Monday, December 6, 2010

Is your mother still living?

Yes, she is. She is the best mother ever. She has a wonderful sense of humor. She loves to laugh.
And she was lots of fun growing up. She loved to dance, sing and play games.

She sounds like me. Does she live with you?

Yes, she is very much like you. And she does live with me.

You're lucky you still have her. Someday she'll die and then you'll really miss her.

I know. I am very lucky.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"These are all my own teeth."

"These are all my own teeth."

I was paying bills in at the desk in the living room, when I heard Mom tell me the above.
She was standing near the desk smiling.

"Hello. I just came to say hello. I'm here and you're here, so I thought I'd just say hello.
You have a good attitude. These are all my own teeth you know. But I did have a dentist
take on out in the back."

"It was decayed?"

" No, there was nothing wrong with it. You have to watch those doctors. I'm mad at him
for taking it out."

"Well, why do you suppose he pulled that tooth out?'

"I don't know... Maybe he wanted it to put in someone else's mouth..."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Singing in the Rain

Bea turned 85. For some reason, she seemed more with it than ever. I don't know why. Maybe it was the nap until dinner time.
I woke her up to Gene Kelly singing. My husband gave her the yellow umbrella. Even if she couldn't remember many words or her singing was off key, she was WONDERFUL! A moment I will remember forever. Sometimes it's a joy to be sitting in the front row.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I have a close friend who lost her Dad to Alzheimer's not long ago. She also took care or her father at home, so naturally our families spent time together. And we got to know her father well. She brought her Dad, with his electric shaver in his back pocket, over to our family BBQ. (This was during the time he would wake everyone up shaving at 2am., so she thought if he had the shaver with him at all times, they might be able to get some sleep.)

So, naturally I did not think about getting a sitter for Mom, when she asked us out to dinner to meet her son's new girlfriend.
Everything was fine until we all put our folded menus on the table. Mom was sitting across from the new girlfriend who was wearing a low cut top.

"BOOBIES, BOOBIES....LITTLE, LITTLE BOOBIES PEEKING OUT!", she shouted as she bounced her own boobs up and down.
"That's o.k. Let them come out...."

Thank God that the girl is studying to be a Marriage Family Therapist. We all laughed and thankfully the new girl has a great sense of humor.

Dinners were ordered, wine poured and we talked. But no one really included Mom in the conversation among 8 people.
I never thought that it would bother her because sometimes she has long quiet spells. When the waitress came with her dinner and tried to place it in front of her, another outburst. "GOD DAMM IT, JESUS CHRIST, SON OF A BITCH! I CAN'T EAT THAT!"

I consider myself more than lucky to have such good friends in such circumstances, but I think dinners with Bea at that restaurant will be far and few from now on.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Butterfly Jacket

As I passed my mother's room the other afternoon, she whispered, "Come in, come in. I want to show you something."
She took the Butterfly Jacket out of her closet.

Now i need to describe this jacket. It must be one- of -a-kind. Three inch butterflies cover black silk on the front and back. To top it off the entire coat is trimmed in red braiding. I bought it for her at a second-hand store. She doesn't care, but if she were in her right mind she never would accept anything used. My mother wants to wear it every day.

"How do you like it?,she asked.


"I made it you know."

"Oh, that must have taken a lot of time - so many butterflies.. How did you do it?

" It took a lot of time. I had to sew all these shiny things on..."

"The sequins?"

"Yes, the sequins. Here would you try it on? Just for the fun of it."

She always loved clothes and jewelry. And "Just for the fun of it " was a common phrase when new clothes came in the house growing up.She wanted us give her a fashion show, elementary school through high school. I hated it, but now I would gladly try the Butterfly Jacket on for her. And I even added the rhinestone earrings.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Can I wear these to bed?

Mom has long ago forgotten the word,"earring", but she is still very concerned about her appearance. Late every afternoon I wake her up, telling her it's "cocktail hour". ( She gets 1 glass of wine and cranberry juice thereafter - but Mom never knows the difference)

Her immediate response,"Cocktails? Oh, good,"What am I going to wear? You'll have to help me..."

That was really an aside, this is tonight's real story.....
Tonight she found a pair of silver earrings on her bedside table. She insisted on trying them on and smiling at herself in the mirror. I told her she would probably like to wear them to dinner tomorrow with her son,"Chuckie, my boy".

( Isn't it something that she still recalls her only son, yet thinks that I am just another caretaker, no relation, even though she lives with me 24/7?)

Then she asked in a sweet childlike voice, "Can I wear these to bed?"

"Sure!." I almost cried. She is still my mother and she is here physically, but someone else has invaded her brain. I know I will miss her terribly when she is gone, yet there are days when I wish I were anywhere but here. Her slowness in moving,short-term memory loss I don't want to stop living because she is dying....
Some days seem easy, today is not one of them.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pregnant and married

Looking at old photos, I saw a photo of my Mom and my daughter when she was born. It brought back memories of questions I have never asked.

Mom, You never told me you were pregnant when you go married.

So what? Did I have a baby? What did I have?

A girl.

Did she get married?


And did she have children?

Yes. Two daughters.

Well, then. It turned out alright, didn't it?

