Monday, May 25, 2009


Rob R. has missed his calling. He should do something in geriatrics. He is so good with my mother who has dementia, at 89.

We had a glorious three day weekend at the lake --best memorial day weather in years. We had stopped going that early because it was too cold to put the pier in. We have a super, fancy- looking metal pier --that is harder than heck to put together --and so it takes some time. Some of the family men have waders to wear, but some do not --and in any case, it has always been chilly --so we had started going in June --only to find that those weekends weren't much better.

So this one was warm and sunny --just lovely--with the Irises and Lillies of the Valley in bloom --and other beautiful flowers around the island.

My Mom didn't do well with the sleeping accommodations. We have a dormer room upstairs with several twin beds --and give that to the family with kids. We thought of putting her up there but feared she might be disoriented in the night and fall down the stairs. The other married child gets the queen bed and a private room--which was fair since she did most all the cooking and food planning/purchasing, etc. (We reimburse, but she plans and buys, and everything is immaculate and so nicely done, and our son, her husband, helps to buy, load and unload, fetch and carry, etc. She cooked roast beef in her slow cooker in that bedroom, I learned, as the kitchen is very small. Had no idea til it started to smell delicious.)

Grandma R., my husband's mother, is 87, has all her mental faculties still, but is physically limited and has to be near a bathroom and can't do steps. So all we can offer her is the couch in the living room --which she always says is good enough. Grandma M., my mother, walks better, and isn't so bathroom dependent, can do the two shallow steps to the porch and back, but she wants to be hotter than Hades all the time, bundled up like an Eskimo. OK , I exaggerate a little -but not much.

Well, my mom was an absolute "princess" --she was NOT sleeping on the fouton double bed on the porch.

"It's COLD on the porch! I never slept on this thing before --I refused to sleep here before, and I'm NOT sleeping here now! And this couch has been used for so many other things--and it's hard --and lumpy"...and on and on. It is actually quite comfortable --as porta beds go.

It was the warmest room in the house as we were air-conditioning the rest of it. Chrissy was going to be out there with her in a fouton chair/single bed. It was warm to the point of being hot and stuffy --but Mother was sure it would be cold --and she got very indignant.

"Well, Mom, I don't have anywhere else to put you!" "

"Well, what about such and such room?" she said.

"Mom, besides the fact that your grandson and wife already have that room, that bed is too high for you --you can't get up into it." (Even though I got a low profile box springs, thinking she might use that room someday, she couldn't get her short-legged self in it in the past. She usually stays in a deluxe first floor room, near a bathroom, at her sister's house --but her sister hasn't arrived at the lake yet.)

"Mom, this is the best I can offer you."

"Well, it's too cold. I can't sleep there."

"It's NOT cold, Mother. It's about 78 degrees in there right now. Do you want to sleep in a chair, because I don't have another bed to offer!"

She was really mad at me about this. Mom's main requirements of life are food she likes (which includes lots of coffee --fortunately she doesn't know the difference between decaf and regular,) a bed she likes and can call "hers" even for a short time, and warmth. She has a germ phobia and washes hands often --always has. And the daily newspaper--which I just subscribed to for her. She's like a child in loving sweets. She's fairly petite, however --in part because we don't think she was eating at all well on her own, before she came to live with us. She would cook her daily egg for breakfast, but we think she lost ability to open cans or use her microwave. Yet, she had a little fit the other day when I gave her a cold bologna sandwich for lunch.

"This is COLD. I can't eat that."

"It's supposed to be cold, Mom. It's a luncheon meat, cold meat sandwich." I finally warmed it for her in the microwave with melted cheese. That was better. She used to feed ME boloney as a kid.

Her daily chores are keeping track of her purse, her glasses, her belongings, and luggage.

So anyway, we tucked her into this perfectly comfortable, good quality fouton bed, with 3 layers of blankets, her nightgown, her robe, and her fleece sweater/jacket --and she admitted she was not cold. But the first night, she whispered to herself all night long and my daughter said she could not sleep for Grandma's indignant whispering.

That brings me back to Rob, whom she adores for staying with her (as he was going to college in her city) during the years when the memory banks were starting to shut down.

We got home here and she asked Rob who had made her bed. I told her it was made up Friday with fresh sheets, and is always made up, and she had slept in it the night before we left for the lake. And then, it occured to me to tease her that I thought Rob might have put his friend Clint in it Sat. night. Clint is a friend through church who came up to help put the pier in but wanted to go home Saturday night. So Rob drove him home and returned the next day.

And she said, "He DID???!!! Put somebody in my bed??"

He said, "Yes --and several hoboes, too --not together of course --but one after the other. They came to the door and said, 'Hey, Gov'nor, can you spare me a dime?' and I said, 'Sure, and would you like to sleep in my Grandma's bed?' and of course they were delighted to do so."

Now, confused as she is, Mom always knows that Rob is kidding her --and she gets this big kick out of it! Thinks he's so funny. And while it loses something in my retelling, he IS funny! And she always knows --that when he tries to charge her 10 dollars for a cup of coffee, he is just being silly. As confused as she is, I don't know how she knows that he's not serious. Though she did wonder if he really put Clint into her bed.

This morning as I was helping her get dressed, she told me when I mentioned my husband, 'I didn't know you were married to him. He just told me this morning. I guess I had forgotten that."

"Well, Mom, did you think we were living in sin? or what? He's the father and I'm the mother of those 4 grown-ups out there --did you think we weren't married? Who did you think he was, coming home to my house every night and being there in the morning when you got up?"

Well, she didn't know --just "didn't remember" that he was my husband --that we had married. "That was too long ago."

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

1 comment:

kateb said...

That is a nice family has dealt with different age issues, Alzheimers being by far the worst.

It's nice that Rob has that special relationship with his Gr'ma and that your family was together for the holiday!

God bless and keep you all.