Tuesday, March 29, 2011

After Daycare today

After day care, Mom came home and said:

I talked to Denise this morning. But I don’t remember why.

Did you talk to her about staying at the nursing home?

Yes. That was it.

(Turning to Dad)

Would you mind if I lived at the nursing home?

No. I think you might like it.

I do too. I like being around other people.

I will miss you.

I can probably make some good friends. I’ll miss the day care people though.

I will miss you.

(To me)

Daughter, Denise told me to tell you to call her. She will help do this.

And she walked away.


Dad looked a little stunned. But then he gave me two thumbs up.

More Surprises…Good Ones!

I took Mom to daycare this morning- not her usual day, but thought she might like to go after yesterday. On the way, we had this conversation:

How were the social workers yesterday?

Well they were nice. They think your Dad and I should move to assisted living. I told them we looked into it but we can’t afford it.


They said there are two assisted living places that take Medicaid.

I don’t think Dad wants to move to assisted living.

I don’t know. I haven’t asked him.

I think he’s content to live with us. But I wonder if you need to be around more people.

I do. I really do. What do you think of assisted living?

For you, by yourself?

Yes. I  think I would like it.

The only thing that bothers me is you being alone in your own place at night. Without your hearing aids, you can’t hear anything. And that bothers me.

Yes- I don’t think I’d like that.

Well Mom, there is another alternative. You could live at the nursing home.

I could? Would I still get to go to the daycare?

Well, no., you couldn’t go to the day care, but you could be involved in the activities of the nursing home. They do things too. And other people could help you and you could help other people.

I would like that. Nelda was there before she died.

I know. And there would be people your age there. You might even find people you know.

I wish I knew if I’d like it.

Well, there is what they call “respite.” You could try it for a month and see what you think. And we could se what we think.

Where would I do this?

At the nursing home where the daycare is.

Would I still get to go to the daycare?

No- but they have activities. And it’s much nicer than the old nursing home where Noni and Grandpa were.

I don’t remember your grandmother being in a nursing home.

Well, I’m pretty sure she was for awhile.

And I know your grandfather wasn’t. I would remember that!


Do you think we should do this?

Let me check into it. Why don’t you talk to Denise (the head of the daycare) when you have time today and see what she thinks?

I will!

We arrived at the center and I went in with her to sign her in. As we were going in, Mom spotted one of her friends sitting waiting. Mom whispered to me:

That’s my friend. I’ll introduce you. I help take care of her here.

Mom introduced us and the lady stood up and gave me a hug and whispered in my ear:

I want you to know, I take care of your mom while she’s here. She always wants to sit with me and we go to the ladies room together.

I smiled as I left.






To clear up any confusion…Mom is at home with us. Mom was having one of her good days yesterday. Last night Mom asked me if I am all right.

Are you all right?

I will be….

Did I do something to upset you?

No Mom. It wasn’t you. It was the doctor.

I love you.

I love you too.

Do you need to talk? I’ll listen.

Not now Mom. But we should probably talk soon. I’ll let you know when I’m ready.

Okay- Good!


Are you all right?

I will be.

Are you mad at me?

No Mom, I’m not. I love you.

That doctor was nice.


Did the doctor upset you?


She was nice. But I really didn’t understand anything she was talking about. Except now I can take my “puffer” the way I want!

Yes. Yes you can.




Monday, March 28, 2011

Sucker Punch…

Took Mom to Day Care this morning and Dad to the doctor for a recheck after being in the hospital. Dad looks good- but when he was in the hospital and they did a CT of his abdomen, they saw gall stones. So now they want to have it checked further and have another test done and see a surgeon. He is not having any symptoms- so we were told they probably won’t suggest surgery until he has symptoms. More appointments. Yay.


Brought Dad home and then an hour and a half later, picked Mom up from daycare to take her to the doctor.


Her doctor was unavailable, so we saw a resident. The resident has a “real” doctor who follows up. The resident checked Mom out and changed the way she is receiving her asthma meds. He knew I wanted to talk to someone about nursing home placement.