I guess so....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sometimes dementia works for you and some times it doesn't

I admit, I should not have teased my mother about getting a Mohawk haircut before I took her to the hairdresser. Even if she had no idea of what a Mohawk was, it did create an alarming reaction. She is so fearful of looking like a man. She always had such a great sense of humor and when she seems almost there, I tend to think she IS back to her old self and I tease her. Mean. Not productive.
So, we arrive at the hairdresser's and I assure Bea she can tell the woman exactly what she wants and the hairdresser will do it. I escort Mom to the chair, convinced that only 1inch will be clipped. Ahhh! Thank God for AC and lots of magazines to peruse. It's about 90 degrees outside. What a wonderful break. Haircut done already? I go to help her up from the chair, the hairdresser says, "She told me she would KILL me if I cut too much..." I look on the floor, - no hair. Her head looks exactly the same.... I forgot to tell the hairdresser she has Alzheimer's. What did that woman think?.....
That will be $35.00 please.....
On the way out the door she remarked to an older man, "Aren't you handsome? I bet your wife loves you?"
He had NO IDEA that she was out of it.. Yet he appreciated her compliment.
Sometimes dementia works for you and sometimes it doesn't.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Helping Mom get undressed for bed, I noticed a tissue sticking out of her bra. I pulled it out.

"Don't touch my body!" she exclaimed.

"I just pulled a tissue from your bra." I answered.

"It could be a note... Maybe it's a note from Grandpa. .. It could be something important written on it. You never know. You shouldn't take things without asking."


Well the sign in the bathroom was pointless. We read it together and practiced. Yet every morning when I got up, the sign and diaper were still there. And her diaper was soaked. But she was still wearing it, so the pjs and the bed were still dry.
I wonder if she saw the sign and then wondered ,"Who is "MOM?" Maybe if I put her picture next to the sign. No, that wouldn't work. She would just stare at her photo. So I just decided to let it go and deal with the ocassional accidents. I AM thankful that she does refresh her lipstick before going back to bed. lol.

Monday night dinner

ME: You were always a good cook, Mom. I always loved your Chicken Cacciatore.

BEA: Who taught you to cook?

ME: My mother.

BEA: Does she live close to you?

ME: No, she lives far, far, away. I really miss her. Who taught you to cook?

BEA: My mother. She taught me everything.............Oh no.,....Oh..
I can't remember if my mother is dead or not.

take ME...Take ME April 21, 2010

Mom gets up in the night to go to the bathroom, usually taking her diaper off. She puts her pajamas back on without a clean diaper. There have been three accidents in the bed after that. She's so quiet in the night I don't wake up.

So I found some bells and put them on her door. (These bells sound like the goat bells in the fields of Toiny, St. Barts. God that was the best way to wake up in the first morning of vacation,) Now I dread hearing g the same sound. After about a week of getting up i the middle of the night, needless to say, I was exhausted and crabby. I needed a new plan. She's got to wear a diaper ALL night.

I thought of duck-taping the diaper on til morning - just one ring of tape over the diaper ... or maybe wear the duck-tape as suspenders, but my daughter wanted to know if I was serious. Guess that was a crazy idea.... She suggested I write a note, so here's what I wrote:



I wrote an arrow on the sign pointing to the diaper hanging next to it. I wrote on the back of the diaper in extra large letters:


I taped the sign to the towel bar directly in front of the toilet so she would see it when she sat down. We read it together before bed. She said she understood. Trial run last night. I left the bathroom light on instead of just the nightlight.

No good. The wet diaper is in the wast basked and she did not touch the one labeled, TAKE ME. She is still asleep. The health -aid will be here any minute... We will tackle the problem together when she gets here. Maybe that's the way we should deal with this everyday. Get a strong rubber pad and keep washing and bleaching.

How about if I leave her signs on the mirror and on the back of the bathroom door. What should it say so that she will remember to check if she has a diaper on just after reading it?










She seems to forget one sentence just after she reads it. How about a cartoon? diagram?photo of herself? - no, she'll just stare at it and smile.

I'll keep trying. There has got to be a way.



"Do you have a wife?". Bea remarks to my husband as she strokes his arm.

"Would she mind if you had a girlfriend?" Now she is trying to hug and kiss him.

My husband laughs , yet it 's somehow really creepy. And every new day that she sees him she somehow remembers to ask him if he is married. She forgets who I am, yet always seems to remember her feeling for my husband. I never would have thought this would happen in a thousand years. Dinners are now filled with surprise.


First of all I'm adding 6 previous blogs because I changed the name of my blogspot.

Mom is 84 - going on 4, no 15, no sometimes I just can't figure it out. The Alzheimer's comes in waves, totally unexpected. Not al all what I imagined. Most days she has no idea who I am at dinner time. She'll look at me preparing dinner and ask, "Where's Lynn? I never see her." (She only lives with my husband and myself 24/7.)
I'll tell her who I am and she will respond with squinty eyes, "Something's funny around here. You're not my daughter..."
Then we go through about 5 minutes of , "Yes, I'm your daughter. You're my mother."
She answers,"You're the mother and I'm the daughter."
"No, no, I'm the daughter.'
"I'm the daughter.."
"No, You're the mother, I'm daughter."
"I'm; the daughter, You're the mother."