“Like The Green Drifting Down On The Snow”

April 25
My capacity to actually give a shit is being sorely tested. I’m sitting in a hospital room, hanging with my 88 year old mother here for the third night in a row. Her: severe dementia, post-op from having three screws put in a broken hip earlier today, restless, and wacko. Me: just wacko.

A few musings from whatever planet my Mom is on.

How many people live in this place?

I thought this was their apartment.

I thought he was going to bring me something else.

Neil, the night nurse,  asked Mom if she had a busy day. “Oh my, I guess so. John and I went to his house for lunch!”

Let them in! They can’t get in the door!

Whats that noise?!   Me- its just some people in the hallway.  Mom- Well how many families live here?

Where am I going to sleep? Me- right where you are. Mom- I AM!! WHAT?! People coming in to go to the bathroom are going to wake me up!

Do you care if I shut the door? (She can’t walk just yet)

(All of the above took place in about ten minutes – the next ten minutes were just a slight variation)

Its eleven forty PM. I was asleep for about five minutes earlier, but I heard her thrashing around. I am sleeping on an industrial strength couch  about four feet from her bed.
ME -“What are you doing?”  Her- “I’m trying to get up! I need to go to the bathroom.” Me- “You have a catheter, hold still.” Her-incredusously- “I do? When did they do that?”
Really, a legitimate question, but not so much after the 300th time over three days. Like most of her questions/complaints. It is exhausting explaining something to a person when you know that by the time you have taken your first breath after doing so that they will have forgotten your answer, but not the question. Which may or may not be asked again. And maybe again.
This isn’t the movie ‘Groundhog Day’, its ‘Groundhog Minute.’

I have a lot of patience, and I dearly love my Mom. Its a good thing I have both traits, because just one or the other wouldn’t cut it.

1 AM. Jesus christ is she ever going to sleep? She won’t stop moving, she fidgets with every goddam thing, and she randomly pushes buttons on the universal controller that operates the TV and also calls the nurse. I need a stiff drink.

Tuesday April 26
What’s more difficult to deal with than a person with dementia coming in and out of consciousness asking questions? A fully concho person with full blown dementia and hallucinations asking questions and making demands. Mom is in the hospital. She thinks she is at my house. I pointed out to her the hospital bed, the medical stuff attached to her, the room, (duh), and she got pissed and said ‘I can see where I am! I’m at your house!’ OK. Later, she asked, ‘What kind of house is this? Not like any I’ve ever seen.’
Later – ‘Does the baby like the horse?’ We do have horses, but haven’t had a baby in 17 years.
I ordered her dinner from the cafeteria. She insisted that she would pay, and wanted her purse. I told her the purse was back at her apartment. ‘I have a house!’ was her reply. So I figured out it was easier to just go with her, except I never know where she is headed.
Its kind of interesting to watch. She is looking at the same thing I am and seeing something completely different. I can’t convince her otherwise. She has been experiencing a more and more profound level of dementia over the last few years, but now she has entered full blown crazy – I mean she blew the doors off as she entered.
My sister calls, and Mom tells her we went to my house, then stopped by her house, and then had company. A friend did stop by the room, so part of it was correct.
She keeps trying to get out of bed. She told me I need to take her to the doctor to see why her hip was hurting.
A nurse gets something out of the cabinet in the hall right outside the room door. Mom tells my sister that the new neighbors are making a bunch of racket. “They just moved in this week’, she said. Then,
‘These people have moved in to the hall and I’ve never heard so much noise in my life!’
Wow. She is messing with her covers, so I ask her if she needs help. She wants me to roll the top cover halfway off the sheet lengthwise – “Like the green drifting down on the snow’ is how she described it. Its a blue blanket, but whatever. I just wish she would relax and go to sleep – I wonder if being agitated is a part of dementia. If so, its unnecessarily cruel. Nothing in her world can possibly make sense, but she is on hyper-alert all the time. She needs less stimuli, not more.
Ok, now she is taking a small container of applesauce and trying to screw it onto the top of a water bottle. When I tell her its not a lid, that its just applesauce, she tells me to put it in the fridge and she will quit worrying about it. I put it on the sink counter that is to the left and behind her. I think about opening and closing the cabinet door to mimic a fridge door, but just set it next to the sink. She seems pleased momentarily, but it doesn’t last. Her face scrunches back up like she is trying really hard to decipher something – its a semi-permanent look she has.

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2 thoughts on ““Like The Green Drifting Down On The Snow”

  1. You have started a William Burroghs novel here. Good luck my friend. None of us look forward to these days in our future. Soon we will get together and play very loudly in Paul’s basement.

  2. In a long enough timeline the survival rate is zero so just do what you can and don’t do what you can’t because your dear mother is still in the easy phase of this long strange trip called life.Give my regards to your incredible mom.She was ahead of her time when I knew her.

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