• Lisa

whiplash, and a confession

Mom's mental status changes so fast, I get whiplash. One hour she's telling me how much she loves me, she hopes I will be okay when she is gone, she wishes I'd get somebody to move in with me so I don't have to live alone (she forgets, I'm an only child, I grew up alone, and actually I've had virtually NO alone time in the past year, so alone time sounds pretty darn good right about now)

The next hour, she's never seen me before, I never lived with her, she doesn't know why I'm claiming to be her husband's daughter unless it's to get the property he left to her real daughter, the other Lisa. 0_o Yeah, beats the heck out of me too. If a birth certificate and a passport with my photo won't convince her, nothing will. I could yell, cry, or do any of a number of other things in response, and it simply does not compute.

Fortunately, when the aforementioned tirade happened last night, mom called her younger brother who lives right around the corner and just retired. He came by today, and she told him all about the awful girl who was here last night and how upset and worried she was that that girl would try to take what was mine after mom was gone. He reassured her he would help me take care of myself, so hopefully that crisis is averted for now.

He also assured me he would come by more often so I can get out of the house more often than once every month or two. I mean, sitters are expensive; you don't always know who they are; and mom is confused enough thinking I'm half a dozen different people, so if half a dozen actual people were caring for her, who knows what she might do?

I'm hoping that having him around might be a calming influence on her, as well as giving me an occasional break, so I can, oh I dunno, go to Wal-Mart, or Goodwill, or just get some fresh air. There's a nice little park right up the block, within easy walking or biking distance...which brings me to my confession.

I don't own a bike. The reason is, I can't ride one. I had a little blue one with training wheels as a kid, but I really don't remember using it that much. I think I fell off it a few times and decided I'd rather be up in a tree with a book. (yes, that was one of my favorite things as a little kid, to climb a particular tree in my yard that had a perfect forking of limbs to make a nice seat for a little girl to sit and read)

My balance and coordination were never good, and I didn't figure out why till I started running in high school. A runners magazine had an article about how to tell which of your legs was shorter, since everybody has one. I did the test and holy cow, one of mine is a fair bit shorter. Over recent years, yoga has helped my balance, so now I can walk with a cup of hot coffee without it sloshing all over my hand and making me swear. But I don't know whether I'd be able to learn to ride. Friends reassure me that it's not only possible but relatively easy and painless. One friend says she taught her 82 year old grandma last summer. If grandma can do it, dadgummit, I can.

First step is to obtain a bike. My plan is to hit the big Goodwill in Nolensville, out near my old home, and failing that, the Play It Again second-hand sporting goods store out beside Cool Springs mall. I can't see spending a ton of money on something I may not end up using. Then I can walk it up to the park (we don't have sidewalks yet on my street, but we do have a designated bike lane) and give it a try. I looked up instructions, and apparently I need to start by learning to coast and keep balance, then add the pedal action. Oh, and I need a helmet. My brain is messed up enough as it is without help from a concussion. LOL

If I can pull this off, it would be a good addition to my fantasy RV future. With a bike and the skill to use it, I wouldn't have to unhook a camper every time I wanted to go down the block. Also, having a bike will give me added impetus to finish cleaning out the garage so I have a place for it. So y'all keep me in your thoughts, and if you have any suggestions that might help, kindly share!

#caregiver #dementia #exercise #bicycle

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