I went to Atria this morning at 10 a.m., thinking that the "Keep Your Brain Sharp" class was at 10:30, but it was at 11, so we had time to kill. My mother told me about her visit with Ed on Wednesday.
We went down to the Arts and Crafts room early so we could stop by the hairdresser's (across the hall from A&C) to make a hair appointment for next Friday. I also asked Lucy, the hairdresser, to make a standing appointment for my mother for every Friday at 1:30. There's another thing taken care of!
Just three of us, again, in Keep Your Brain Sharp. My mother and Claire from last week, and me. First we were supposed to make as many words as we can out of 'ATRIA SENIOR LIVING.' Piece o'cake for me since this is the kind of word game that I play all the time on my cell phone. The task for me was to slow down and not create a huge list of words and make the people with memory problems feel bad!
Then we were asked to write a paragraph about some Saturday night that we remembered from our past. I can't remember what Claire's paragraph was about, but it was very short. Mine was about going to a show on a Saturday night. My mother's paragraph surprised me.
This surprised me on several levels. My mother is not noted for her written work. I think I may have received two letters from her during my lifetime. I have not attempted to take her, for example, to the journal writing class that is supposed to improve your memory. Writing just is not in her DNA...well, it is in her DNA but it skipped her and jumped to me!
So I didn't expect a paragraph like this, but the other thing that surprised me is that I have thought of my mother as fully in charge in any social situation. Hearing about her embarrassment at not being perfect when she was a teenager. I have always thought of her as the social butterfly all of her life.
In her new situation and new location, that social awkwardness is showing again, as she has admitted that she is afraid to go into any new situation without me, which is fine with me. I am enjoying our adventures together, but I never thought of her as being uncomfortable in any social situation.
After the memory class, we met my friend Peggy (not THAT Peggy, but the other Peggy, from my old writing group) in the restaurant. What a delightful lunch we had together. Turns out Peggy had met my mother last week, but my mother didn't remember. She did seem to remember as they began talking, though. Peggy has only been at Atria since November, and has spent a good deal of that time in a nearby convalescent hospital. She is almost, but not quite, back to normal again. She's in her late 70s ("just a kid," according to my mother), but she would make an ideal ambassador for Atria. She easily and effortlessly includes any new people in the conversation, introduces everyone to everyone else, knows about a lot of the programs and how the whole facility works. I was very impressed.
We have invited her to come and visit my mother in her apartment and maybe I'll get my mother to Peggy's apartment as well.
After lunch, we decided to go for a walk. My mother has been missing her daily walks around the lagoon in Terra Linda and I thought I'd take her to the arboretum at the university, where I knew there were benches where she could sit.
But I decided first to try her out on the Greenbelt, the biking/walking area which flows in and out and around West Davis. Atria actually backs up onto the Greenbelt area, but in order to get to it, you have to walk about the equivalent of 3/4 block to get to the gate that opens up onto the Greenbelt. I knew there were no benches on the Greenbelt, but since my mother has not complained once about her back since she moved, I thought we could give it a try. But I decided that rather than walk to the gate at Aria, I would drive her to one of the blocks which was kind of a feeder onto the Greenbelt. I.e., you get out of the car and are immediately on that section of the walk.
We started our walk at 12:45. She was loving the green grass and the trees, especially the flowering ones, and the houses. It was 12:50 when she said she needed to get back to the car because her hip was killing her. In addition to the disintegrating coccyx, she also has sciatica. Though we had only gone a short way, she needed to stop four times on the way back to the car (and I was so glad I had started somewhere nearby!) and by the time we got to the car, both hips were hurting.
I drove her around out in the country so we could look at fields of sunflowers and more houses (she has always loved looking at houses) so that her hips would relax by the time we returned to Atria and she could painlessly walk into the building.
She has not really walked in nearly a month, since she moved to Davis, so I suppose her body is out of shape, as she used to walk around the lagoon at the mobile home park every day. I suggested that we walk every day for 5 minutes and see how long it took to get to 6 minutes and beyond. Tomorrow we are going to walk from her patio to each of the other 2 gardens at Atria. This should be easy because there are places to sit in each garden.