Monday, March 9, 2015


First, a suggestion.  If you can't get the latest entry on the index page, can you get it if you go to the last entry it shows and then click on "Journal Home" at the bottom of the page? For some reason that has worked for me the last couple of days.

I had the best lunch with my mother the other day.  I love days like that.

It didn't start out that way.  It was the day I take her the next week's medicine doses.  I noticed she needed a refill of two of her prescriptions. I started to fill out the order and realized that I needed her credit card number.  I used to have all of the information I needed on my computer, but since the computer died, I have to re-gather it all.

So I called her and asked her if she could read her Visa card number to me.  She came back and read me the number.  I asked for the expiration date.  She told me there was no expiration date.  Then I found out she had read her Social Security number, not her visa card number.  So I tried to explain to her where she could find her Visa card.  I had put it in a zipper section of her purse so I would know where it was next time we went to Kaiser.

She was gone so long I almost hung up, convinced that she forgot I was on the phone, but eventually she came back and said she had looked EVERYWHERE and it was. not. there.

I explained once again that there was a zipper section, that I had put it there the day before, and she should open it up. She opened it up and said "all that is in there is money."  That's when I realized she was looking in her wallet, not her purse.  I tried once again and she couldn't find it, so I said that I would find it when I got there.

When I arrived at her apartment, she had laid out everything from her purse neatly on the bed and said "go ahead and see if you can find it."  I brought the purse into the living room, opened up the zippered section and there was the card.  I showed her where the "zippered section" was and she said she guessed she was just stupid.  Oh dear.

Well, with the crisis passed, we headed off to the restaurant.  We had ordered, but not received our lunch yet when Loretta came in.  I just love Loretta.  She has a wicked sense of humor and her dementia is about at the same stage my mother's is and the two of them have a great time teasing each other. (They even recognized each other out of Atria, when they ran into each other at Kaiser on Wednesday)

It gets even better when they both have a glass of wine, which they did.  They just became silly and what's great is that they are so aware (as much as they can be) that their brains don't work that I can tease them both about it and we all laugh.

I feel sorry for Loretta, though.  She is a retired teacher, an artist,  and a widow and has two sons, one of whom lives in Davis.  The other one lives "somewhere in the midwest" (she couldn't remember where) and I gather she hasn't had contact with him in awhile.  But her Davis son fetches and carries for her, the way I do for my mother.  He had come that morning, for example, to pick up her laundry and wash it for her.

But the sad thing is that he is in denial about her condition and doesn't believe that she is as bad as she is.  He accuses her of "faking it" in order to get attention.  I wish I could give him some of the books I've been reading.  I have been sad about my mother's condition for several years, but I have never thought she was faking it and watching the two of them together, there should be no doubt about Loretta's condition.  They are both highly functional and able to live independently, but Loretta probably couldn't find her visa card either if I tried to get the number from her!

To compound the dementia, she was in an auto accident a few years ago which left her with a head injury that took the vision out of her right eye (the lens of her glasses is painted over with something like clear nail polish...and it looks the way I see when I look through my own right lens!)  You'd think that even she doesn't have dementia, he should realize that what is going on with her could possibly be a result of head trauma.

But my favorite days with my mother are days when we are with Loretta.  She is one of the few people at Atria with whom she can knowingly socialize.  As we sat there after our desserts were finished and they were both polishing off their wine, all three of us laughing and laughing, I remembered the three women I saw sitting in the dining room at the place where she almost moved to in Petaluma.  That was the day I thought to myself "This is what she needs!"

Well, with Loretta, it's what she has and I'm so glad I was able to share it with them.  I hope her son joins us some day.....

No comments: