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Letter from Emmanuella
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
A NORMAL DAY
7 May 2015
I had lunch with my mother yesterday. As days go, it was more less normal, but occasionally I like to record how the day went, so I can track whether I see deterioration or not.
I got stuck trying to solve a thorny computer problem and suddenly it was nearly 11:30. I usually leave here at 11:15 and we frequently go to lunch at 11:30 or a little after, so I called to let her know I might be a little late and not to go to lunch before I got there. She sounded groggy and I asked if I woke her up. Most of the time these days, I wake her up when I get there for lunch. She swears she only naps occasionally, but I think she naps in the morning and again in the afternoon.
When I got to the apartment, her paper was still in the box where they put it in the morning. That is the first thing I always check, to give me an idea of whether she might have died in the night or not. But since I had just talked with her 15 minutes before, I figured chances were good that she was still alive.
But when I knocked there was no answer, so I finally started to dig out my key when she opened the door. Her hair was flying in all directions and she looked like this picture of Albert Einstein (without the moustache). That was when she told me that she just woke up, that she had difficulty sleeping the night before and was shocked when she woke up to discover that it was nearly 11:30.
She is always disoriented when she first wakes up and today was even more so, since she had just awakened after several hours of sleep.
She finished brushing her hair and putting on makeup and brought me her lipstick to show me that it was pretty much gone. I reminded her I had bought her two lipsticks a week ago, which, of course, she did not remember, and we went searching for them, but couldn't find them in the bathroom, where she keeps her makeup.
I finally found them on the dresser in her bedroom, so that crisis was averted. She repeated, as she has every single day since she moved here two years ago, that she is going to have to start keeping a list so she can remember what she wanted to talk to me about (to date there has never been a list).
I told her that I had thrown out the loaf of bread that was in her freezer, since I bought it for her when she first moved in two years ago and I didn't think it would be any good now. I wanted to be sure she didn't find it in the garbage and take it out again.
We had the usual "I'm old" discussion and the talk about how much she likes at Atria and, to my surprise, she mentioned that she had made a few friends here. That's the first time she has said that.
She said her back was really bothering her and I asked if she had taken her pain pills. She said she didn't even know if she had any. I told her that she did and that they were in the drawer in the bathroom. She got that look on her face, like a kid who thinks she's being cute when she's getting away with something and that says "I don't want to take pills and you can't make me" so I didn't press it, but I told her that if she was not going to take her pills, she would get no sympathy from me if her back hurt. She didn't take the pills.
We went off to lunch and she headed for the table where Margaret and Robert sat, where we usually sit, but there had been two people there before us and so there were no clean place settings and we sat at the next table, but as we passed Robert, she greeted him (not by name, of course) and told me he was her friend. She later indicated Margaret and told me she was a nice lady.
As we sat down, she suddenly could not get her breath and for a minute I was ready to get someone to come and help, as she bent down toward the table and held her chest and tried to breathe. But the incident was over in a couple of seconds and after that she was fine.
As she does every single day she perused the menu thoughtfully and then chose fruit salad and vegetable soup, but had to refer back to the menu several times to remember what she was going to have, though she has it every day. And, as always, she took the broth from the soup and left the vegetables.
We were joined by a man who has probably had a stroke. He is worse off than she is. Very pleasant guy, but could not get his words out and would start talking and then forget what he was going to say.
We went back to the apartment and I did some flower arranging for her. I had brought her a floral arrangement at Easter, pink and yellow carnations in a nice basket with a big bow on it. Talk about getting a bang for your buck. She has raved and raved over how beautiful the arrangement was, even as the flowers died off and she was left with only dried fern in the backet. She always asks if I brought her the basket. She said she didn't understand why the flowers died, because she kept watering them. I have suggested throwing the basket out, but she says she likes looking at it.
I had brought her fresh flowers the last time I was there to bring her pills and she put them in a vase but stuck the vase in a dark corner where she couldn't see the flowers, so I took those flowers and put them in the basket with the dried ferns and now she thinks that the basket is the one I brought her at Easter time, which is nice because she seems to spend her day looking at either the flowers or out the window at the trees. She loves plants so much. Ed brought her a lovely orchid plant at Christmas and though it has been totally dead for months, she has hung a plastic lei on it and it still stands there so she has "something pretty to look at."
She has mentioned that she "has to do something with her hair" and I offered to make an appointment with the hair dresser for her, but she wants to "think about it" first. I didn't press her on it, but when I have free time I'll just make the appointment and take her. That's the only way she will ever go.
I picked up her laundry to bring home to wash. I pointed out that I have only done underwear for the past month and didn't her other clothes need washing? She wears the same 3 outfits in rotation every day, despite having a full closet of clothes, but she insists they aren't dirty and when they are, she'll give them to me to wash. Whatever.
As I said, it was a normal day, but I wanted
to record how this day went.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Loved this picture that my mother's stepson sent
love it if you'd leave a comment!
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