Sunday, December 28, 2008

Come Apart

I am losing it. I have had more than one come apart since December 19th (the beginning of my "holiday" with the Moma). It's a good thing my OB/GYN wrote me that script for Xanax. I have had to use it several (more than several) times. I promise, I have not become a junkie (lol), but oh how much easier it is to deal with 95 year old dementia when I am medicated.
She thinks our den (which was once the garage and is one step down from the kitchen) is outside. She refers to it as "out there". She just said, "Hurry up and come back in, I miss you when you are out there". If I had to count the times we have had the SAME conversations over and over, I'd need a scientific calculator or ??? Well, something! I don't do math.
She asks questions like "What is this?" But I know that even if I take a minute to explain to her what it is, she'll ask it again later. Her short term memory is NON-EXISTENT. However, she does remember that one of her nieces cannot visit her because she has to care for her husband who has Parkinson's Disease. Why can she remember that and not remember that 5 minutes ago she asked me what day it was????? Augh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My nerves are shot, I have to have a root canal Tuesday, and I just broke another tooth. Hurry 2008, get gone!

(sigh) Happy New Year........

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008 Part II

Pardon the delay....just couldn't bring myself to post last night.

Where did I leave off? Oh yes! We left for Kerry's mother's house in a rain storm. Kerry got her to the car, and I carried the food. I rode in the back, so she could see where we were headed. When we got in and settled, she just sat quietly watching everyone. I fixed her plate, and sat her at the main table with all the adults. I chose to sit in the den with Rebekah and my nephews. She must have been entertaining because I heard a good bit of laughter from the dining room. Later when we were opening gifts, she got a pair of house shoes and a HUGE box of chocolate candy that I will repay Beth and Kevin for. (Oh yes....expect something dreadful to come your way soon!) She was ready to go home as soon as she opened her presents. But for the most part, she was good at Glenda's. I purposely left the hated candy in the car when we unloaded the gifts.
Christmas morning, we had to wake everyone up. We gathered in the den, as always, to open presents. I began handing them out, and she said, "Have y'all already eaten breakfast?" We told her we'd eat after we opened presents. She opened a present, then again said, "Did y'all already eat?" This happened over and over ad nauseum...........I can't even type it out because it would make me crazy all over again. Finally, needless to say, she got to eat.
She went from bad to worse. After our immediate family thing, we began to get ready for the extended family thing. Everyone was showering or dressing, putting things up, cooking, etc. She was rambling, rambling, rambling. She was in our gifts from the night before. I was moving things from the den into the study, and she was rambling through them as I moved them. She was asking a million questions. She wanted something to eat. She was cold. She wanted a drink. She couldn't be satisfied for 5 minutes. It was like being on the phone with a 3 year old in the room. Then....she remembered the candy. She began asking questions about whether we had found her candy. She'd leave the room, come back and ask again. Kerry blasted her and told her to hush or we wouldn't look for it. After hearing it for a solid hour (like a child), I went to the car and got it. I said, "If you give my dogs so much as ONE bite of this candy, I'll throw the whole box in the garbage can!!! Do you understand me???" She said, "Okay!" and trotted off to her room.
When the extended family came up, it was as if she was on stage. The truth is that if she were as cute as she thinks she is or if she were as cute as other people thinks she is, she'd be DANG cute. However, she is not cute or amusing. She is OBNOXIOUS, nasty, nosy, know-it-all, and irritating. I know, I know....I should be ashamed, but I am worn out. I am too old to have an infant to be responsible for. If I don't get out of this house soon............................

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008 (Part I)

"Greeting cards have all been sent, the Christmas rush is through...." so eloquently put by Karen Carpenter. Christmas night is peaceful. All the packages under the tree are gone, the paper and bows in the trash. Food has been put in plastic containers in the refrigerator. Parents are looking for a peaceful corner while children play with their new things. Pets are full and exhausted. Yet, the lights on the tree still shine bright not knowing that Christmas is over.
Christmas night used to depress me. I remember as a young married couple making a pact with friends to always spend that night together, playing games, and keeping the spirit of the season alive one more night. Those friends are now divorced, and I have grown older and am no longer depressed by the peacefulness of Christmas night. I feel blessed. Tired but blessed.

