Tag Archives: Mothers

Head Games

I’m sitting here at the kitchen counter with my laptop in front of me, Aitch is next to me eating MY pizza, and a glass of wine (I’m drinking the wine). And before you start thinking how fancy we are, the pizza WAS frozen.

Also in front of me is the paperwork I was going to go over with my mom. It’s the pre-registration packet for her neurology appointment next Monday. We, the family, know its Alzheimer’s, but I guess we think there’s a magic answer to our frustrations by taking her and getting that confirmation. Grandma came up yesterday so she could go to Doodicus’s Winter School Concert and then spend the night to avoid making two trips (she drives 20 miles one way to be here each Monday). We are getting more and more concerned about her in the house alone with Aitch. She “forgets” to feed her lunch or if she took a nap.

When she’s not here, she’s often waiting for my brother to show up on the farm and help her with something, except she can’t remember what it is she asked him to stop over for. She received a rather substantial refund from an insurance policy a few months ago, and after my dad followed up on it, he found it hadn’t been deposited. When he asked her about it, she had no idea what he was talking about and then became upset when HE became upset about her forgetting.

If you have personally experienced someone with Alzheimer’s then you know when they get agitated, the symptoms get worse. Well, it hasn’t been JUST the missing check, but a litany of topics that get brought up by my dad who tends to be a bit of an asshole. This past year has NOT been a good one for my mom.

So I finally decided to make an appointment for my mom to see a neurologist. She needs medication to help stabilize her moods while the disease progresses. But I wasn’t sure how to tell her she had the appointment. While a year ago she was wondering what was wrong with her and why she was forgetting more and more things, she is now at the point where she doesn’t realize there is a problem. When I finally steeled my nerves to tell her and go over the paperwork, it didn’t go quite as well as I had planned.

“I made an appointment with Dr. Braindude next Monday.”

“What for?”

“Uh…well… you know how you said you aren’t feeling well lately….”

“I feel just fine.”

“Well, you mentioned that you thought you were forgetting things.”

“That’s called getting old.”

And the topic was effectively dropped because I totally lost my balls. I put the appointment page in her purse and didn’t say another word. I’ll let the rest of the family know how it went and they can bring it up over the week with her. On the upside, she’ll probably forget that it was me who brought it up in the first place.

Mind Over What Matters

My mother’s mental health continues to deteriorate with the momentum of a snowball on a mountainside. In short, if Aitch was still an infant instead of a fairly self-sufficient toddler, I would no longer let her stay alone with them once a week for a few hours. She was here today and as I sent her off, I realized it won’t be too far in the future before we’ll have to strip her of her driving license.

This past week, of the three part-time jobs she has in her hometown where she cleaned offices, she was fired from one. She had forgotten to lock the doors behind her. A small town of less than a 1,000 where people don’t lock their doors on their cars or homes, but when it comes to the town bank? Well, obviously they were justified. The other two businesses keep asking my brother to talk to her about quitting. We are of the opinion that if she isn’t doing the job, then they should also fire her. And that’s what my brother tells them. He’s not going to make her quit. They need to grow some balls. She’s 80 ferchrisakes!

The “new” car she bought a year ago has been scraped up from her poor parking skills. I am only hoping that another vehicle hasn’t been involved, but I’m not optimistic. I can’t ask her because she won’t know. She asked me if I can get out of my car when the engine is running. I’m going to let you contemplate that question for a moment…

I was able to quickly deduce that she’s been trying to open the door to her car when it’s still in drive (or reverse – whatever) and of course, as a fairly modern safety feature in every car, the doors aren’t going to unlock unless she puts it in park. Clearly she’s not even remembering to put the car in park before trying to exit it! She can’t figure out how to work the A/C so my dad, who won’t bother even looking at the car, told her to take it to the shop to have A/C put in it. It’s a Cadillac (albeit an older model). That’s pretty much standard. When I looked at it, the message on the read-out says, “Coolant low – A/C not on”. Right there in front of her nose! She would have taken the car to some garage and they would have fucked her right over, crazy-old-lady needing air-conditioning installed on her 2001 Caddy.

