• Lisa

the duck paddles on

Mom woke up amazingly chipper and bright, and ragging on me for being in bed at 6:30 in the evening. Unfortunately, it was 6:30 in the morning.

It has taken me all day to get her around to recognizing the actual time. If not for having to try to get her to take her medicine when she needs to, I wouldn’t even bother; but I had no choice. So now she is pouting and calling me names I would rather not quote.

When I need to try to reorient her, I throw every tool at my disposal at it. The morning paper, cell phones, the Today show. Sometimes she pauses and concedes I may be right. More likely, I’m wrong, crazy or evil. This morning she called her sister over and over for an hour or so to try to get a second opinion, since she didn’t believe anything I said or showed to her. When nobody answered, she ended up calling her best friend she hasn’t talked to in several months. Thankfully, I’ve warned all her friends what’s going on with her, so the conversation didn’t get too nuts (as far as I could tell from listening—mom turns the volume on her phone up loud enough that I can usually make out both sides) Of course, mom didn’t believe her either when she told her it was morning.

It’s weird, the past couple of months, she frequently starts out the morning relatively oriented (notice I say ‘relatively’) At least, she knows who I am more often, and occasionally will say how much she appreciates what I do for her, and she doesn’t know what she would do without me. I agree, LOL. Although now that doesn’t always mean she does acknowledge who I am! I’m A Lisa but not often HER Lisa. I don’t really care about that anymore, and I’ve quit trying to correct that. It just agitates her more. Validation therapy beats reality reorientation most any day.

She gets progressively more confused, agitated and sometimes aggressive as the day goes on. Um, I thought sundowning was called that because it happened in the evening, not right after lunch, which is when she seems to start declining. The duck is still swimming, though. Mom slaps, kicks, hits and scratches. I dodge and deflect, bob and weave in a manner that would do the late great Muhammad Ali proud, and try not to take any of it personally.

Jesus is still the best shopper, by the way. Last week I was cleaning out some boxes in the garage (shopping for a secret pal swap, of which more in a minute) and found several small plaques. I put one in the swap pile and went to toss the others in the Goodwill bag. One fell on the floor. I picked it up and tossed again. The dang thing stuck to my garden glove (always wear gloves when rooting around in the garage—brown recluses, dontchaknow)!

I turned it over and started laughing. It said ‘Walk in the sunshine of God’s love’ and had a picture of—a line of three ducklings waddling! I thanked Jesus for the present and said it looked like He had all His ducks in a row. I do hope I make Him laugh sometimes. I mean, think about it. Imagine you are God and you made all this and these people, and you don’t get a whole lot of real thanks, relatively speaking. Honestly, I feel a little sorry for Him sometimes, and have for a long time.

Mom had a really bad night last Friday, crying and yelling about her car being stolen and that she wanted me to take her home. Never mind she didn’t know what the car looked like or where home was. When the ruckus died down I finally went upstairs to clean up for bed, and that’s when I discovered my necklace was missing. You know, the guardian angel one Jesus gave me? It had fallen off the chain somehow in all the to and fro. I was sad but I tried to tell myself He was trying to tell me not to get too reliant on a physical object to remind me how I should live.

I have this really cool silver cross I found in an old jewelry box a while back. It’s Greek or Russian Orthodox, I think; it looks like it has Greek lettering on the back, and appears handmade. Just because I’m used to wearing something, I put it on my chain. On Tuesday morning mom felt well enough to eat both breakfast and lunch at the table in our family room rather than on a folding table by her bed. As she was finishing, I got up from my chair and went to help her stand up, to go back to her bathroom and brush her teeth and such. As I stood next to her, I glanced down at the floor under the chair I had just vacated…and what do you think was lying there? If you said the guardian angel—ding ding ding! You win!

Maybe Jesus was just trying to make a point? I don’t know. I do know I swept under the table over the weekend, and I’m pretty sure I would have seen it. Or maybe not. Either way, I’m glad to have it back.

Well, I was going to talk about the secret pal swap (which forbids buying anything, encourages the gifting of taxidermy, and more or less requires the inclusion of a 3-pack of something with only 2 items in it) but this is running pretty long! I’ll tell you about that next time, along with the other secret pal swap I do every fall. I also plan to blog some positive things about mom; she does sometimes smile, and laugh, and say funny things, accidentally or even occasionally on purpose. So, next time, more fun.

#caregiver #dementia

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