You didn't tune in to hear my melancholy speech. You are curious about Moma's Christmas. Well, where to begin?? Christmas Eve morning I got her up to eat breakfast and get that out of the way so I could begin cooking for our family gatherings. Rebekah has been so much help. I couldn't have gotten anything done this year without her. Thanks baby girl!
During breakfast, I told Moma that she had to get a bath, expecting a fuss and fight. She very sweetly agreed that she did. She asked if she could lie down for a few minutes first, and of course, I said she could. When she finished eating, she got up from the table and started toward me. I didn't know what to expect. She smiled that crooked smile, and put her arms around my neck. She said, "Merry Christmas! I hope you have a good Christmas!" It was so sweet. She was so good the rest of the day. She took her bath without fussing about anything. She fussed and primped over dressing for the evenings gathering at Kerry's parents' house. She changed clothes about 3 times. And the most precious....when I mixed up the Red Velvet Cake I let her lick the beater. She and I stood side by side at the sink, licking cake batter just as we had done a million times some 40 years ago. I had a rush of emotion as I considered our reversed roles. What a precious Christmas blessing.
( Christmas part II to follow)

Monday, December 22, 2008

When is Christmas?

I have answered that question a million times today it seems. After I answered the favorite question, "What's today?" Then all of a sudden tonight about 8:00 she got this revelation that Christmas is Thursday!!!!!!!!!!!! And she went into panic mode. She wanted me to go to the bank and get her out $100 for Christmas. She was seriously freaking out. Then, as usual, we had this same conversation 6 more times. Finally, I said, "Moma, we are not going to talk about this any more tonight. I will handle it all tomorrow" (not sure how, since she doesn't have $100!). She slammed her cup on the table and said, "No, y'all don't ever want to talk to me about nothing!" Then she got up and went to bed! (Thank goodness).
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't condone people being mean to old people, but I do understand. This is truly a calling, just like teaching. Now, I do not have this calling.............God has blessed me with what I need on a daily basis to make it to another day, but this is not naturally easy for me. Not only is it not easy, it isn't pleasant. You just cannot be sweet and pleasant, kind and patient, and accepting all the time. It just isn't real. I used to visit older people and think their care takers were mean, but I am there! I understand, totally.
We are ready (almost nearly, but close) for Christmas. She is ready for it to be over, and the rest of us are excited; waiting on it to come! It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Merry Christmas to one and all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Remember Lawrence Welk?

While eating our sandwiches tonight, Moma and I watched an old episode of Lawrence Welk on PBS. It was a Christmas show, and everyone had their children on the show. It brings back such warm sweet memories. My mother loved the show, and I remember her watching it.
After we ate, I was determined to put a new strand of lights on my tree where one went out (bah humbug! EVERY dang year!!!), so I got busy doing that. I could still hear the TV. The show was winding down, and Lawrence was introducing his family. Then, I heard "Nice to meet you" "Merry Christmas to you too" "Good to meet you" and so on. She was interacting with the show. What a hoot! Then as quick as it started, it was over. And as she left the kitchen, I heard her say, "I can't hear anything you're saying, you may as well hush!"
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I made the mistake of pulling out pictures tonight. They asked us at school to bring a baby picture to put on a board for the kids to guess for a prize. So I was frantically searching since tomorrow is the last day. I heard her door open. I panicked. I wanted to grab the picture box and run out the door. See, food is not the only thing she makes me crazy over. She loves pictures, but she doesn't put them back in the pile they were in (like while I am searching or organizing), she asks a million questions ("Who is that?"), and she puts her fingers all over them. As soon as she saw me looking through pictures, she got so busy snatching and grabbing them, asking her questions, tossing them randomly on the table. I was secretly hoarding most of them under my arm. She asked if I'd leave them out so she could look at them tomorrow. I lied. "Yes, I sure will!" After I chose the pictures that I wanted to hold out, I closed up the box and lit out to the basement to carefully return them to their safety. When I came back she had the ones I held out strewn all over the table, and she was pointing to a water ring. "Hee-un! Get this water up so those pictures don't get wet! HEY!" I guess she thought I was ignoring her because I was getting the pictures up FIRST. She started out of the room, and under her breath, I heard her say, "I don't give a shit". Nice. This is my little grandmother. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gadsden Christmas Parade

As you know, local cable shows the Christmas parade like 900 times during December. Moma has watched it 3 nights in a row, and it has been brand new every night! It is precious! She gets so excited too! She just walked into the den and said, "Hey, the parade's over. I'm going to bed" as if that is what she lives for.
She is still closing that bedroom door, and I swear I think she sleeps better. I know she doesn't ramble as much.
We moved furniture out of Moma's house this afternoon. I handed the keys to the new owner. I still have to go back and clean out the trash and get a few small items. It was kind of sad. She lived in the house from the time she was 7 years old until last year. And I spent MANY years growing up in my grandmother's home. I spent many nights with her, where we knelt by her bed and said prayers before we went to bed, where she taught me (and Rebekah) to bake cakes, where I learned to love a bath because she let me fill the tub to my chin. In this little house, where love abounded, I learned to hang out clothes on a line to dry, climb a tree, dust furniture using polish, not the vacuum cleaner. Yes, this is such a special little house.
As we brought in her sofa and chair to my den (for lack of a better place), she came into the room and said, "Where'd y'all get that crap?" We said, "Moma! from your house!" She said, "That ain't mine...."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Wedding

