A place where I can share interesting ideas and maybe get a few things off my chest

Archive for January, 2008

Now my brain hurts.

I walked with Leslie Sansone again this morning. Mother shuffled a few steps, did a couple of sidesteps, and then sat down. I told her that was better than she did a couple of days ago, and that she’d build up to doing more if she kept at it. She seemed doubtful.

At dinner, I brought the Dietert Center schedule to the dining table for us to choose what day we wanted to go to lunch. She couldn’t decide which one sounded most appealing, so I chose Tuesday’s “Crabby Cakes” for our lunch out.

I talked to her a little bit about the Take Five Club, which is actually a caregivers’ respite program. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes lunch brought into the activity room because some of the people are less ambulatory than others. It also costs $35 per day attended, which Mother would NEVER agree to, but they could send the monthly statement to my work. I am thinking this might be the best way to introduce her to the center, as she seems absolutely uninterested in attending any of the activities.

“Mom, when I picked up the menu last week, I talked to one of the ladies about the Playing with Paint class. She said it’s watercolor and pretty fun.”


“Is that something you’d be interested in trying?”

“I’m not interested in any of that stuff.”

“But Mom, I’m concerned about you just sitting at home all day and not doing anything but watching TV.”

“Well, when you’re 80 years old, you’re not interested in doing that much.”

“You’re not 80, you’re only 78, and Papaw walked until he was 92. And you had friends in Wills Point, and now you don’t talk to anybody except me all day, and when I can’t come home for lunch, then you’re here the whole day alone.”

“That’s OK.”

“No, Mom, it’s not OK.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, it’s not.”

“And I can call people on the phone.”

“Who do you call?”

(Thinks a minute.) “Whoever.”

“Whoever is not a person. Give me a name.”

“I don’t know.”

“I know you’ve called Charlie. Anyone else?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’d really like you to try this Take Five Club. It’s more of a social group than an activity group. They talk and have coffee and have lunch. I can go with you the first couple of times.”

No answer.

“Anyway, Mom, we’ll go to the center for lunch on Tuesday.”



I dunno. Maybe I’m rushing things. Maybe I’m not pushing her enough. I have no idea how to treat an adult who is functioning on various levels, all of them below where she was even one year ago. Especially when that adult also happens to be my mother.

Mixed Success

I just walked a mile in my living room in 18 minutes!

Mother walked about 2 minutes, then said she was tired and sat back down.


Renewed Hope for the Dietert Center

Every morning, as we sit having coffee and reading the morning paper, Mother will say, “You have your regular schedule today? You’ll be home at regular time? And you’ll come home at lunchtime?”

I used to say, “Yes.” Now, because my duties at work are evolving, I say, “I hope so.”

Yesterday, shortly after this exchange, I said, “I think you ought to try going to the senior center and meet some people. I bet you could find a nice friend there.” And, instead of the automatic “No, no, I don’t want to” that I expected, she said “Do you think so?”

“Yes! I do!” I was suddenly filled with some hopes of her actually trying to do something besides sit on the couch and watch TV all day, with me her only source of social contact. I was able to come home for lunch, have a ‘delicious sandwich’, as we do every day, and then, on the back to work, I took the long way around to stop by the Dietert Center and pick up their monthly menu and activity schedule.

I stopped in to talk with my friend, Dawn, who told me that in addition to the regular activities, staff was working on having a “coffee social” time in the morning, but they weren’t sure when that would happen.

I don’t know if Mother’s total disinterest in any of the activities has been due to some level of depression from my sister’s passing and the move from east Texas, or if she is concerned about trying something new that will shed unwanted attention on growing cognitive deficits. I am now hoping that it was more the former. While I doubt that she will ever sign up for Table Tennis or Western Philosophy, perhaps Playing with Paint or Quilter’s Co-op will strike her fancy. I really believe that if she will just go there enough times to meet a couple of people, I’ll be taking her on a regular basis.

