Today I picked my mother up at Atria to take her to a doctor's appointment. She was sitting at lunch with this gentleman, her friend Loretta, and another man.
The last time I was at Atria, we passed this guy in the hall and one of the aids told me "they really love each other." From my very brief interaction with him today, I am guessing that he is at about the same level of Alzheimers, in other words, totally inarticulate and unable to be understood. He didn't seem to understand that I was her daughter.
I made the mistake of asking the other guy, of indeterminate age, if he was Loretta's son, which everyone found very funny. Then I realized he's the guy I see sitting in the community room with her, often with his arm around her shoulders.
Hmmm...romance in the home? Whoda thunk.
It wouldn't surprise me. Those Scott women loved their men, from Aunt Mel, married 13 times to 12 different men, and all the others with multiple marriages (but none beat Mel's record). When my mother's sister Barb was in her own "home," she had gentlemen callers and her husband was angry when he discovered some man's clothes in her dresser. But my mother was never happy without a man to take care of -- whether a romantic interest or just a friend. So if she has developed a male friend, that will help make her happier.
They had called me on Friday to say that her arm was hurting a lot ("burning all the way up to her shoulder") and thought she should see a doctor. So I made an appointment for today. When I saw she was at lunch, with her back to me, I snuck down to her apartment to get a jacket for her. I've discovered she seems to have a whole new wardrobe. Obviously the aids can't keep track of whose clothes are whose, but given that most people can't remember their names, let alone identify their own clothes, it's not a biggie...and she is finally not wearing the same clothes for weeks on end. It's kind of funny given how she was giving away her clothes when she first moved to Atria four years ago because she didn't recognize them and didn't want anybody to accuse her of wearing their clothes.
The jacket I found for her is one I had never seen before, but there were no other jackets in her closet and this one was nice and warm, so I chose it, since it was in the 50s outside. When I told one of the aids that I was taking her to have her arm checked because of the pain she said she didn't understand that because she hadn't complained of pain all weekend. Sigh.
The visit with the doctor went exactly as I knew it would -- she feels fine, no she doesn't have any pain. Fortunately, as the doctor was winding up her exam, my mother grabbed her wrist and said "ooo...that hurts."
But the report was that it's normal, it will take time for the pain to subside and if Atria thought she needed more than Tylenol, they could call and she would prescribe something stronger.
This was kind of a difficult day. For one thing she thought I was her sister. At one point she said "I don't think Mom knows where I am, so the next time you talk to her, will you let her know where I am and what I'm doing?" She was also disquieted because "something's wrong" and she can't figure it out. This is a recording.
Lately she has been having more and more trouble word-finding, so when she started looking for her "stash" I had to try and figure out that she meant "purse." That was not the only confusion. But a big problem is that she has started speaking so low that I can't hear her....and I didn't wear my hearing aids today. I can't ask her to repeat what she is saying to me because within a minute after she asks me something, she forgets what it was she asked me about. So mostly we just sat in silence.
She goes back to Kaiser next week for an eye exam and bone density exam, which will be fun because the eye exam is in Davis at 1:50 and her bone density exam is in Vacaville at 3:30. But then, unless she falls and hurts herself again, I think we are finished with doctors for awhile.