Friday, October 21, 2016


One of the things that is hardest about mom's Alzheimer's is how it makes me feel about her; tired, guilty, annoyed, angry and helpless.

Today, for example, mom got up with the sun. She started knocking on my back door every 4 minutes (not an exaggeration--really every 4 minutes) starting at 6:45 a.m. When she first moved here, I would run to the door every time she knocked. I finally realized she has no impulse control. She wants to tell me something and she comes over. Sometimes she wants to tell me that she is from Beattyville, KY.

At 6 a.m.

So now, I don't run to the door. I peep out the window to make sure she's ok, and I let her go home disappointed.

She doesn't remember, always. Sometimes, she does. Sometimes she says, "I came over this morning and you weren't home." I am honest, I say "I heard someone knocking, but when I looked at the clock, it was too early for callers, so I didn't get up out of bed." She's always very apologetic about waking me, but she'll do it again tomorrow. And I feel annoyed and guilty.

She has a white board in her kitchen that I write on every night for the next day, telling her exactly what is happening on that day. Today the board said "Curtis will be over at 9 am" That's later than usual, but both my kids are out of town and I wanted bit of a lie in. Being at mom's at 9 still means I'm up at 7:30, because I have to do my morning chores before I go over--because, mom is a time eater.

This morning, the plan was that I would go over at 9, read the paper, drink some coffee, get her started on her housework and go to my house by 10:30. I put the list of stuff she wants to get done on the white board, and she crosses each thing off as she finishes. Vacuum, dust mop and make the bed are on the list today. And go to the pool, at 2:30

She reads the board, and goes into a freak about the pool. She says. "I don't have a suit, and I can't swim. I would never go in the water. I am too fat and too old to go to the pool."
I ignore the swimming and the fat/old thing and jump on the thing I can fix.
I say "you do have a bathing suit. Its cute, navy blue with polka dots. You just wore it to the pool last week."

She says, "Oh no, I can't swim, I would never go in the water."

I say, "you went in the water, because its so hot, and because you were with me. I'm a great swimmer, and I would never let you drown."

She says, "Is that me?" pointing to a person in the background of the picture, a young blonde woman wearing a two piece, walking around the edge of the pool.

I say "No, you're in the water, here, next to me. See how you have those pool noodles under your arm? and see your pretty bathing suit?"

She says, " I don't think I have that suit anymore." and she sounds angry, "This is an old picture." She hands me back the phone.

I say, "Last week isn't so long ago, I bet you have your suit hanging up in the bathroom. Let's lay it out for this afternoon, so you won't worry."

We start looking. An hour later, we find her suit hanging up, on a hanger, in the front hall coat closet.I have no idea what connections in her head made that the place to keep a bathing suit, but I'll look there first, next time. She holds the suit up and looks at.

She says "It looks like a suit for a fat person, with that bubble top. I'm not fat, I walk three miles a day."

I say, "This can't be the suit of a fat person, because its your suit, and you're just a slip of a thing."

She says "I love it when you say that, I feel slimmer already. But I haven't walked yet today."

I say "I know, but today its so hot, we're going to go walk in the pool. The water resistance is good for your muscles, and the sunshine gives us vitamin D. So, I'll be back over at 2:30, when the sun is a little past it's peak, because I am a fair skinned girl, not like you, you brown berry!"

She laughs, "I know, in the summer, its hard to tell if I've scrubbed myself clean, I get so tan"

"I know," I say, "I'll see you later, we have to get our housework done, so we can play."

She says, following me to the door, "It says on the board we're going swimming, but I don't have a bathing suit."

Sigh. tired, and guilty

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