My mother has various personas that appear from time to time. Recently, it has been the slightly paranoid, slightly crazy, highly agitated momma that has met me when I have come to the nursing home. Believe me, that is not the momma you want to have greet you. No matter what I say, I cannot convince her that whatever the issue is, from not being able to go in her room, to people coming to take away her bed, to a giant storm that is brewing, that none of these things, no matter how untrue, can I deter her from believing.
It is extremely frustrating. There was a time when I could get her to follow my logic and focus if I discussed her great-granddaughter Jordyn or perhaps getting her hair done. At this moment, I am the only person she knows and pretty much recognizes. Can you imagine out of all the hundreds of people you have met and known over 89 years of your life, that you know only one? Even the people she sees every day at the home, she does not know or can’t distinguish between them. I will not go as far as saying it has been very difficult to visit her these last few weeks, but it has.
Yesterday, I walked in to the nursing home to have the staff tell me that my mom was having quite a day. She had been out in the living room/lobby all day long and had been entertaining everyone with her quick wit and humor. My mom has always had a good sense of humor, if you tell her a joke but she has never been the one with the verbal barb or come back. Yesterday she was.
In the morning, she was sitting on the couch with another resident when a visitor from a home health agency showed up with donuts. Quickly she assessed the food offering and said, “we will take two of those over here!” She was always good at ordering food at restaurants (or at least sending back her food when it did not meet her standards). I guess that skill is ingrained in her memory.
As the day progressed, she was on a mission to figure out if I was there yet. So, every possible person coming into the lobby was asked, “Are you Cindy?”. Finally one of the male Hispanic residents walked in. To him, she said, “Well, I know you are not Cindy!”. You have to understand, on most days she seems not even to notice or register anything new going on at all, much less questioning all to find me.
She was dressed in her usual pink but asked her favorite helper, Wanda, if she could not just take off the jacket. She asked her, “this is just much too young a look for me, isn’t it”? Then she proceeded to ask Wanda, who was dressed in a pink floral almost Hawaiian type outfit, if she could please have her clothes. Wanda said no!
When I got there we hung out on the main living room couch with all the other residents for a while. She asked me about Jim and Jay and just seemed to be a little more aware than usual.
Toward the end of our visit, she leaned over and whispered to me, “Can we go outside and smoke something?”. WOW-I am going to assume she was asking about barbecuing or perhaps smoking a side of beef. I told her not right now.
Whatever caused the change to happy momma, I am okay with. Sometimes, you just got to go with the flow!