Monday Memories WIth My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     Well, time is just flying by, isn't it???  Another week has passed and I took my mom to a dentist appointment for a checkup on Tuesday and then on Saturday her senior facility was hosting a Mother's Day Tea on Saturday.
     For those who do not know, on Monday's I post about my experiences as a caregiver to my mom, who is 69 years old, and has Alzheimer's Disease.  It has been a real life roller coaster ride for me, particularly the last five years or so.
      The dentist appointment was relatively uneventful, although I did find it tricky to locate my mom (again) in her apartment building.  I thought it would be "smart" of me to go straight to "Don's apartment" this time, and I even parked in the middle of the building so our walk would not be so long.  My mom did not answer her phone, so I thought I would find her there or possibly in the exercise room.
     Knocked on Don's door -- very loudly -- he is very hard of hearing.  He let me come in and even invited me to "look around" to see if my mom was there.  She was not...  I tried to telephone my mom a few times during this process.  No answer.  Finally, I headed to her apartment -- there she was sitting on the love seat (not the couch she normally does) with her jacket hood on.  I asked her why she did not answer the phone and she said she could not get to it on time!!??  (I let it ring a very long time.)  Ugh!  Oh well, time to go to the dentist!!  Her repetition was very much like last time, where are we going, where are we going, the dentist? the dentist? what for? what for? what's his name? what's his name? 
     Truth be told, my patience was almost worn by the time we made the ten minute drive to the dentist.  Mainly from the frustration that it appeared she was in her apartment all along, and I thought I was being so smart not going straight there!!??  Mad at myself, mad at her and mostly mad at Alzheimer's Disease!
     As luck would have it, my mom needs to return for two fillings, so I will be making another appointment.  All of this while I, myself, am overdue for a dentist appointment.  Somehow, my kids and my mom keep coming first no matter how hard I try to work on that!!
     As far as Saturday's Mother's Day tea, I think last year I responded too late for that, or perhaps had a conflict with the kids.  This year, I had an appointment to sign some more documentation with the office an hour before the tea was to start.  When I walked in the lobby, there was my mom front and center listening to this man who often comes and plays piano and talks to the seniors about music, plays songs from the past, and gives prizes for those who can answer the trivia questions.  My mom started to get up as soon as she saw me.  I motioned her to stay seated.  Everyone looked at me because I was holding this geranium arrangement I had made for my mom.  They oooohhhed and they aaahhhhhd!

No Watering...Low Maintenance...Finally Learning

The Captive Audience

     After signing the documents and meeting with the office manager, my mom met me at the office and we walked back down to her apartment so I could put her new flower arrangement on her balcony.  She was full of questions when I told her we were going to the tea.  Lower level?  Lower level?  Where are we going?  Where are we going?  What for?  What for?

     It was a long walk back, but we made it.  I had her change into the nicer sweater, and then we headed back for the tea.  She usually asks me if she should smile when I take her picture.  Yes!  We even ended up taking a couple of "selfies" while we were waiting for the crowd of mothers to gather.  I had been up since 4:45 am (took my kids to a field trip), so I can't believe I am posting these pics of my chubby self...but at least it killed some time!!   (Some days, I can almost feel myself getting bigger as my mom gets smaller, but that's a whole 'nother series of posts!!) 

     It was a nice tea.  Coffee cakes and sweets along with coffee and tea.  I fixed my mom a plate.  It disappeared very very fast!  She enjoyed it, but kept repeating herself.  Now what do we do?  Now what do we do?  Are these flowers real?  Are they real?  They're not real, right?  They're not real, right?  I would remind her that they were real and would tell her to feel them and smell them, over and over.  That's how I got the sweet picture on the left.  When I said I wanted I picture with her and the flowers, I got the pictures on the right (below).
     Sadly, by 12:45 pm I had reached my limit.  Her lunch time is 1:00 pm, so I escorted her to the dining room and waited with her until lunch time.  By then, I could not wait to leave.  Thankfully, this reminder of "Safe Travels" prevented me from "speeding" out of the parking lot.  Just keeping it real here folks.  We had some nice moments, made some memories (mostly for myself) and then I had to leave.  Afterall, this is not my "real" mom anymore.  I am the "mom" to her now, and all of the tea in the world will not change that.  I did what I could, and I felt comfortable knowing that I would spend "Mother's Day" with my own kids without hurting my mom at all.      



Kim said...

Well I think you are doing great. Even with a family of your own, you managed to spend some time with your Mom. I know all about putting myself last when it comes to appointments etc.
Yesterday was not a happy day for me. Mothers Day has become my least favorite day. Most of the time I can just go along and accept our "situation" But yesterday looking at Mom made me so sad. I missed the Mom I had before Alzheimers arrived to throw our life into turmoil. It has stolen her spark and personality and left me with a shell and yesterday it just made me mad and bitter. We deal with alot, you and I - we need to keep it real. Hugs, Kim

RockinMom said...

I love the pictures. You look great. It was nice to see pictures of you and your mom.

Taneka Carl @ Heal at Home Care said...

Your situation must be really that challenging. Since you are the one in the right state of mind, find a way to extend your patience. After all, she is your mom and whatever she is going through right now is beyond her control. Anyway, I like your picture together. You look alike! Just enjoy taking care of your mom, and in the end, you'll see how fulfilling and satisfying it is.

Arlene - Caregiver ordinaire said...

Oy Vey! Take lots and lots and lots of pictures of you and your Mom. When my Mom stopped answering the phone, it was because she thought the stove timer was going off or the doorbell was ringing. She didn't recognize the phone. I'm sorry - it's pretty frustrating. Your Mom seems to be doing ok with events like the Tea and I'm so glad. After a while, it was hard for my mom to be around groups of folks - church, a tea or even now, a restraunt is a bit difficult for her. hard to concentrate; hard to think about what is going on. I LOVE LOVE your pictures!!! :)a