May 16, 2016

Another day, another attempt to achieve normalcy, or something like it.

I never got to the end of the first paragraph yesterday. So everything’s been upside down this week. Mom has turned nocturnal, and I’ve risen each day to lights ablaze. I have no idea how long she’s been up, and I’m not looking forward to finding out. If she’s been up for a long time, she wants conversation and breakfast, right now. I don’t function fully until I’ve had at least one cup of coffee, and even then I only speak mumble for the first hour or so. She was up when I fed the pets this morning, with her usual “Whatcha doin’? That looks like dog food.” (A hint that I should be fixing people food.) And so the day begins. We have a new supervisor for the caregivers, and she is going to make a home visit today. It’s not the best time for it, and I hope we don’t give a bad impression, because the house looks like the tornadoes in the Midwest swung by and deposited their load of furnishings in our living room. For some time now, my husband and I have been looking for a couch-we miss sitting together. A couple of days ago we ran across an ad for a free one, including delivery. It was dropped off yesterday, and they (albeit reluctantly) even wrestled it into the house for me. It’s very comfortable, and the dogs are in seventh heaven now that they can slumber next to us in comfort. The only problem is that the furniture displaced by the new addition is still here, crowding the room.

I’ve been writing and watching Mom for the last hour. She will come out, go to the bathroom and then get her cup of coffee off of her table and take it in to the microwave for a warm up. She takes it back to her table and drops it off, then goes back to the bathroom…and back to bed. She stays in her room until the coffee has had time to cool, and comes back out to do the whole thing over again. She did this three times before I simply cooked her breakfast and went to get her. She’s been losing her robe a lot lately, and when she can’t find it, she comes and gets mine, which she seems to be able to locate just fine. She wound up with both of my robes the other day, while hers was laying across the foot of her bed the whole time. Last night, as Kevin was tucking me in, we noticed that the dogs had elected to stay on the couch. It didn’t really require any thought on our part for us to take advantage of having the bed to ourselves for once. It’s been a rare occurrence  since the mastectomy and reconstruction that we have had time and space for intimacy, and it was like finding ourselves again, in each other. We were probably lucky that not only the dogs stayed out, but so did Mom. It would not have been that unusual for her to seek us out, wanting to know ‘what’s going on’.

Now that we have a new piece of furniture, Mom has made it her mission to keep the dogs off of it, reigniting our old power struggle. When I first put the couch in place, I sat down on it with the pups to try it out. Mom came stalking over and demanded that I ‘get that dog off the couch’. “No thanks, Mom,” I replied, “it’s my couch.” Her jaw tightened as she replied, “I don’t care, don’t want dogs on it.” I looked at her with one eyebrow raised, and sighed. “Well, don’t care that you don’t want them on the couch Mom.” She couldn’t think of a reply right away and returned to her table, obviously upset. I told her, “Take it easy, Mom, you won’t have to worry about it at your new place.” I’ve been trying to be factual about the change, hoping she will accept it. She said, “Good. When do I move?” Is it possible that she will be okay with that? I’m not sure, but it seems like a good sign to me. I know that as stressed as we have been, it has to be even harder for her. As long as she is in denial of her condition, its even more confusing for her to try and analyze what’s happening to her. The chaos with the furniture has her wandering in confusion, although I’ve made sure not to disturb or block her pathways. And this morning she is obviously hallucinating. She keeps playing with the empty air in front of her face, pulling and twisting, turning things only she can see. She seems a little unsettled today, Searching the kitchen counters for anything of interest.

Kevin brought home a rare four beers last week, and since the fridge was full and we were in no hurry to drink it, it was left on the counter in the kitchen. A couple of mornings ago I rose to find Mom wandering around with her coffee cup in one hand and a beer in the other. “How do I get this open?” She wondered aloud for my benefit. “Mom, why are you wanting to open a beer? She has never been a beer drinker. “Oh, is that what it is?” She queried, blue eyes sparkling. Luckily, it was Stella Artois, and the tops don’t twist off. A few minutes later she came back through the kitchen, sweeping a beer off the counter as she went, full of tricks. She countered my query as to what she was going to do with that with a perfectly deadpan delivery. “Well, I thought I would drink it.” I spoke slowly and carefully, my shoulders drooping at the thought of a day of stubborn debate. “Mom, it’s five O’clock in the morning.” Her eyes twinkling with mischief she replied, “So what?” In a desperate attempt to regain  my reason, I told her it would be nice if she at least asked Kevin if she could have one, and she asserted that she didn’t have to ask anyone. Deciding that I was only beating my own head against a brick wall, I surrendered in silence. After about a half hour of trying to get the top off she eventually forgot why it was so important to her and gave up-although I had to retrieve the beer from her room later. The last thing I need right now is a drunken Doodle.



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