Mom had a series of pretty good days. She did well with her doctor’s appointments on Tuesday and it was a relief to talk with her and the doctor about Adult Day (Care) Programs. Wednesday, she really seemed to be doing pretty good too. She laughed some. It was a little confusing for her because it was cleaning day, but the weather was bad and so the cleaning ladies postponed until Thursday.
Wed night, Mom thought the next day was Friday and was anxious to get her hair permed. Thursday she was “with it” and was a little put out that the cleaning ladies were late and also wasn’t happy that I was at the church all day. But she was okay.
Friday was hair day and Mom was up and dressed and had her hearing aid in at 6:30 AM! She was so looking forward to her perm. I’ve learned now to write notes and leave them on the kitchen counter to let her know where I am, and what time she needs to be ready if we go somewhere.
Mom got her perm on Friday morning and when I went to pick her up she was angry and upset. She was cold. She said she had never been so cold in her life. She told Pam she wasn’t coming back for a perm until summer. Pam told me the perm solution was cold and she thought it kind of chilled Mom to the bone. Mom was not happy and even though we told her how nice her hair looked- it didn’t make much difference. She was with it and she was angry.
At dinner, she lost a crown on one of her teeth. And when I called, I found out the dentist would be closed on Saturday.
That night when I went to give her pills to her, she was sitting in her chair with her hands over her face. It was such a picture of hopelessness…
I asked her what was wrong. She looked at me and said,
“I’m depressed. I’m very depressed. I hate this.”
“What are depressed about Mom?”
“What do you mean, what am I depressed about?? I’ve had bad hearing all my life, I have lichen planus in my mouth, things don’t taste right, sweet things taste salty. My mouth is always a mess. And now- and now I have this awful Alzheimer’s! I’ve tried to be a good person. I say my rosary and pray and I can’t help but end my prayers with WHY?”
“I know Mom it isn’t fair.”
“I’m stuck living here. No no! Don’t get me wrong! I’m grateful to be here, but I didn’t want to end up here. This place is lovely. But it’s not mine. I can’t have my own money anymore. I can’t drive. I can’t talk on the telephone. I can’t go to the mall and visit with people. I can’t go to my own hairdresser. I can’t I can’t I can’t!
There was a silence.
“Mom, try counting your blessings…”
“You don’t think I count my blessings every day?!” She was yelling.
“Mom, I’ll talk with you, but if the yelling starts and an argument starts, I’m going to bed.”
“I’m sorry! I don’t want to argue. I know I have blessings. But sometimes I wonder if there is any reason why I shouldn’t just give up.”
“Because you don’t give up. Because God is with you even when you feel alone. Mom, let’s see about you going to one of the Adult Day Programs Dr. P talked about. At least you would get out of the house once a week or so and you could be around other people going through the same thing you are going through.”
“I think I need to do that.”
“I do too. I love you Mom.”
“I love you too. And I don’t mean to be ungrateful. I am amazed at every thing you do for your father and I. I know its not easy.”
“no- sometimes its not.”
“you need to go to bed. Thank you for talking to me.”
She was having a “Good Day.” She knew what was going on. And it made her so sad. Good days are not always good. Good days are knowing how bad things really are. She was for a few minutes, my Mom. And she knew- she knew how much she had lost and was losing. And I don’t think Good Days are always good. Sometimes they are painful. Sometimes they are bad.