ON OUR WAY
28 August 2013
Well, not exactly on our way yet, but we are packed, Ashley's bed is changed, dogsitter treats are assembled [note to self: do not buy dogsitter treats two days before you leave; wait until the last minute!], some things (definitely not all) have been straightened. All is left is to worry about...well, everything...before we finally hit the road, leaving everything someone else's hands. Ashley has the house and the dogs, Ed and Ned have my mother. Hopefully the concerns will drop by the wayside as our wheels take us closer and closer to Mike and Char's, we pack up their luggage and all head to the San Francisco airport. We have this down to a science by now!
Today was my last day to see my mother for 3 weeks. I could stop by in the morning, but I've done everything for her and I just decided I didn't need another day of how I'm leaving her for 3 whole weeks and how old she is and how she's the last in her family to die and why is she still here. I'd rather remember today, which was really fun. (And her hip seems to be OK, so I'm relieved that her fall yesterday didn't cause any damage that was going to show up later.)
For some reason she started obsessing about my friend Nancy, who moved in two doors down from her and when was she going to meet her. Nancy, in the meantime, was telling our mutual friend Peggy that she would have to meet my mother. In actuality, the two of them, who are probably in about the same stage of dementia, have met each other a few times, but Peggy and I figured that if they had lunch together they might actually remember the next time they see each other.
We met in the dining room and had about an hour chatting together. We laughed a lot. My mother even joined in. I was remembering way back when we were looking to find her a place and we found the place in Petaluma. What sold me on that place was seeing a group of four women hanging around after lunch and laughing together. I thought then that that was exactly what my mother has needed for a long time, since she lost Hodge Podge, MahJong and Cousins Day. I'm not sure how often that happens with her in the dining room these days, but today she had it and I was kvelling.
When lunch was over, we went to the conference room, where they were showing a video about Atria which features the guy who oriented my mother to the place when she first arrived here. It's only 4 minutes, but it's a very nicely done video and a nice feel-good piece about the facility.
After that, Peggy took us to the pass-through hall from her apartment to the garden my mother and Nancy look out on. My mother could see the furniture on her patio, so it oriented her well. Peggy is going to be inviting her to her apartment to share photos from our trip and this would be a faster way for her to get here. I so hope that in my absence they become more than nodding acquaintences. It would be so nice for my mother to have a friend that she recognized and kinda sorta actually knew. I think that would go a long way to making her feel even more at home at Atria.
When we left Peggy's apartment, we went to Nancy's apartment. She has a studio and I was amazed at how big a studio apartment could seem It has no patio, so you can't walk out of her apartment to cross the garden, but it's a very nice, well organized place and she seems happy there. The place is filled with notes to herself and reminders. I should figure out a way to make that system work for my mother!
Finally we all went to my mother's apartment. I loved watching her giggling about things with Peggy and Nancy. She is at her best when she is interacting with people and if she would just leave her damn apartment to participate in more things there, I think her quality of life (and her memory too!) would be greatly improved. But she has to do it her own way, unfortunately.
I left feeling that I was leaving her in good condition. I had finished her laundry so she has all clean clothes and I was going away with a clear conscience, especially because her accident yesterday didn't seem too serious.
When I was signing out at the front desk, though, Sandra, the receptionist I have the best relationship with, handed me a bag of clothes my mother had turned in as having been "delivered to the wrong apartment." I wish I could get her to understand that nobody but myself is delivering clothes to her apartment! I even started labeling all of the clothes she gives me with a big "M" so that if she doesn't recognize them, she can check the label. One of the pairs of pants she turned in had the big "M" on it. I was going to go back and talk to her about it, but decided we had left things on a good note and I can return the clothes to her when I get back from Ukraine. I'm wondering if she will have given away all of her clothes by the time I get back!
You know, it's funny. If it were me I could understand it. I really don't like wearing other people's clothes (and especially other people's shoes) but my mother hasn't bought anything NEW in decades. She got all of her clothes at the used clothing store where she volunteered. She was rather proud of not spending a lot on clothes but still getting great clothes. So even if she doesn't recognize her own clothes, I can't understand why she doesn't just keep them anyway. She doesn't have my phobias about other people clothes!
Another dementia thing I have to learn about, I guess!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
I don't know what year this was, but I
(Colors of the Ukranian flag are blue and yellow, hence the Photo of the Day cell color!)
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This is entry #4903