Today is an interesting day, so far. I tried to explain to mom that we are expecting someone to interview for a caregiver. She got so angry. She does not want any part of that. She said, “I would rather climb into a pine box in the back yard.” Then I explained she is being cremated, per her request, and her ashes put with her former husband, who died about 5 years ago. She then said, “Well, he died, you know.” Yeah mom, I know. She wanted to shower last night, but then said she was too tired and “I can’t be bothered.” So I asked her if she would like to shower now. She said said, “I can’t be bothered.” I explained that someone was coming over and she could stay here in her PJs on the couch, or she could shower and get dressed. She ignored me. She then says, “I don’t need anyone here.” I explained I could not leave her alone, and that she was not safe alone. She gave me the eyeballs she saved for when I was in trouble as a kid. So, I handed her my phone and told her to call 9-1-1. Pretend I am injured, or she is injured, and needed help. She said she could if she had to, but didn’t need to, so she was not going to do it. I asked her to call anyone she wanted to talk to. She held the phone and said, “With all these numbers and letters, no one could use this! And what a cute little girl.” I told her who it was (it is a photo of my granddaughter, her great-granddaughter), and she said that with all those numbers and letters, how would I know who it was!?!? First off, I abhor a messy screen.
So that is my actual phone. And my adorable granddaughter. LOL. But mom could not figure out how to “press home to open.” And then she told me I was “free to go do what you needed to do” and I had to explain that she can’t be left alone. She huffed and decided not to talk to me. She was over there, on the couch, just fuming. Her cheeks were red, she was so angry. Secondly, I told her she needed help to do some things she always used to do. “Like what?” “Well, can you make yourself lunch?” She just looked at the kitchen, shrugged her shoulders, and sighed. I left the room.
So in my frustration, I contacted our Care Coordinator. (And to Liz: I cannot in any way, fully express to you what an important part of my life you are. You help far more than you will ever realize and I am so very thankful for your patience and help. You are incredible at what you do. We are blessed beyond belief). She basically instructed me to let it go; to ignore my mom. As she explained to me, my mom is past the time where I can have constructive conversations with her. She cannot make sense of this world anymore. She cannot reason. She is basically three years old…about the age of my granddaughter above. (She is only 2, but close enough). And that I need to ignore her. If she will not cooperate and get bathed and dress, so be it. Treat the interview as coffee with a friend. Don’t talk business around mom. Just let it be light and entertaining. Leave her out of the conversation. Sigh.
And so this new normal – it is not my problem – it is Alzheimer’s. And it is not going back to whatever it was before this moment. I cannot expect my mom, or the conversations we once had, to continue. This moment is all we have, and we cannot compare it to any other moments we may have had. Right now, mom has no clue someone is coming over in less than an hour and that it will impact our lives from here on out. This person we are interviewing as a caregiver, she has the potential to become a part of our family. She has the potential to be the main person in my mom’s life, her caregiver, and I can return to being just her daughter.
Today, when I asked her the last time she showered or put on clean depends was, she got so angry and said, “You know, you get awfully personal sometimes.” I had to explain that caregiving is personal. It is taking care of all the needs of a person. All their needs. Bathing, toileting, laundry, feeding, cleaning their personal space. Those are all very personal tasks. And that is why we interview caregivers. We don’t blindly hire just anyone to come into our home.
So, as we continue this journey, we start making changes. I need the help. I need to get away from my mom for at least part of the day. And at my age, I also need to care for me. She is beyond the point of understanding that, and I have to move forward for the both of us. So today, I am ignoring her and moving forward. I am making decisions and choices for both of us. And as I have moved forward, mom is snoozing on the couch, in her PJs. Her clothes are laid out for her; her toothpaste is waiting on her. And she is sleeping. Our new normal at 12:15 in the afternoon. Sigh.
God is not through with me, yet. Because the phone rang. The gal I am interviewing as a caregiver, well, she called. “I totally forgot our interview today. And I am, like, real far, like real far away. Can we do this tomorrow?” My first inclination after the day I have had so far is, “Not only no, but hell no.” All I did was say, “If and when you come to care for my mom, I certainly hope I can rely on you.” Her reply was, “Well, after our ‘meet and greet’ I will always be there.” I am so unimpressed. Good Lord, Alzheimer’s is hard! And mom is still asleep. I am done today. LOL. Think I will call the agency, again. I am having ANOTHER bad day. LOL. They are strung together like cute lights…