• Lisa

what color is Friday?

Place K was as nice as I remember it being; very clean and neat, with pleasant staff who interact well with the residents. The lobby’s been fixed up since I left, and other areas are slated for upgrade soon, according to the lady who showed me around, but it’s not run down by any stretch. The lobby was just really—businessey, I guess you would say, with flat chairs and glass wall through which you could see administrative and secretarial offices. Now it looks much more homey, with softer seating and a faux brick wall with a faux fireplace.

I was happily surprised too to see several people I remembered from when I worked there—secretaries, a lunchroom manager, the head of maintenance—you know, the really important folks in any business. And the wonderful nurse practitioner I worked with when I was there is still there, which makes me happy.

The person who showed me around says they have 3 rooms open right now, or did as of that time, and if I chose to move mom in there, they could have the whole process complete within a week to 10 days. Wow. I expected a month or so at least.

I’m not ready to pull the trigger just yet, though. I’m still trying to get a handle on the whole payment thing. Yesterday I exchanged some emails with a lady who describes her job as a sort of realtor for senior communities, and she said in her experience, the average length of stay in a memory care unit is about 18 months, before a person either needs to apply for financial assistance, or needs more care and ends up going into a nursing home setting, which is also called intermediate care.

While I’d rather not have to sell everything and move into a cardboard box under a bridge to get mom taken care of, at this point I’d do it if I had to. However, I’m sure there has to be an alternative to that. So, next week I’m going to try to get together with the lawyer nearby to help me work through things.

Mom continues to decline mentally. As I write, she is ending about 6 hours of non-stop arguing about her 9 PM pills. I can’t even recount how the conversation goes, it’s so nonsensical my brain just can’t retain it; which is terrible for a writer to say, isn’t it? LOL. The other day, though, she was mixing up her pills and her cell phone and the remote to her heating pad again, and asked several times, “what color is Friday?”. See, she knows the remote has different color lights for the different heat settings, but she was getting it confused with when she takes her pills. As for the cell phone, I walked in and she had the heating pad control up to her ear like she was trying to make a call, although she denied it when I asked.

Oops! I thought the pill rant was over, but not so much. She’s been wanting to go home and I don’t even argue with her anymore; I just say ‘yes, I will make sure you are home tomorrow’. Which isn’t even a lie, since she will indeed be home tomorrow. So she was just looking up her address, on her checkbook (see, she’s got dementia, she’s not stupid) so I would know where to take her; and now she’s got the house number mixed up with her pills! Now instead of adding the 9 am and 9 pm and asking me if she takes 18 of them a day, she’s asking if she takes (our house number). Okay, excuse me while I try to calm her down. She’s worried something will happen and she will have to stay and work tomorrow instead of going home.

Well, she is lying down, but whether she stays that way, who knows? Right now, I’m having to explain again what taking a pill means: swallowing it, not carrying it with you someplace.

I have to get my next article for work written this weekend, but it’s impossible to do that while mom is pointing to pill bottles and asking questions that cannot be answered because they make no sense. It’s embarrassingly difficult to keep my composure sometimes, repeat the answers I can come up with, and not yell ‘PLEASE JUST BE QUIET’. Makes me wonder, if and when she moves into a facility, how in the world a nurse is going to manage this.

Lately, I find myself wondering things like that more and more: how mom will adjust, how a trained staff will wrangle her in ways I never was taught, and what I will do. The other day I found a little day planner, and on a whim I looked up upcoming events in our area. It amazed me, how I have totally blocked out all awareness of things like concerts, plays, lectures and festivals. When a trip to Wal-Mart is only slightly more possible for you than a trip to the moon, what’s the point in pining away over the July 4th hot chicken festival, after all?

I started writing down things happening in the next few months that I would like to do, and put the dates in the planner. Remember I mentioned last time I had an un-bucket list? This is it. The Eagles in concert? Too expensive, but might as well put it on the list. The Atlanta fountain pen show? May be too late to get a room at the hotel, but why not try. Mick Foley, legendary pro wrestler, telling stories about his life at the local comedy club? Absolutely, if it isn’t sold out.

Maybe it won’t happen. Maybe I can’t get mom placed any time soon. But I have to have something to dream about.

#hope #journal #selfcare #caregiver #dementia

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