Tom's birthday is today and anybody who has followed this journal for any length of time may remember that he and Walt's sister's husband always host a huge beach barbeque to celebrate. They go to Costco and heap 2 big carts with all sorts of meats and condiments, take over a BBQ section of the beach in Santa Barbara and some 50-60 people come, bring side dishes and have a big celebration. I go to the store and get a big cake.
With the granddaughters growing up and having their own activities, it conflicts with the normal time schedule. Brianna's soccer team qualified for the finals in San Diego and so having the picnic on the weekend of the 4th was not going to happen.
Instead, the picnic is going to be next Sunday (the 8th) so instead of being in Santa Barbara over the 4th, we are driving down today and have to return on Monday, since I have a show to review on Tuesday night.
As usual, Ashley and her wonderful husband (and now their son Gabe) will be taking care of Polly. Polly has been so tolerant of Jeri and Ned lately that I hope she will finally be tolerant of Ashley too.
BUT, each time I go to Santa Barbara and fire up the ancient laptop, it is SO terribly slow and so frustrating that I end up pulling my hair out.
SO here's the deal. I am going to write the journal articles daily, as I usually do, but I am not going to post them until Monday night, after we get home. I will write a generic entry with that message to post while we're away, and then after I get home you'll get all the entries and the photos and everything else. I will sleep better that way!
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I haven't been to Atria since Jeri left. The thought of walking that l-o-n-g hall was just painful and I knew that she would not remember how long I'd been there anyway, but I wanted to be sure to see her before we left for Santa Barbara, so Walt and I went to Atria to have lunch with her today.
The aide who let us in said that she was dressed, but she didn't want to get up for breakfast, so she was still in bed. She was sound asleep when we got there. So sound asleep it was almost impossible to wake her, but Walt (lord, was he a godsend today!) was able to get her to come to consciousness, but she woke up calling for "Mommy." (which in itself is unusual because she frequently asks abut her mother, but usually calls her Mom, so I guess she was even younger in her mind today).
She was totally out of it, but Walt eventually got her to a sitting up position. I sat next to her and she grabbed my hand and kept crying "Mommy, take me home!" She never actually looked at me and had no reaction to "your daughter" or "Beverly" but she did finally look at me when Walt asked her who I was and her face was blank when she said she didn't know who I was.
She said she needed something to wash her face, so Walt found a washcloth, got it wet, brought it in to her and she screamed "take it away!" It was wet and he was torturing her.
She, who absolutely hates doctors, said she needed to see a doctor, but couldn't tell me where it hurt.
She said she was going to fall over.
At one point I decided we should just let her lie down again and go home, but when she got onto her pillow, she yelled and got up again. Walt got her shoes on her and we got her standing up and walked her to the dining room. While I was struggling to get up out of the chair I was sitting in, she glared at me and said "aren't YOU going to do anything?" (Most coherent sentence she had uttered to that point!)
We got her to the dining room and they sat us at a table in the adjacent room, where we could sit together. Our first course, a nice corn chowder was served. Lemme tell you, the one thing you NEVER have to worry about at the memory unit is burning your tongue on food that is too hot. Tepid is the usual temperature of everything, though it is tasty.
But as she started getting something into her (especially coffee), she began to be a little more alert.
There is always music playing in the background and the song that was playing was "You picked the wrong time to leave me, Lucille" (I guess the title of it is probably "Lucille") by Kenny Rogers. Walt checked Shazam to check on who was singing. I thought that he had connected with Shazam too late because the song was just ending. But then it started up again...and again...and again. The song played so often that I fear it is going to be an ear worm for a long time!
The aide said my mother ate more than she normally does--and she finished it all. A good All American meal of hot dogs, mac 'n' cheese, potato salad, corn, chili and topped off with a slice of apple pie. She finished everything and though still confused, she was at least out of her delusions and no longer asking when her mother was going to come and see her.
Tony came by while we were eating and gently smoothed the hair out of her eyes. He also gave me his usual stare, which always unnerves me. I was afraid he was going to lean down and kiss me.
We moved to the community room, where they put on a Lawrence Welk program of patriotic music and my mother kept looking around. I know she was looking for Tony. She sat with us for about 10 minutes, then got up without a word and walked out. This is her new way of ending a visit these days, but it was a positive thing because she was sure footed and single minded and that was a total difference from what she had been an hour before.
We didn't wait for her to return, because I knew she would not return. Walt went to her apartment to get my purse and said when he got there he found Loretta, her neighbor, sitting in a chair there. Loretta and my mother have dementia that has worsened at about the same level. Walt just chatted with her and left her there.
Walt went and got the car and I went and sat outside waiting for him, realizing as soon as I got into the chair I chose that it was a mistake. It was too low and I knew I would not be able to get up. Walt had to help lift me up, which is so embarrassing. I sure hope this knee business gets better soon! I DID get both legs into the car unaided today, though, which is great progress.
Walt was such a good guy today and I was so grateful he was with me.