I tried to talk Sherry and Kyle out of this. I told them she could not be quiet. I told them she was very inappropriate, demanding, and extremely high maintenance. But no....Kyle wanted her there. His grandparents (mine and Sherry's parents) could not be there, so he wanted HER there. So, the preparations began. I called the hair dresser to see if she'd be willing to meet me at the beauty shop on Saturday, even though she doesn't work on Saturdays. She was. I searched through her closet for something appropriate to wear. I made preparations for someone to be here in case Kerry had to bring her home. It's like having a baby or small child
So, the day began. She walked the floors in the wee hours of the morning. I ran her back to bed twice. Then about 7:30, she woke me up. I just finally got up. Now if you know me, I am not pleasant upon arising. I don't speak, so don't expect it. I am moving by memory, no thought processes are happening, no brain activity, strictly going through the motions that I have grown accustomed to. She is talking, talking, talking. I am not responding. Finally, I wake up, and begin to speak. But today, she is lost as a goose. She has no clue what the day is, where we are going, who I am , etc. She didn't even know what her oatmeal was. Looked at it like it was something brand new. And although normally when she is confused she is very passive and sweet, but not today. No today, nothing pleases her. "This coffee is cold". "Where are we going?" "Well, I'll be glad when this mess is over". Sigh....I delivered her to the beauty shop and promised to return in one hour. We took her hair dresser a Christmas gift, but she had rambled all through it. I only hope it was all there. When I picked her up, I had to fix her lunch, and go lay out her clothes. She wanted to sit in the den while I fixed her lunch. She wanted the TV on. She wanted it on a good program. She wanted something to drink. She wanted a cookie or something sweet. Get the picture? All these requests came about 5-7 minutes apart. In other words, just as soon as I completed one task, she came up with another one. The entire time, she was WHINING about not wanting to go to the wedding/birthday party (they became interchangeable).
We had to leave early for pictures. The wedding was to be at 4:00, but for some reason, we had to be there at 2:00. I had to wake her to make her re-dress. She kept lying there, but I wouldn't leave her alone. She finally got up and begin dressing. She complained more about not wanting to go, and wanting this wedding *&^% to be over. I had to remind her that this is Kyle's big day, not hers, and she could not hurt his feelings over this. We finally head out the door. She starts telling me that this will probably be her last trip out. She said she is just past going (and I agree). As we back out of the driveway, she begins saying, "Help us Lord. Help us. Oooooh Lord..." I was about to tell her to stop it because she is such a drama queen and takes on about nothing, but I stopped when she said, "Oooooh Lord, help me. I'm about to embarrass my young'uns". I nearly wrecked the car.
We started down the mountain, and had to turn back because the Tuscaloosa Ave. Christmas parade had the road blocked. That put us behind about 15 minutes. I called Sherry and she said not to hurry, the photographer was way behind. The entire ride to Glencoe, she whined about not wanting to go, and almost in the same breath she'd ask where we were going. I counted 9 questions concerning our destination in a 12 mile radius. We arrived at the church and I ushered her in. The sanctuary was practically empty but she talked loud. I knew this was not good. She asked a million questions. She wanted some gum. She wanted water. She was miserable, and she was making me miserable. We had to move for something the photographer wanted to do (which should have been done first, but nobody asked me). Anyway, she complained about that. OH I WANTED TO SCREAM!!!! I kept saying, "I cannot kill her here! This is Kyle's wedding!" I jest, but I was so irritated with her.
Kerry and Rebekah got there just before the wedding began. Kerry was to take her into the room behind the sanctuary where she could watch the wedding, but not be heard (grunting, commenting, and hacking up a loobie). Rebekah and I sat on the back row and critiqued the event. Later, I found out that Kerry had to tackle her as she was about to knock on the window to let me know where she was. Then she kept saying that she was cold and about to pee in her pants, so he waited for the wedding party to enter the sanctuary, and he took her out. When they got outside, she said, "That was a mess. That was my first and last graduation. I ain't never coming again, I don't care who is graduating!" Kerry never corrected her. He laughed all the way home.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My friend............

