Polly is barking at me. Not loudly. Not the bark-bark-bark-feed-me-now bark that I get before her breakfast and before her dinner, but just an annoying yip....yip....yip.
It's her way of telling me that it's 10 p.m. and she wants me to go to the living room to go to sleep now.
Polly and I have different internal clocks, and even though we have been having these conversations for more than a year now we still have not come to an agreement about a lot of things.
The dogs are very good about letting me sleep in the morning. It's no great inconvenience for them, since I usually wake up around 6:30 or 7. If it's earlier rather than later, I move to the recliner. This used to be a difficult time because I wasn't really ready to start the day, but I would like to go to the computer, but if I go to the computer, that signals the dogs that it's MORNING!
Now that I have an iPad, I climb into the recliner, open the back door so they can go out. I quietly check e-mail and Facebook on my iPad. I am aware that while I am otherwise motionless, both Polly and Lizzie check on me from time to time. If I stay very still, they both find somewhere to sleep.
The second I touch the handle of the recliner to lower the footrest Polly lets out a trumpeting bark. This bark brings the other dogs racing from wherever they are, living room or back yard. I haven't figured out if the bark is "dog" for "She's UP" or "It's time for breakfast!" or both. When I bend over to pick up Sheila's bowl, Polly sets up a continuous bark, a circle dance all the while backing in front of me into the kitchen. As I turn to put Sheila's bowl on the counter and pick up the other two both Polly and Lizzie are leaping at my legs, stopping only when I start to put food into the bowls, and add cottage cheese and stir them up.
Things quiet down while the dogs eat and are generally pretty quiet most of the day. Occasionally Polly and Lizzie will start barking at the dog in the yard behind us. Then I go to the back door, call them and they both whirl around and come racing in at top speed (one of these days I'm going to be successful at catching that on video because it's so cute). I give them each a small treat for being such good dogs and coming when called (ignoring what bad dogs they are for barking!)
All three dogs get their required 13 hour nap, broken up a bit by trips to the back yard, but always back inside. For Lizzie and Polly sleep is the order of the day, for Sheila it is "protecting the house," from either the front couch or her bed in the back yard.
Polly's orders start again around 5 p.m. I've been fairly rigid about feeding everyone when Jeopardy is over--and they know it because as soon as the "think" music begins, Polly is standing in front of my chair with that quiet "yip ... yip" reminding me that it's time. But any time I get up out of any chair between 5 and 7, both Lizzie and Polly start dancing around me, and Polly yapping, but I ignore them. I have to be the boss sometime, you know.
At 7, they get fed, again with yipping and jumping, and then things calm down until around 10. The dogs really want me to sleep at 10 and I am not ready to go to sleep until midnight (or later). Polly will stand here whining and whining and whining. I decide to let her outside, but she runs in the direction of the living room instead, but when she realizes I'm not going to follow her, she runs outside, and for a long time just wanders around, but eventually stands on the patio and yips quietly...hoping I'll get up and go to sleep.
The longer I'm with these guys the more I begin to understand "dog" and the better we hone our interactions and get the routine around here down to a firmer schedule.
I had another good visit with my mother today, who managed to get herself to the hairdressers without me. I suggested to the hairdresser that she call her to remind her which, apparently she did (my mother remembers that she received a call).
She talked at length about how satisfied she is at Atria. She said she was afraid she might be bored, but if she feels bored she either walks down and works the puzzle in the meeting area or she goes out and sits in the lobby and sooner or later there will be someone she can talk to.
We talked about how Ed had brought papers for her to sign so he can go ahead with the sale of her house and she says, again, that she can't remember what the place looked like.
Dear God keep her healthy for awhile. If she doesn't fall or develop some sort of infection, she could have several happy years at Atria, now that she feels like it is "home" And it only took two months.
I'm reading another book on Alzheimers and other dementias and it is loaded with valuable information, which I hope to be following up on, specifically first getting her to a doctor to get her level of impairment measured as a baseline.