• Lisa

Be the duck. Or a princess. Whichever.

Honest, I didn’t think because I posted twice the last time I could get by with not posting for two more weeks. :D Life just gets interesting in spurts. My rebooted spiritual life has coincided with some very challenging behavior on mom’s part, so managing the whole shooting match, plus keeping up with my paid writing gig, has been, um, well, hard. Add to that that the family members who usually help when they can, can’t as much of late because real life is happening to them too.

Since I last visited with you, I find the ‘water off a duck’s back’ practice works well, when I can maintain it. Sometimes it’s relatively easy, especially when I can keep foremost in my mind that if I can hold on, within a few hours mom generally will forget what she was ranting about. Say, she wakes me up at 4 AM shaking her pill schedule in my face and calling me a damn liar and stupid when I try to calmly explain it. I just keep repeating “be the duck, be the duck”. She finally goes back to sleep, and by 7 she is ready for breakfast and doesn’t remember a thing. When it goes on for 10 or 12 hours though, and she starts pushing childhood buttons I didn’t even know I had anymore (but she would, after all, ‘cause she installed them) it’s much harder, and I don’t pretend I am flawless in maintaining.

Of course, that memory hole is a double-edged sword. On Monday I took her to the doctor. On the way there, like the past 2 days before, she kept asking what the doctor’s name was, what age man he was, et cetera. Bear in mind, this is the doctor she’s gone to for at least 20 years, maybe longer. By the time we got there and he walked in the examining room, she knew his name, could tell him her age, who was president (that’s always good for a laugh) and he said “wow, she seems very alert. How’s she doing at home?” I just shook my head and said “showtime”. It’s a term the folks in the dementia caregivers group I belong to online use, for the way their loved one can turn it on and act very normal in front of others and then flips back to their baseline of impairment later.

Anyway, since her pill schedule is always the main thing she rants about, I handed it to him and had him go over it with her. Now, yes, see above: I was well aware she would not retain it for long, but at least this way, he knows he did it, I know he did it, and we can both tell her that. “yes mom, Dr. P went over this and said it’s exactly what he wants you to do”. Which only works when she doesn’t reply with “who’s Dr. P” or “I wasn’t there!” or the damn liar thing. Be the duck, be the duck, be the !@#$% duck. LOL

By the way, I actually googled the phrase ‘be the duck’ and it turns out it’s already in use, just not in this context. Steve Jobs used it to describe the state of looking calm and collected while paddling like crazy below the surface. So, not the same, but what I use it for works for me. I even found a little enamel duck brooch and put it on my night stand so I can see it and remind myself to be the duck.

Best thing, um no, not really that, most interesting thing, maybe? that mom has done lately…Last Friday morning she was being exceptionally nice and pleasant, saying please and thank you spontaneously, and “oh you don’t have to do that” and “I didn’t expect you to be so kind”. Needless to say, it was pretty obvious she had no freakin’ idea who I was. So I asked her, “do you know who I am?” She looked at me for a second and then said “you’re Priscilla’s girl, aren’t you?” I will refer you to the blog archive, to the account of my dad’s working with Elvis. Yes friends, for half of last Friday, mom thought I was Lisa Marie Presley. When I came back from Wal-Mart after lunch, she knew who I was again, didn’t mention the previous visitant or seem to even remember it. She did comment that the girl who stayed with her that morning had offered to go to Wal-Mart, but let it slide when I gently said “no mom, that was me who went to Wal-Mart for you”.

Mom’s sister stayed with her last Thursday so I could go run some other errands, and I even had time to grab some lunch. A couple has transformed a vacant Kroger into this amazing Latino mini-mall, with shops, a stage for live music, an outdoor patio, and the most amazing food court for srs authentic Mexican food. I got some ceviche, chilled seafood stew, on crisp tortillas, and a cup of horchata. This horchata stuff is wonderful; it’s rice water with milk, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla. I looked up a recipe & have been tweaking it for the past week. Mine’s still a bit too sweet but it’s much better. Perfect for summer! So I’ll leave you with that til next week. If nothing more exciting happens for me to write about, I may tell you how mom peeing on the kitchen floor led me to discover the best way to clean it. Seriously!

#spirituality #caregiver #dementia #food

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