Today in My History
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BACK TO ELDERVILLA
16 July 2019
It was a Pride and Prejudice night. I could not get to sleep for love or money. I went back and forth from the couch to the recliner, to the couch again, first in one direction, then in another, but nothing that normally works when I have trouble sleeping worked. It had been such a long time since I'd had that bad a night that I had forgotten my sure-fire way to get to sleep: I put on the recording of Pride and Prejudice. As usual, it worked like a charm. I don't think I got past the opening credits!
I did only get a couple of hours of sleep and napped whenever I sat down, but at least I was able to get those solid two Pride and Prejudice hours.
I had not been to see my mother since our return from Santa Barbara. When I get home from a trip like this there is a surprising amount of stuff for me to do to get "caught up." This year there was even more because of not being able to post FTW while in Santa Barbara, and I wanted to get all those entries up. That takes a long time, downloading photos (which I couldn't get since I had no internet access) and for the last three or four days actually writing the entries, since I wrote short entries on Airy Persiflage, but was doing it on my table, so it was one finger typing and that does not lend itself to really "writing."
I also had a big SwapBot project to work on. I was doing a journal for the month of July and planned to bring the journal with me to write daily while we were gone, but I forgot, so I had a week-plus of entries to write and decorate. Granted there was no deadline for the project, but it was something that was hanging over my head--and I knew that my mother wouldn't know whether I'd been there or not.
But today was finally "the day" and I went off to Woodland shortly after noon (I like to get there either while she is eating, or just after she's eaten, since I'm pretty sure she won't be in bed asleep).
As I expected, she was happy to see me but had no idea how long it had been since I was last there. I noticed a big difference in her, though -- another step in the mental decline. What I have been doing lately is showing her photos; she doesn't recognize anybody or anything, but it's something to talk about when I show her a photo. I was happy to have lots of photos to show her. She was at the table and I would hold up the camera and tell her about the picture, she would look at her food and say that yes, that was nice. Every single photo she didn't know what to look at, or even that I was showing her something, but she has stock responses that let me think she has seen the photo and is appreciating it. There was really only one photo that I showed her that she seemed interested in, which was the photo of Tom in his 49er chef outfit.
The other big difference I notice in her -- and I'll be curious to see what Jeri thinks when she gets here next month. When my grandmother was in a mental hospital in Napa, my mother said she would visit her but that she could only speak gibberish so my mother would just leave because her mother was so sad that my mother couldn't understand what she was saying.
Well, this is the way my mother speaks now. Gibberish. She has words and she will start telling you something, which makes no sense, but when she hits a word she doesn't know, she would just sound gibberish. You can't have a conversation with her about anything, but you can agree with whatever she is saying and act happy or interested or excited about whatever she is telling you.
I hadn't seen Sandy (who runs Eldervilla) in several visits, but he arrived while I was visiting so I got a long description of what is going on with her and it sounds like she's doing very well, with minor problems (she still pees on the floor at night). She and Jeannie have conversations that mean something to them, but which they can't remember later, but he says this is great because it forces both of them to actually communicate rather than being quiet. She still "cleans" the house, mostly her room. They find used diapers and food in her drawers because they had to be cleaned up and she needed to put them somewhere. Mala, the woman who takes care of her during the day, found her slippers under Jeannie's pillow while I was there.
Sandy asked her if she knew who I was and she looked at me for a minute and then said "That's my sister." Not the first time she has mistaken me for one of her sisters, which did not surprise me because today what she seemed to be mumbling about was playing games and I responded as if she had just come in from playing a game.
It's sad that I don't feel like I'm visiting my mother any more, but that I'm visiting...someone and I need to do that. I'm just glad that she is doing so well there, and am always grateful that we found Eldervilla.
There are only 4 people in the place now. The woman who fell recently is still in a convalescent hospital and they don't know if she will ever be able to come back, and John, who moved in a month ago, died last week. Bob rarely leaves his room, so that leaves just my mother and two other women in the house all the time.
I recently "lost" one of my Compassion kids, who aged out. Eric was never one of my favorites, since he was my sponsored child for about 6 years and almost never wrote anything of interest and when he left the program, he did not send a final letter. I was kind of relieved that he was leaving because it was $40 less a month that I owed and I decided that I was going to start not replacing kids when they leave the program so I can reduce the monthly fee.
While we were away, this picture kept turning up on my Facebook feed. I don't know why I was drawn to her, but I was not going to sponsor her. Someone would surely pick her up. Yet over and over and over again she popped up on Facebook or Instagram. Usually these pictures which appear on Facebook or Instagram disappear within a day or two because someone is moved to sponsor them.
But Irene never did. I finally decided that if they were still looking for a sponsor for her, I would take her on. By the time I returned home, she had been on the site for over a week and I decided she must be meant for me, so I have sponsored her. I like sponsoring older kids because (a) they usually communicate better, (b) they leave the program soon -- Irene will complete the program in 2 years, and (c) fewer sponsors want older kids; most want little kids.
So she's now mine. She is from Ghana and will turn 20 in a month. I think I read somewhere that she has 4 siblings and she's in the 11th grade. I am her third sponsor. From 2008 to 2014 she had a sponsor in another country. Her most recent sponsor wrote her about once a year, so she has not received very many letters. She has received one birthday gift during her time in Compassion's program. I immediately sent her a birthday gift and a letter and hope to establish a meaningful relationship.
It's only money, right?
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Laurel writes: "These
girls battled hard in the semi-finals,
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