The icing on the crazy-cake is her desire to fold my laundry when she’s here. I try to get as much done over the weekend just so I don’t have the extra work that she actually creates in trying to help me, but this weekend was consumed by a sleepover, zoo trip two hours away, and a single-parenting stint. Right before leaving to run some errands, I told her not to put the clothes that were in the washer into the dryer. It was filled with clothes that can’t be dried on high and that’s the only setting she knows how to work. When I got home, she had forgotten my request and my low-heat-to-dry clothes were a wrinkled pile of fabric and I was pissed. She just shrugged and said I hadn’t told her not to dry them.

Here’s my bedroom floor after she folded some clothes.

The many piles are because she doesn’t remember already starting a pile of one kind of thing, say kitchen linens, so she starts another, and then another. I know it sounds petty and maybe even heartless, but these were not issues only a couple years ago, which was why she was able to watch Aitch once a week when she was just a three month old.

My parents are now both in their 80s. My dad’s health is crap. After fracturing his back this winter (and fracturing his hip the winter before) he had for a short time quit drinking, but now he’s back to saucing it up. He’ll be found impaled on a piece of tractor machinery or hell, quite possibly a pitchfork, one of these days. He’ll go out the way he wants: on the farm. It’ll be easier to put mom in a home if he goes first.

One of my sisters and I were talking about which way we’ll end up when we’re that age. Will it be our health or our minds that go first? It’s a 50/50 shot either way. I’m hoping it’s my health, but with the way I’ve been feeling lately, it’ll be the latter.

Killdeer

I consider it a shame that while we live on an acreage surrounded by nature, my son shows little – if no – interest. I use to walk him around the yard and tell him the names of plants and trees, both wild and planted, because that’s what my mom would do for us. Of course I don’t think that contributed to my adult love of landscaping, but it didn’t hurt.

I make Doodicus play outside when I am out there weeding or trimming. The drama that accompanies that makes me want to bean him with the rake. The other day I let him water the flowers (which translates to spraying everything BUT the flowers with the sprayer attachment on the hose) and he saw a wasp.

“Mom!! There’s a wasp!”

*eyeroll* “Just spray it, Doodicus.”

“IT’S STILL MOVING!!!!!!!!!!”

“Then go step on it! Stop being such a pansy.”

“I HATE being outside!!”

“Suck it up ’cause you’re not going inside.”

Yes, I’m sure you would have handled that differently, but you know it’s been five years since we moved out here and I’m over trying to show him how much more interesting it is to explore the outdoors rather than sit on the couch and watch Spongebob or play video games. He doesn’t care. That doesn’t mean I’ve completely given up though.

I’ve noticed over the past week that each time I drove on the lane, a killdeer would be frightened into flight. I knew what this meant and this weekend I went for a walk down the lane. Sure enough, an adult killdeer started running away just yards in front of me. When I would pause to look at the rocks, it would call out. Then it would fall down, its “broken wings” flashing orange. I could get within only a few feet of it before it would get up and run ahead of me again before falling down “wounded”.

This is how killdeer distract predators from its nest, pretending to be injured. I wanted to show Doodicus so we headed outside for a walk. I pointed out the bird and told him to try to catch it. While skeptical, because what nine year old child isn’t skeptical ALL the time, he walked towards it and sure enough it limped away. The bird led him all the way up the lane before it flew up and away and back to its nest.

I had found the nest earlier, so I brought my son over to the general vicinity of it and told him to find it for himself. I’m sure he thought I was playing a joke on him until I stepped him right up to it and pointed directly at the four, round specked eggs, perfectly camouflaged in the rocks.

As we walked back towards the house he said, “That was COOL!”

I hope I’ll have the chance to show him the babies after they hatch because they are seriously some of the cutest baby animals I’ve ever seen. Cottonballs on toothpicks is the best description I can give them. I’ll let you know in a month. This is the picture I took after I showed my son the nest: