Monday Memories WIth My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     With regular temps at -15 F here in Michigan, I am hanging out at home on Sunday and taking the time to prepare this post ahead of time -- I refuse to go out in this freezing weather if I don't absolutely have to!! 
     I mentioned in my post last week I would talk about "Still Alice" this week.  The Oscars are this Sunday, February 22nd.  I read the book "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova  while I was vacationing in sunny Arizona four years ago, and it was a quick read and a good book.  I was excited to learn they were making the book into a movie and that Julianne Moore would be playing the part of Alice.  Even more exciting, Julianne Moore has been nominated "Best Actress" for her role in the movie.  The prospect of this movie bringing awareness to everyone's local theatre was kind of exciting to me as I thought this was a good way for the general public to get a glimpse of the experience.  To "know" someone struggling with this disease is not enough...  I say live with the person for a week, shadowing them 24/7, alone, and then you will "know".

     I noticed Julianne Moore was making the rounds on the talk show circuit for the last couple of months.  I Googled and tracked the "release dates" for the movie the last couple of months.  There were several release dates, some in December which is when she won the Critic's Choice Award for Best Actress.  I noticed January 16th and February 6th were also listed as release dates.  I soon learned that the January release dates were small releases in "select cities" such as New York and L.A.  Then I learned that "nationwide" release was February 6th.  By February 6th, I was more than ready to go see the movie,  but could not locate it any of my large and local theatres.  Ugh!  Finally, with more Googling I found two theatres in the State of Michigan showing the movie.  One was about 30 minutes away and was showing the movie for only a week, the other was about two hours away.  This theatre is known for showing more "artsy" type movies.  To be honest, I was sooooo disappointed to realize that after finally getting this movie made, and even with big names (Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart also play supporting roles) it was not more widely released.  I went to the first show on a Monday morning.  At first I thought there would be about ten people, but I was glad to see the theatre gradually fill almost to capacity.  I thought the movie was quite good, and I noticed not one person got up during the movie.  I don't know if it was the type of audience, or that we all didn't want to miss anything.   
      I found it ironic that the struggles and research I had to do just to find this movie -- well it sure was reminiscent of the struggles caregivers and those affected with Alzheimer's Disease go through on a daily basis.  What should be or seems like a simple thing can become complicated.  It's too bad the movie was not picked up by more theatres, but I expect an April 2015 DVD release date and I hope some of you will put it on your list of movies to see.  Okay, now I'll get off my "Still Alice" bandwagon and go back to "Still Mom".

      When I visited, there they were again -- watching a soap opera.  My mom and the same "friend" from last week.  Quietly sitting.  My mom was giving me some "dirty looks" and I quickly noticed she was a bit crabby.  I asked her if she was feeling okay and she said she was.  She also seemed a bit tired, but managed to stay awake. 
     While I was there, a young volunteer was going around saying "hello" to the residents and she gave my mom this Valentine card. 
    I took her to a nearby table and asked if I could do her nails.  She questioned me on if I "knew how" and would do "a good job".  I assured her I did and would!!  I've been trimming her nails every few weeks, as I've noticed this is not a level of care that is "included" in her living there.  I believe there is someone from the beauty salon you can pay to come around and give manicures.  So far, I'm fine with just occasionally doing it myself, but I may try that service at some point. 

     You may recall, Kristin used to paint her Grandma's nails quite a bit when she was in her assisted living community.  Then, after awhile, my mom said she didn't want nail polish on them anymore.  So, we let it go for a bit.  However, I felt a nice neutral pinkish color would be a nice Valentine's Day treat from me!  I did have to remind her to let her hands dry before she fussed with her clothes or got "Muffin" back.  I was happy with how they turned out!

     I noticed a new resident seems to have moved into the room across the hall from my mom.  I said hello to the family caregiver who seemed to be there helping to get the resident situated.  I know these beds are in demand and don't expect any of them to be empty for more than a couple of days.  Some residents moving from other floors as my mom did, or just moving in for the first time.
     My mom remained quiet and her friend came over and tried to say something to me, but the words don't really come out or make sense so I just smile and say "you look nice today".  My mom was also saying some things that I couldn't make too much sense of.  At one point, she took my hand and squeezed it really hard and said something about something....and that I "hurt her feelings".  Sadly, I have no idea what she was talking about so I just said I was sorry and that I didn't mean to hurt her feelings.  She still seemed a bit mad.  It bothered me, but I was able to brush it off.  There was a time when something like that would have really bothered me.  Now, it mainly just bothers me because I realize she is having a bad day and want to make sure she isn't in any kind of pain or having any issues.  If she's the same on the next visit, I will be talking to the staff about it.  For now, I will assume she was having a bad day, tired, and so I eventually left her to rest with Muffin. 

     Speaking of the staff, I brought some gifts over to "spread some love" from me and my mom for Valentine's Day.  I also left a few things for the girls on the second shift whom I don't see as often.  Just a little something to let them know how much I appreciate what they do!!
     My brother is down in sunny Key West, Florida with his son on vacation, so I will try to visit my mom a bit more this week if I can!  I have to admit, after being sick for three weeks as I was, I'm a little shy about "over" visiting my mom's health care community during this flu season.  I use the hand sanitizer they provide like crazy!!!  I'm sure we will all feel better when we see some signs of Spring -- hopefully before we know it!!!!



Julia said...

It's a shame the movie didn't get that much showing in all the theatres.

Sorry you've been sick with that nasty flu. I can see why you are hesitant to visit more often in this flu season but I'm glad you're feeling better.

I hope spring soon makes it's appearance. I'm getting
a little weary of the constant winter major snowstorms and cold temperatures.


Kim said...

I want to see this movie but I don't think I could watch it in a theatre. I would be crying, so I'll wait until I can get it online.

Kerri said...

So nice of you to do your mom's nails for her...and so thoughtful of you to bring gifts to the staff!
Still Alice is definitely at the top of my list of movies to see!!

yaya said...

Your Mom's nails look really nice! How sweet to bring in treats for the staff. I know they appreciate things like that...not too many times are health care workers thanked. I haven't seen this movie here either but hopefully I'll get the DVD. It looks really good. Same weather here and I sure wish I was in Florida right now! I'm very over this winter. Probably because I'm not over last winter yet! I had the stomach flu but thankfully it was over in about 24hrs...whew! I hadn't had that happen to me in years! Take care and stay warm!

Jill said...

Hi! I just found your blog and wanted to comment. That movie did not get released where I live either, nor did the movie Wild. I would love to have seen them both. My heart goes out to you and your family as Alzheimer's is very hard. I worked in a nursing home years ago on that floor and saw first hand how difficult it is for the patients and their families. Some completely stopped visiting and it was so sad. Don't give up...she loves you and no matter how hard some days are, she knows you care, love her and are there for her. Sharing your story will help inspire others so no matter how bad it gets know you make a difference! Take care!