So Mom went back out in the waiting room with my son and I went back in to speak with him about my concerns and how I need to stop being Mom’s caregiver. He had  me bring Mom back in.


He gave Mom an MME (Mini Mental Exam) I told him ahead of time that she will ace it. She did. She only missed three things.

Then he went and got the “real” doctor. She is a geriatric doctor. She came in- saw Mom’s test results and said:

Dr.-“You do not have Alzheimer’s.”

Mom- “I don’t?”

Me- “Don’t tell my Mom that.”

Dr.- “It’s true. There is nothing wrong with your Mom. She is fine.”

Mom- “I thought I was fine.”

Dr- That test you just took? That shows you are fine.

Mom- I just took that the other day at the… the…. the….place I go to. You know.. At the nursing home. The care place for grownups.

Dr.- The Adult Day Care?

Mom- Yes! They are very nice there.

Dr.- My mother goes there too.

Mom- Who is your mother?

Dr.- Lois.  She has Alzheimer’s. You don’t.

(Thinking I am at any moment going to hear:“You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the sign post up ahead, your next stop...The Twilight Zone!" )

Me-“What are you doing?? I’m here to get help. What are you doing? She was diagnosed by Dr. A. He’s a neuro-psychologist.

Dr.- He was wrong. My mother has Alzheimer’s and your mother is fine.

Me- Then you take her home for 24-48 hours.

Mom_ I told Dr. A I hope someday someone tells him he has Alzheimer’s so he’ll know how I feel!

Dr- I don’t see any reason why your mom can’t live in assisted living. She really doesn’t need any help.

Me- What? You’ve got to be kidding me.

Dr.- No- she and your dad would be fine.

Me- It would kill my dad.

Dr- You mom could probably live by herself then and be fine. Let’s get a social worker in here to help her find assisted living.

Me- I am not listening to this any longer!!!!

I got up and walked out. I left my mom. I was furious. Furious.

To make a long story shorter-

I called dad- he was distraught.

My son called my DH and he left work.

I went back into the clinic, but refused to go in to see the doctor. The social worker came out with my mom and told me I needed to make Mom another appointment with mom’s regular doctor and that she gave mom info on assisted living.

I looked at her and when she tried to hand me the papers I shook my head and said:

“No- I can’t do this anymore. I will not do this anymore. You have no idea what is happening here.”

She asked me to go talk with her. I did.

My poor Mom was so confused. She asked my son if I was mad at her. He said, “No- grandma, Mom is upset by something the doctor said.”

Mom said, “I don’t know what the doctor said to her, but she was very nice.”

The social worker is going to try to get respite care for Mom at the nursing home. She may be able to be gone a month.

My DH and I talked to the director at the day care and she is going to talk to the nursing home management and the social worker. She is concerned the other “doctor” may have written a new “diagnosis” for my mom.

Does a 5 minute visit with a patient  by a geriatric doctor trump a three hour evaluation done twice by a neuro-psychologist?

Can’t get another appointment with my Mom’s real doctor until May 18th! I may have to switch her doctor…


If you see Rod Serling- would you please tell him to stay away from me. I can’t take much more of this!



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Note written to a friend of my Mom’s

People who love my Mom and see her infrequently do not see the changes. They are not here 24/7 to see what it is like- what she is like. A friend of my mother’s wrote this to me in December:

Thanks for your email. I am glad to hear from you. “Your Mom” and I had a wonderful time.!! She was completely normal, heard almost everything I said,and we had fun !!  The food was great,too. Your Dad seemed fine when I visited with him...... ??  That place sounds great, but I don't think they are ready...they like being with you sooo much.. they both brag about you, and are delighted with their living arrangements, and think it's perfect. It reminds me of the Amish, who never stuff their parents in a nursing home. They build a "Dawdi House", connected to their house. The youngest son gets the main house and the parents live in the "Dawdi House". I am so proud of you for doing what you are doing..I know it must  be very difficult and energy consuming...But, it is the right thing to do,it is what Jesus would are brave, i am proud, they are not ready to move away.I am sorry that this is not the answer you wanted or expected...Keep up the good work ! I know it  is hard, but they are worth it !!Jesus loves you and so do I....

