Haven’t written a blog entry in over a month. Around that time, our family made a difficult decision and our mom went to a nursing home. As nursing homes go it is clean, well staffed and run, beautiful grounds and in a fine location for visitors. And Mom wanted to live in one place, rather than moving (sometimes daily) from our various houses (mine and my brothers). With dementia, routine is key. Plus, she said she wanted to make a friend…even if it was a man.
Ultimately, it is still a nursing home. And after all these years, I think the decision kicked me down a hole and I’m only now crawling out.
I believe though, Mom seems to be settling in. This is not to say she likes living there. She’s complained about everyplace she’s lived since after her last aneurysm, 15 years ago. Most of me tries to understand how she must feel, but for all of us who have been taking care of her (and Dad) for a long time, it can often be overwhelming and thankless.
Ahhh, but back to…she seems to be settling in. Like last week we were out for coffee and some errands. After a couple hours she said, “Take me back home. I want to lie down.” I was surprised by her use of the word “home”.
And the other day we sat and had lunch with a few of the other ladies, Stephania and Mom’s roommate, Rose. Mom has been eating quite well there (another indication she is settling in) and was finishing up her coffee. Then, as neatly as possible she scraped her leftovers onto one plate, stacked the plates and would have attempted to walk them all to the tray table if I hadn’t suggested it was “probably not a good idea”.
She then used her napkin to carefully wipe the remaining crumbs from the table cloth into her hand and onto the top plate. We all sat quietly and watched until Rose said, “Isn’t she a good girl, cleaning up like that?” And I agreed…until realizing the napkin she was using to wipe all over the tablecloth was the same napkin she’d used earlier to blow her nose several times. So much for cleanliness.
I helped her up from her chair, adjusted her walker and cleared us a little path. A woman at the next table said, “Ohh, isn’t that lovely. It looks like a daughter helping her mother. You are so lucky.” And she patted Mom’s hand.
My mother stopped, looked at the woman, then back at me. She said, “Yeah, and you should have seen what a pain in the ass she was when she was little.”