Saturday, December 13, 2014

Get Me to the Couch on Time

I didn't stay long at my mother's this morning.  She had called in a panic because she was going to have to wear her underwear for a second day.  I told her I had all her clean laundry and was bringing it to her this morning.

On the way to her apartment, I passed Elise's apartment.  Elise is 98 and doubled over from that old age hump that I am in the process of getting.  Her door was open and I could see she was sorting her laundry, getting ready to take it a few steps to the washing machine to wash it.

My mother was delighted to see me and apologized over and over again for making me do her washing, but she just didn't want to wear dirty underwear.  I told her if she got desperate she could walk a few steps to the washing machine and do the washing herself...or I could get the crippled 98 year old to show her how to do it.  She pretended she had not heard me.

I'm afraid my 3+ weeks at Mallard Point did bad things to me.  Many of the people there seem to be in worse physical condition than those at Atria, yet you met all of them, sooner or later, washing their clothes.

My mother is 95, physically in better shape than I am, and does nothing all day long.  It's not that I mind doing things for her, but I am starting to get angry for doing her laundry when she could do it easily herself.
Later, we were talking about something and I mentioned the rain yesterday.  She was surprised.  It rained yesterday?  She knew nothing about it.

She sits in a chair all day long staring out a window, she says she watches the news, and the stormageddon has been banner headlines in the paper she reads "cover to cover" every day, but she had no idea it had rained all. day. yesterday.

I know that's her dementia, but washing her clothes isn't necessarily tied to her dementia.  I am angry with myself that I am starting to be mad at her for her refusal to take responsibility for anything in her life.  

I pointed out to her that she really needed a haircut.  She got that coy smile she uses when you know she isn't going to do anything and she said "I'm thinking about it."  I told her she looked terrible, like the Wicked Witch of the West.  

I decided I'm not going to bug her about her hair.  I'm going to leave it to her to decide when to have it done.  This is the woman who had her hair done every week before she moved to Davis.  Who always looked like a model, with never a hair out of place.  Now it's long and stringy and fly-away.  She looks like my only memory of my great grandmother, whose appearance terrified me.  And it makes me angry that she doesn't care.

If I make a big deal out of it she will just sign and say "you know...when you're pushing hunnert...." and use that as her excuse for doing NOTHING.

My appointment with a therapist is on Monday and believe me it can't come soon enough.  I have to reach mental peace with my mother or our last years together are going to be terrible.  I need a place to get out all the anger and frustration I feel about her in a safe environment and learn coping skills.  

I thought I had them and though I got frustrated with her, things were more or less OK until I went to Iowa.  But seeing all those old people caring for themselves made me look at my mother in a different light and I don't like the light I'm seeing her in.

I need help if I'm to get through her last years without ruining our 71 year relationship.

In other news, I took my desktop computer to my guru, who did NOT make me feel like an idiot (yet), but he did talk to me about something called "virtual computer," which would make it possible for me to get a newer computer and still run the programs I rely on which aren't compatible with the newer operating systems.


Medical Librarian said...

If this is possible financially, would it help to hire someone a few hours a week to do her laundry and some light cleaning? That would take some pressure off of you.

Bev Sykes said...

House cleaning comes with her rent, fortunately. They will also do her laundry, but she does not trust them, so needs for us to do it. (Laundry was a HUGE deal for us when she moved in. Even when I did it, she didn't recognize her clothes and would take them to the front desk to throw away...even when I told her that the things were tings I BOUGHT FOR HER!)

Bev Sykes said...

Fortunately she now recognizes her laundry when I leave it in a laundry basket and not in a pile of folded clothes on her bed)

Medical Librarian said...

Oh, okay. I'm sorry laundry is a focus for her. I was hoping you could get some relief.