Recently- she wrote to me on Facebook and said:

How is your Mom? She never emails me,, has she forgotten me? She just sends me forwards.. not the same as email.. How are you holding up???? You have a BIG JOB !! Jesus knows what you can handle... yeah..keep up the good work !!

I love this woman- she has been a good friend of Mom and Dad’s for a long time. But it is frustrating to get these kinds of messages. (If you read this sweetie- please know I love you and have left your name out of this.)

This is what I wrote back to her…


Mom has Alzheimer's. She can and does "hold it together" for awhile when she is with others. She loves the  adult day care she goes to 3 days a week. She can socialize. She can shine. She is high functioning in her ALZ. But- she has Alzheimer's.

She is not a nice person any more. Not to me- a lot of times not to Dad. It is not Mom- it is the Alzheimer's.  We are the enemy.  And I am the General of the enemy army. She hates me.

Mom does not hate me. Mom loves me. But ALZ-Mom hates me.  She spews venom at me. She can say the words "thank -you" as if they were dripping with poison. And each barb hits home and hurts a bit more. The poison in those barbs is slowly killing me.

ALZ-Mom does not believe that she can lose something. She believes people are hiding things from her. On purpose. To hurt her. ALZ-Mom makes excuses. She hasn't fallen because of lack of balance- she has fallen because she has moved to this house. ALZ-Mom thinks when she says she will do something she will do it. But ALZ-Mom doesn't remember whether or not she has done something, and cannot be relied on.

ALZ-Mom is crafty and angry. And paranoid. ALZ-Mom doesn't believe she can make a mistake. ALZ-Mom thinks (her daughter) shouldn't tell her how to take her medicine and doesn't believe her when she tells her ANYTHING about the meds she takes.

ALZ-Mom uses every chance she has to complain to her daughter about anything and everything.

My mom- my real mom- gave me a hug the other day. It was a real hug- full of love. It was wonderful. But ALZ-Mom took over again. Her hugs are not giving--they are demanding. Her hugs are not to comfort or to show love. They are to demand something from someone else.

What's wrong with me? I do not sleep well and am tired all the time.  I'm exhausted. Mentally and physically.

I do not like my ALZ-Mom. She is too much for me. I hate the arguing. I hate the bickering. I hate being told how little I know and how awful her life is because of me. My ALZ-Mom thinks I GAVE her ALZ. She thinks I WANT her to be sick.
My ALZ-MOM is killing ME. And I cannot do this much longer.

Yes- God strengthens me. Yes- God is with me. And it is only through God and the prayers of the people who loves us that I have gone this far. But there is a limit. And it has been reached. We are looking for placement for ALZ-Mom.

I'm sorry to disappoint you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My feelings exactly!

Well the day has just begun and I'm already running late

With too many irons in the fire and too much on my plate

I'd be pulling out my hair if I could just get one hand free

And I'd stop this world if I could find the key

What I see is telling me I'm going crazy, but

What is real says God's still on His throne

What I need is to remember one thing

That the Lord of the gentle breeze is Lord of the rough and tumble

And He is King of the Jungle

(Thank you Steven Curtis Chapman!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011


My favorite blog writers all seem to be talking about spring, about seasons and the cycle/seasons of life. As a pastor thinking each day about this Lenten season we are in, I think about the seasons of life as well.  A new season, a new part of our lives is beginning as we look at extended care for my mother. There is anxiety about this. There is guilt. There is relief. There is fear.  All understandable. All probably unavoidable. All very, very human.

For the most part, change isn’t easy, but it is necessary. The seasons change. People die, babies are born. Flowers bloom and then they die. Some are reborn in the spring; others become compost for the earth to help nourish the new flowers. It is all a very complicated and daunting thing to think about.