Nothing about Moma tonight.
Just wanted to dedicate this post to my precious friend Jean Osborn. She went to live with Jesus sometime in the night Tuesday or Wednesday. She was a very active, loving friend. She graduated with my Dad at Emma Sansom, grew up in Alabama City, raised her kids at Dwight Baptist Church, and treated me like family. She was a wonderful elementary school teacher at Hokes Bluff and Westbrook for many years. She was very accepting and tolerant of others.
Here's to you Jean. I know Frank is happy you are with him again!
I love you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Different but still crazy

Moma is going through some different things. She is changing moods more quickly. I can see several personalities within one hour. She closes her door when she goes to her room, and she cannot be still. She isn't sleeping as much at night as she used to. She is just different, can't really describe it any better.
Tonight, she had her smarty britches on. We ordered Domino's Pizza and the new sandwiches for supper. She and I had a sandwich, Kerry had pizza. She complained about the sandwich being tough, so she asked for pizza. SHE HATES PIZZA!!!!!!!!!!! But you know, she HAS to have what everyone is eating. You dare not eat anything she doesn't have. She inspects everyone's plates while we eat. Nothing would do but that she eat some pizza. I can't tell you how many times I get up during a meal to wait on her, like she is in a restaurant. She kept demanding things: more tea, get me some of that pizza, get me a glass of water, here (hee-unh) throw this away, and on and on. I raised my voice to her, and then Kerry got on to her. She pouted. The dogs came in (remember we have to banish them to the deck or their crates while the princess eats), and she got in the garbage to drag them out some scraps. I had to wrestle the food out of her hand. It was an ugly scene. Kerry had to get on to her again. She was soooooooooooooo mad. She went to her room and slammed the door.
Later, she came out (MANY TIMES) but she started rambling in a Christmas present I had prepared to take to school. I told her to get out of it, and she said, "Shet-up". I went into the kitchen and told her to not tell me to shut up again. Then she proceeded to tell me how dry my plants are, and asked if she could water them. I told her that I would do it. She stood over me, watching. She said, "Why didn't you soak it?" I said, "These plants don't require a lot of water". She said, "What do you know about it?" Then she argued about everything. Kerry finally came in there and sent her to bed. He told her that he hated to be ugly but she was being ugly to me. Wow! She looked at me like she could run right through me. She stormed to her room and slammed the door. I am beginning to like a closed door.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why do you hate me?

Today Moma asked me, "Why do you hate me?" I admit, I had fussed at her a good bit but why??? Because she has rearranged my entire house all day. She moves things I am using. She moves things and I cannot find them. When I tell her to stop, she snaps on me and tells me to "put it up" or "get it out of here" like I am intruding in her home.
I have this long strand of garland that I put on my front door every year. This year, the storm door (which in new) pulls it inside every time it is opened. So I took it down until I can figure out another thing to do with it. I laid it temporarily in my rocking chair. Every time she goes by it, she throws it in the floor next to the Christmas tree. Why? Only Mildred can answer that. I put it back, she throws it in the floor. I put it back, she throws it in the floor. We also play that same game with the back door. She closes it, I open it. She closes it, I open it.
So my answer when she asked me why I hated her? I said, "I don't hate you. You drive me crazy messing with my things and moving things around, but just because I fuss, I don't hate you". She looked at me and said, "Where is your husband?" sigh..................

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Where do you want me to sit?

Moma asked me the craziest questions yesterday. "Where do you want me to sit?" "Whurr?" "Who brought me up here?" "Where do I sleep?" "Is there somewhere I can lay down?" And she asked them over and over. Strange.
Today's question was "Where is Kerry?" and "Is Kerry at work?" Over and Over and Over and Over...............ad nauseum.
Later, she was a busy body and a grumpy one at that! She argued, she rambled....UGH!
Then tonight, she gave me a dollar for my Christmas present because she just wanted to give me something because I am so nice to her. Then she hugged me. Strange.
I never know which personality will show up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One more thing....

Just once, I'd like to get my bath like a normal woman. I am one of those women who look forward to her bath. I bonded with my mother-in-law because she loves her bath as much as I do. I want it up to my chin, hot and steamy, bubbles not necessary but appreciated. I want to linger as long as I can, read if possible, listen to music, and from time to time burn candles rather than lights. Yes, you can say, I enjoy a good bath. But now.....as soon as I begin to draw the water, Moma bangs on the the door and busts in saying "Let me pee". I turn off the water, and let her have it. Then, when she is finished, I go back in and begin again. Just about the time I sink into my awaited tub, she starts banging on the door. I have to pull the drawer across the door to lock it as our doorknob is messed up and will lock you in for real, so we disengaged the locking device. So, she bangs the door against the drawer as hard as she can SEVERAL times barking random ignorant things. I've heard: "Hhhha ney (we aren't sure who this is) this is Mildred, let me in" and "HEY! TURN ON SOME HEAT!" and "Who's in there?" and "THELMA!!!" Needless to say, my concentration on my music, book, or prayer is broken. And she does this SEVERAL times while I attempt to bathe. Then, precious as she is, she leaves the door ajar against the drawer. Now it is a small opening, but it is just enough to cause a draft that freezes me, not to mention allowing the deafening volume of her TV to penetrate the soothing sanctuary of my nightly bath.
All I want for Christmas is a hot bath in peace.