Our friend Arthur Sullivan celebrated his 95th birthday a year ago today, surrounded by friends and family. We knew that we were there to celebrate...and say goodbye...he died a couple of months later.
What a sweet man he was....one of the Lamplighter friends I had known the longest, 40 years or so. Everyone who knew Arthur loved him.
But speaking of 90-something year olds, I had not gone to Atria for a couple of days. She doesn't notice any more, so I don't push myself as much any more, which is lovely. It means that when I do go, I enjoy it more. Usually. And it seems that every visit is different from every other one.
I had thought of going for lunch, but got an email from the entertainment editor of the Sacramento paper asking where my "stage pick" article was for the upcoming Sound of Music. I had completely forgotten to write one, so I did that first, and by then it was too late for lunch, so I waited around until 1:30 and then went to Atria.
It's always a good sign when her newspaper has been taken in. That means she's up and functioning.
Only she wasn't. She was awake, but still sitting on her bed reading. There was no walker in the apartment and no sign of any food. She was wearing her pajama tops and her underpants. She asked what I was doing there and I told her I had come to visit and asked if she wanted to sit there on the bed or if she wanted to go into the living room.
She stood up and I assumed she would get dressed and join me in the living room. She joined me, but she didn't get dressed, just sat there in her pajamas and underwear.
We talked for awhile and an aid came in with her lunch on a tray (her bill, which I received recently, shows that she has discovered room service and she seems to be eating in her room a lot). She had a memory retention of about 10 seconds yesterday. Every tie she glanced at the tray, she didn't know what it was or where it had come from.
There were men working out in the courtyard, as they have been for months. They are finally getting closer to finish, but she always thinks they are just there for the day. She told me that they had put in a new pathway yesterday (they actually did it two years ago)
The men came up on her patio to begin painting and there she sits in her underwear. I shut the curtains and suggested she really should go and get dressed, so she got up, went into her bedroom, and came out tugging on a blouse, which she was trying to pull on over her pajamas. Then she sat down, again still in her underwear. I asked why she didn't put on some pants. She said she didn't have any and covered her bare legs with a blanket.
I went and got a pair of slacks for her and she laid them on top of her legs, hanging down over her knees and asked if that's what I wanted or if she should also cover her legs with the blanket.
I told her I wanted her to put her legs in the pants, which she finally did.
The food tray had a plate with a hamburger on it, and two covered cups, one with coffee and one with soup. Each time she looked at at the tray she wondered where it had come from and asked what was in the cups. She opened each one and sniffed one. She didn't want the coffee because it was black. She would cover both cups up again, look away, then look back and open them up again to see what was inside. She did this several times.
She did finish the hamburger and took the plate out to the kitchen, then later walked out in the kitchen to ask who had put the plate there.
As for our conversation, I couldn't get her into talking about the past today. She has completely forgotten about her husband Fred, which always hurts my heart because she loved him so much but now her husband memories are mostly about my father.
It was a day when she wanted to know if I was going dancing. My god how many times did she ask me if I was going dancing and why I was not. She couldn't seem to comprehend that the last time I was dancing was 13 years ago, at Tom and Laurel's wedding (she didn't remember who Tom was).
That's kind of how the whole visit went. She was feeling some discomfort in her leg but she has stopped acting like she's in agony, so I assume that the pain med is working, though I think one of the effects of the med is this new mental state of hers. It makes visits more pleasant, if....weird.
Like I said, you no longer know what to expect when you open that apartment door. But the good thing is that she now seems happy more than she seems unhappy and that is a very pleasant change. But who knows how long that is going to last.
I feel uncomfortable going of this coming weekend to Santa Barbara, but Walt will come and visit her and Ned will come and visit her, and knowing that aids from Atria visit her several times a day is very, very comforting. and, in truth being somewhere where I can't go to visit her will be really nice for a few days.
Yesterday was Tom and Laurel's 13th anniversary, which is difficult to believe that it has been that long. I told them I will take them out to dinner, if we can find time when I am there this weekend. I am very eager to see the girls again.