When a change is made, especially a big change is made, the fear of the unknown can triumph over the knowledge that God is in control. Normally each day, I see the “God-things” that make life worth living. But during a time of fear- it is easy to let them slip away unnoticed.

One of the members of my congregation asked for prayers for her father today because he is facing the truth, the truth that he will die-probably sooner rather than later. Not an easy truth. Not for her father, nor for the daughter. As my dad and I talk about extended care for my mom, we are both hit with that truth as well, and with the fear that goes along with it.

At the ages of 86 and 81respectively, I know that I will not have my Dad and my Mom with me on this earth forever. And we don’t know the day or the time…but we do know life doesn’t last forever.

The “what ifs” bother Dad. “What if she goes into a nursing home and dies two months later?” “What if she hates it and hates us for placing her in extended care? What if…?”

Truthfully- I thought she would hate adult day care, but I was wrong. So I am hopeful she will adjust well to extended care.

Today, we went to a Chinese Buffet for lunch. After lunch, Mom opened her fortune cookie and it read, “Now is a good time to finish unfinished projects.” Mom read it out loud and very matter-of-factly said, “Maybe this means I am going to die soon.” Dad looked down at the table. I wasn’t sure I heard her right, so I asked her what she had said. And she repeated it.

I don’t want Mom to die soon. I don’t want anyone I love to die soon. I also don’t want to see Mom live another 15 years, slowing losing everything that made her who she was… As some have said- Alzheimer’s is a bitch. It’s unfair. It’s like living through the worst nightmare of your life. So Lord- it’s up to you. It always was and still is. There are worse things than death. We who have seen Alzheimer’s know that.

So- this new time in our life, this new season, this new phase will bring with it uncertainty and surprises. Just like every other part of life. I pray we can see the blessings as they occur.


Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.
Lord I wanna go to Heaven, but I don't wanna die.
Well, I long for the day when I'll have new birth, but I like livin' here on earth,
Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Continuing a series of recent conversations…Mass

From dinner last night.

Mom: “I went to Mass today at daycare.”

“Good. Do you like the priest?”

“They told me there wasn’t a priest there last week.”

“Who told you?”

“The ladies that set up the Mass. They said we didn’t have Mass last week.”

“I thought you did.”

“So did I. I know I sat there and said the responses. I wonder if it really happened.”

“Maybe they weren’t there last week and don’t know what happened.”

“Maybe I said Mass by myself.”

Seemed not at all disturbed by the thought.

Chicken Salad

Mom to me:

“The chicken salad in the refrigerator…”


“Is it there?”

“The chicken salad?”

“Yes. We had some but it was gone. But there is some in there. Is it in the refrigerator?”

“Is the chicken salad in the refrigerator?”


“I’m not sure I know what you are asking…?”

“The chicken salad from Sam’s!”

“Yes- there is chicken salad from Sam’s in the refrigerator.”

“When did you go to Sam’s?”

“I don’t remember- but when I went I got you two tubs of chicken salad.”

“Well why is there one in there now?”

“So you can eat it…?”


The Newspaper

Dad and Mom in the kitchen, Dad fixing cereal. Mom asks Dad if she can help.

“No- but you could go get the newspaper for me.”

“Do I have it?”


“Okay- I’ll go get it.”

Dad waits.

Dad gets up and walks into living room and meets Mom bringing the paper.

“Thank you! I was looking for that.”

“I told you I would bring it. Are you calling me a liar?”

“No, I just thought I would help you.”

“I don’t need help carrying a newspaper. You are insulting me.”

“I didn’t mean to. Thank you.”

Opens newspaper.

“”This isn’t todays newspaper.”

“What do you mean?”

“This section is Friday’s. So is this section. Okay- this section is today’s.”

“Well at least you got part of todays. I don’t know how that happened. It as all Saturday’s when I was looking at it.”


So Mom asks me to heat up some water on the stove so she can make tea. I suggest she make it in the microwave. (She has not said a word about the knobs being gone from the stove since we took them off.) She shows me her tea cup with the tea stains in it and says that the stains don’t happen when the water is heated on the stove. I suggest again that she heat the water in the microwave, because I have a meeting to go to.