And, this morning, since I woke up at 5:30 and have what I hope to be PLENTY of time, I’m going to see if I can get her to agree to “Walking with Leslie Sansone” (which my niece, Vickie, highly recommended and I bought several months ago, but haven’t been motivated enough to try) before the television is tuned to the morning news. (I know you were wondering when I would get to why in the world that picture was there, especially on MY blog – hahahaha!)

Post-Holiday Mish-Mash

All the holiday excitement and stress are over, and it’s back to normal. I still have many post-holiday chores to do. I have put away most of the nativity sets, but the tree is still up and decorated, something I will attend to today.

I finally got the last of the antique frozen food out of the chest freezer we moved from east Texas in July. There was no easy way to dispose of it beforehand, so we just moved the half-full freezer as it was. The meat that was in it was already so old as to be scary, not to mention the frozen bread, margarine, and unidentifiable objects. The trip down here in the back of the moving van didn’t help it. I bagged up three trash bags of mostly meat, and threw several packages of bread products and a half-bag of broccoli out behind the house for the critters. The gallon of water frozen in a milk jug – I’m not quite sure why that was in there – is thawing in the garage.

My first inkling of Mother’s cognitive state came when we were looking through that freezer back in June and I observed aloud that she had several packages of frozen hush puppies. She asked me what was a hush puppy. *sigh*

Anyway, we all had a nice time at Christmas. I bought Mother a sweater and matching pants, Vickie gave her a nice casual top, and Steve gave her a casual set of pants, top, and hoodie. Since she won’t buy clothing for herself, this evidently seemed the best idea to all of us.

Janette and Eva flew in on December 26th and stayed through the 29th. I think they had a nice visit. Eva is VERY busy. And she has started saying several words and is willing to try to say all kinds of new words. I believe that in another three or four months, she will be talking up a storm, telling strangers all of Janette’s secrets in a clear, loud voice. Eva enjoyed the dogs at Vickie’s house, and surprised everyone one by hitting it off with Willow, the extremely stand-offish kitty whose behavior with Eva we were most worried about. Not only was Eva enamored of Willow, but Willow seemed equally taken with Eva, allowing Eva to “pat” her and on occasion “hug” her by practically lying down atop her. Willow didn’t even rowr or hiss, something she has done to all the adults in the house.

We all drove to Marble Falls (in Vickie’s Brand New Van!!) to see the Christmas lights on the river. They were beautiful, but it was very cold. We were all glad to see them, and also all glad that since it was after Christmas there were hardly any people there so we were able to park very close to the entrance, instead of walking from a couple of blocks away, as Vickie said they had done a couple of years ago.

On Saturday morning, before Janette flew home, we had brunch at IHOP. All the straps/buckles on all the booster seats and all the high chairs were missing or broken. We tried to just have her sit with us on the seat, but once the food arrived it just didn’t seem to work out. (Did I mention that Eva is VERY busy?) One of the waitstaff offered that they could secure her in the high chair with a folded-over apron, which turned out to work quite well. She entertained all of us, including our waiter.

Steve was able to visit for almost two weeks. It was very nice having him here. My Christmas present from him was a beautiful necklace and earrings set of sterling silver (my precious metal of choice), small ropes of silver knotted into square knots for the earrings and a figure-eight knot for the necklace. The image above does not do them justice, as they are amazingly bright-and-shiny.

He said that although he understood and believed me when I talked about how loud the TV was, and how it permeated the house, he hadn’t fully grasped the reality of it until he was actually here. Now he understands. It’s really loud. From 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Except that now that Mother understands that it wakes me up, she keeps the volume down on weekends until I get up, so I am actually able to sleep in now. That does help.

Steve also brought his camera and took many, many pictures of all of us – except himself, because I never remembered to get the camera from him. Thank you, Steve, for all the wonderful pictures of our holidays. And my necklace and earrings. And your visit. And my sanity.

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