughed.
Before I left our first outdoor visit I took a photo. It’s Mom’s COVID wave. Despite the progression of her dementia, she is well, she responds to conversation, she has a great sense of humor, and she tells me she loves me when I tell her I love her. I feel blessed.