“I don’t like to microwave tea.”

“But you have been doing it since you moved in here.”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Well then try it.”

“ I would have liked to use the tea kettle, but you have never let me use it.”


“I’ve never used the stove here.”

“Well, I guess you’ll have to use the microwave.”

“I always do.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alzheimer's Association 2011 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures

If you don't know some who has had Alzheimer's change their lives- you will. Please share this.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Polly DON”T put the kettle on…Had to take the knobs off of the stove tonight…

Mom has been making tea in the microwave and then when her tea is made, she puts on the tea kettle on the stove. It goes off and if she hears it, she reaches over the steaming kettle to turn off the stove. I don’t know how she has escaped from being burned.

I told her she shouldn’t use the stove anymore and she said I am treating her like a child. (Yes- I am.) I asked her why she put the kettle on AFTER she had already made her tea. “So it would be hot when her tea cup is empty.” After she left the room- my DH pulled all of the knobs off.


Better safe than sorry…

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Coming home

Dad is coming home. Now we wait at the hospital for everything to finish up. Paperwork- iv’s out, heart monitor off.  Mom is happy. Kind of a pain- but happy. Now we’ll see how long it will take to actually leave…


On the way to the hospital today I talked to Mom about her bathing habits. She hasn’t bathed in weeks. At least a month. No showers. She smells…old. I don’t know how else to put it.She doesn’t smell of sweat (as she told me- she doesn’t perspire!) but there is an aroma. Not too pleasing. She kept telling me sponge baths are just as good and that she has “tried” to take a shower but either she’s too tired, the water is too hot or too cold, the room is too hot or too cold,  no one is around in case she falls, her TV show (NCIS) interferes, her computer email isn’t working (haven’t figured that one out yet.) or she just plain doesn’t think its needed. She wanted me to describe how she smells… Nope- ain’t doing that!

So I asked her to take a shower tonight and hope she does. The day care will bathe her…but I hate to make her do that. I think she would be humiliated. I talked to her about it while we were alone so it wouldn’t embarrass her. Now she is mad. But that’s okay.

Frequent Flyer Miles…

Back to the ER again- this time with Dad. Yesterday morning when I got up he told me he was coughing up blood. And had abdominal pain. Called the Patient Advisory nurse whose advice was of course to go to the ER. Which I expected but Dad would not go until Mom had left for daycare and did not want to tell Mom what was happening. That I understood- but hey- the E in ER means EMERGENCY!

Left before Mom went to Daycare under the guise of taking Dad in to get an INR. Which of course, he got. Along with a CT scan of his gut, numerous blood tests and chest X-rays. The conclusion? Constipation and possible pneumonia. Or maybe bronchitis… Giving him IV antibiotics. They kept him in the hospital. Went home. Mom very unhappy and confused to find Dad not at home. Could not understand why we would leave her at daycare while he was in the hospital.

The truth is- I can barely handle being in the ER when my mom is the patient. No way can I gracefully and graciously handle my Mom in the ER while Dad is a patient.

Took Mom out to dinner last night to a buffet she likes. She took loads of food, ate less than half, tried three different desserts, and wrapped up food in a dirty napkin to take home. She had her walker and put it in the basket under the seat. We threw it out when we got home and she forgot about it.

Talked to Dad last night and they did a CT scan of his chest. Talked to the nurse later and she said they are still giving him the antibiotics as a precautionary measure. They don’t think he has pneumonia… CT scan of abdomen may have shown some leakage around the stent in his abdominal aorta- one radiologist thinks so, one does not and the surgeon who did the surgery will decide. Mom does not know this.

Going to take Mom in the morning to see Dad. And then wondering what will happen after that?

