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THE NEW SAN FRANCISCO
15 May, 2018
First: I figured out what is the dumbest question I've heard this week...or maybe this year. And it didn't come from Washington, DC. It is the number of reporters I have heard ask either scientists or residents of the island of Hawaii: "Do you know when you're going to be able to get back into your home?" Good lord, people...NOBODY knows. It could be weeks, or it could be years, and the more you hear about the worsening of the situation with the volcano, the more it sounds like it's definitely not going to be "weeks."
So. San Francisco. My mother and I were driving down B Street in Davis and had come to the intersection of B and 5th...
...and my mother said "I haven't been in this part of San Francisco in a long time." Several times she commented on how long it had been since she'd been in this part of San Francisco, having absolutely no clue this was not San Francisco.
That was how our morning together went today. Atria wanted her to see her doctor because she is having more angry periods late in the afternoon and they were concerned that she might have a urinary tract infection. I decided to make her a late morning appointment and then we would go to lunch (because they are also concerned that she is losing weight...she has lost 10 lbs since March).
Unlike our last trip to Kaiser, she was in relatively good spirits and kept up what was not exactly a lively conversation, but what passes for a conversation with her these days. The only thing was that it was about 90% based on fantasy. At the restaurant, for example, she wanted to know if her brother was going to be there and how she had not seen him in a long time.
She asked several times why she needed to see the doctor and each time I explained to her that they were concerned about some of the things she does when she's angry (she stole a walker and refused to give it back). She insists she had never done those things because she doesn't remember them.
Sitting in the waiting room, while I was checking her in, she started talking to the man across the aisle from her, thinking he was her sister's husband and when I said something she asked if I was Barb.
The appointment went as expected -- other than listening to her heart, the doctor never touched her, my mother said everything's fine and we were told to let her know how the change in medication goes (fortunately, no labs were required this time). At least the doctor agrees with me--Atria is worried because she is sleeping so much. But she's 98 for Pete's sake! It is of no concern to the doctor at all.
I took her to IHOP for lunch, because I knew she would eat something laden with calories (not, of course, because I wanted something rich and gooey). We had the new Hawaiian rolls French toast, which I've been seeing advertised and which looked so good. It also turned out to be the cheapest thing on the menu, if you didn't add any eggs or anything else with them.
It was one of those cases where things look a lot better than they taste. I love Hawaiian rolls and thought how much better would they be slobbered with strawberries and topped with a big dollop of whipped cream.
But they were a disappointment. Regular ol' pancakes would have been better, IMO. She did, however, eat the whole thing and so at least got a nice dose of fattening calories, which is good for her weight loss.
When they cleared away the plates, she put both her hands on the table and noticed that she was not wearing a ring--she usually wore two, but they have been gone for many months (I suspect Marge took them, but Marge is long gone now). Then she picked up a spoon and said that at least she found one and told me to put it in my purse and take it to the car. She wasn't convinced when I tried to explain that (a) it was not a ring and (b) if I took it, that would be stealing.
When the bill came, she insisted on paying, so I charged it to her credit card, though when I asked her if she wanted to sign the bill or if she wanted me to sign it she said "I don't know. I wasn't even there." So I signed it.
One of the things that dementia has done to her brain is that she is no longer able to follow something like "look at that pink car." There was a pink car that was coming up to us as we stopped at stop sign and I pointed it out to her (there are so few things that I can say to her that I think she will understand). I said "look at that pink car there" and pointed to the right. She looked straight ahead and said "yeah." I pointed out to her again that the car was on our right and was pulling ahead of us She kept looking straight and never did see it.
On the ride down I tried to point out to her the famous "bird car" which I saw coming up on the right about a block ahead.
But she just can't process those directions fast enough and missed it. On the way back, I drove down that street again, PARKED to take a photo and then, given sufficient time, she did finally see it, though was uninterested, so it was hardly worth it--except for me, getting the photo.
I dropped her back at Atria and she never looked back. I think before I got the car door closed, she had forgotten I was ever there.
I have 2 days off now, since I don't go every day any more and Wednesday is her Alzheimers Buddy's day with her. I'll be back on Thursday, when I have an appointment with the director of the memory unit to go over her "plan of treatment." Whatever that means!
Oh, but I checked with the
director the other day and asked her if Tony speaks. She said that yes
he does. I also asked her if he is married, since I saw a woman
holding him by the hand on Sunday (but he seems to hold hands with
everybody, even me), and yes, he is. But the director assures me that
my mother and Tony are just friends...as if that is an issue for me.
It definitely is not. He's the first thing she's been interested in at
Atria in 5 years. I am happy for their friendship.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #6627