Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sometimes Good Days are Really Bad Days in Disguise

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.”

“okay Mom.”

“Good night.”

“Good night.”

Hug. Kiss.

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.




Anonymous said...

I'm *so* sorry...

All through this journey with my Mom, whenever she was "self-aware" of just how much she has lost it always caused her great sadness and frustration.

When my Mom would ask "Why?" I would tell her that God is always with us - that he loves us, and just like our earthly Fathers, he cries when we cry, and he hurts when we hurt.

Our Father God NEVER looks down and "smites" his children with sickness, disease, or sadness. What loving Father would do that?

He is always there with us, always loving us, always sharing our ups *and* our downs.

(Sorry - guess I was preaching to the Choir there! ;)

(((hugs))) Thim :)

Daughter said...

Keep preaching Thim. Pastors need to hear the Word too. Thanks!

Mary said...

This so hard, isn't it?

Maybe you could find something that your Mom could help with in the household, so that she feels she is contributing, not just being a burden. It may take some work finding that activity, and may cause some frustration along the way, but it will be worth it in the end. Tell her you are feeling overwhelmed and would really appreciate it if she could help you by folding the laundry, or reorganizing the pantry, cleaning out a closet, emptying the dishwasher, etc. Other ideas: putting together photo albums, cleaning windows, cutting coupons, gardening, etc. If you have a table you could devote to a jigsaw puzzle (with larger pieces) start one and ask for her help. Her “help” may even cause you more work (you may have to secretly refold the laundry after she does), but it may help for her to feel useful and that she is a contributing member of the household.

I am keeping you all in my prayers.