I missed one appointment yesterday and am missing another as I sit here typing. I will not miss church tomorrow unless a major problem arises… But if Dad doesn’t come home today- what am I going to do with Mom tomorrow??? Mom may have to go to church with me for the whole morning…My DH has to work too…

Signing out now- I guess I will see where this day takes me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Took a class today to become a support group facilitator through the Alzheimer’s Association. Very interesting and very helpful. But one fact shook me- and as I was the only caregiver in the group (the others were all professionals-nurses etc) the instructor told me a head of time that this might get to me….


The mortality rate is 65% higher for caregivers of someone who has Alzheimer’s than for the Alzheimer’s victim.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Thank you God

My mom hugged me like she used to. My mom told me she is proud of me. I cried. I had a mom for a few moments. It was precious. Thank you God.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dad- No- REALLY???? You said WHAT???

From my daughter to me on Wednesday night:

Okay this is probably stupid and not something to lose sleep over but I just can't seem to let it go. So I'm hoping if I say something I might be able to sleep.
After we got back and you left I was talking to grandpa and I asked him about Friday. He gave me a funny look and I said do you want to go walk out at the mall? He replied "I know your grandmother is going to want to go. Kirklands is having a big sale and lost their lease"

I didn't know what to say... My head was saying did we not just go through all this ? She's not a person u can take shopping..
I'm sitting there worried about staying there with them while you guys are gone and he wants to take her shopping at the mall?!?!?!

All I said was I am not taking her to the mall. And he changed the subject. I don't know why it's driving me nuts but it just keeps repeating in my head. I know grandpa doesn't want to acknowledge everything but is he really that oblivious?

She's gone. She's lost and every day I see her it's so much worse.

I just wanted to cry in the ER... I did this evening. That's not my grandmother. She's not even a normal person.... Sorry you already know all that. I just needed to tell u about grandpa and saying grandma is going to want to go to the mall
I love you and think about you every day

Me to my daughter: What gets me about that is that he knows Gma would be going to Daycare- why would he even think you would be taking her to the mall?
Probably when you said that, he had the Kirklands thing on his mind and was thinking- sure, yeah, Gma would like to do that.
Probably if you had said- "No Gpa- AFTER we drop Gma off at daycare" it would have brought him back to reality. I don't know.

After we went to Wal-Mart for Valentines- he knows how difficult shopping can be with her. But old habits die hard.
He knows. He looks across the table every day at her. He knows.

My daughter to me:

There are times and things he says and does sometimes..
It's like either he doesn't know, is refusing to admit it, or just doesn't care. I don't know anymore. It's hard for me since he was my only close friend for years, and right now there are times when I really don't understand or like him.
Thank you though I do feel better about yesterday. I hope today goes much better for you guys and I'll see you tomorrow.

Friday- My daughter took Mom to Daycare and took Dad to the mall. When they got home, my daughter told me she was glad they had gone to the mall. And she said she was certain Dad wouldn’t say anything to Mom because the last time they went to the mall he indicated it wouldn’t be good to tell her- it would just upset her. My daughter was happy to spend the time with him.


After Dinner- I sent this to my daughter… (Gpa is my Dad, Gma is my mother)

Gpa: I don't think I told you, Cheryl and I went to the mall today.

Gma: You went to the mall? Well I wish I had...

Gpa: Yeah- we went to the Hallmark store and saw so and so and whose it and so and so etc.

Gma: You went to the mall? Did you see so and so?

Gpa: No she wasn't there. They're closing the store on Sunday.

Gma: Why are they closing the store? Can I go see them before they close?

Gpa: No you can't.

Gma: But I want to. If I had known you were going to the mall... Why did you go?

Me: (Whispering to Gpa) To get your glasses fixed.

Gpa: To go to the Hallmark store and say goodbye to everyone.

Gma: I wanted to go. Why didn't I get to go?

Me: I sent them to get Dad’s glasses fixed.

Gma: Did you get your glasses at the Mall?

Gpa: No

Me: No, he got them right by the mall.

Gma: Well that’s not where I get my glasses! I want to go to the mall.

Gpa: You can’t.

Thanks a lot Dad!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday- Back to the ER

Dear Mom,

I know I seemed angry today.  I was frustrated. I know you want to be respected and treated like an adult. But Alzheimer’s has taken over a big part of your life, and I can’t ignore that fact.

You don’t realize it, but we’ve put an “alarm” on the front door “just-in-case” you would try leaving at night or try to go outside for a walk by yourself. Today- when we needed to hear that alarm go off- it didn’t.

I’ve asked you and told you not to go outside by yourself and you have sworn that you wouldn’t even think of doing it. But you did.

Cher had just come in with Colt on the east side of the house when I heard Dad yell that you had fallen. You were on the front step outside of the house.

You were trying to get up, but I made you stay down to make sure nothing was broken. You kept saying, “I just wanted to see what the weather was like.”

It took me and Tom both to get you up. After this,  I know I can’t possibly do it by myself. You do have bad knees and I know that is a problem with getting you up.

You got mad when I told you from now on you have to use the walker. You don’t think you need to use it. Its not your fault you have fallen. It’s the house. (?) You don’t realize how unsteady you are on your feet. You don’t realize how you sway back and forth when you walk. You blame it on the house, on your knees, on your slippers, on your shoes, on your feet when they hurt…but it doesn’t matter the cause, it doesn’t matter who or what is to blame- the fact is you are not steady on your feet. And you need to use the walker.

And you CAN’T go outside the house by yourself. You can’t go down the step in the garage, or out the front door by yourself. You run the risk off falling.

You’ve been fortunate. This time. And the last time. And the time before that. One day, you might not be so fortunate. You’ll hit your head and it will be serious. You’ll fall and break a hip, or an arm, or a wrist.

Cher drove us to the ER. You didn’t want to go. You wanted to go to day care. Your “butt” hurt and your ring finger was so swollen and bruised I had no idea how your rings would come off without being cut off. I knew you wouldn’t like that.

You moaned on and off on our way to the ER. It’s hard to know how much you really hurt. I don’t think you feel pain like you should. You put extremely hot things in your mouth. You touch hot things and then your reaction to them being hot is delayed. Its hard to know.

We made you use your walker at the ER. You were mad. The doctor told you your rings had to come off. You didn’t understand. You kept saying that when the swelling came down you could get them off. He kept telling you the swelling won’t go down with the rings on and you could lose your finger. The nurse in you didn’t show up. You didn’t understand.

Threatened with the possibility of your rings being cut off, you asked for water and soap and you got them off yourself. I don’t know how. It had to have hurt like hell. But you didn’t make a noise. That worries me- it makes me more certain you aren’t feeling pain…

They x-rayed your hand and put a splint on your finger. You didn’t understand why. You said your butt hurts worse than your finger… well- you are going to be really bruised there as well. And they can’t do anything about it.

On the way home, you wanted to go to daycare. I said no, you need to come home so we can keep an eye on you. You wanted to go out to eat. I said no. You started complaining about how mean I am.

Sometimes I find it humorous that my mother calls me mean like my kids used to. But not today. No- nothing seems very funny today.

In less than two weeks time, I’ve spent two mornings in the ER with you. That’s a full day I should have spent working. That may sound cold. But it’s the truth. I’m fortunate I can take off like that. But there will come a day when I can’t.

I hate this Mom. I really do. I miss you. I have a hard time listening to you complain constantly. Its hard for me not to react when you tell me I don’t cook right, when you tell me I ‘m not dressed right. When you tell me my religion is wrong, that I read the wrong Bible. How is it that you can say you are proud of my being a minister and then tell me only the Catholic Church is right? Oh. It’s the Alzheimer's…

But its hard when the words are coming out of the mouth of my mother.

I’m doing the best I can. I know it upsets you when I don’t react to something you say- but really- I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. If I do react you get upset. When I walk away- you tell me I should stop and stay and talk to you about whatever your complaint is at the time. But Mom- your reasoning button is broken. I can’t reason with you and I can’t make you happy when we talk.

You seem happiest when I give you a hug. And most of the time I give them to you. Sometimes- when I give you a hug, I just pretend you are someone else. Because you are.