Monday, August 3, 2009

Traveling light



I moan to my mother on the telephone about laundry. My mother moans to me on the telephone about Alzheimer’s, my father’s current state of health. It’s a form of international therapy for care givers, the cheap option, the time saving option, the option that relieves us of the problem of actually leaving the house. As we pause for reflection about our lot in life a very small shard of knowledge pokes me in the brain, two inches above my left temple, sharp, pointy with a nasty little thorn on the edge. We say our good byes and hang up.

I hover by the phone and think.

We have been back in the States for a month, four weeks just over, with Nonna, her tiny suitcase and her small collection of personal belongings. I had noticed that she has been more accident prone. I had noticed that her clothing was less than pristine. I had noticed she hadn’t been handing me presents of her clothing to add to the load. I had not connected the dots. I had noticed the lack of complaints, relieved. I had not noticed that her prompt was absent:-

“Why you not change my sheets today?”
“Because I try and stagger the loads.”
“It’s not my turn today?”
“No…..your turn is on Wednesday.”

A two liner exchange imprinted in my inventory of replies but I’ve not used it, not once, in four weeks. I skip along to her room and peek inside. I have not been inside for four weeks. I have respected her privacy or so I thought. Nonna naps on the bed because of a sleepless night. I know it was a sleepless night because I asked how she slept. She replied with the second of her alternating responses:- “me? I always sleep perfectly!” but the coffee machine full of spent grounds doesn’t lie. I watch her sleep, curled over tousled bedclothes. A picture of innocent neglect or overlooked failings. Someone must do something. Something must be done. I am the someone, but what to do? Or maybe, just how and when and which way?

6 comments:

jinksy said...

Sounds like a dilemma to me; good luck with finding the way through - or round - or sideways on, if need be. Ageing relatives are never easy - and I guess at 68 I should know, as I'm rapidly becomeing one, aren't I?

farmwifetwo said...

You're talking to the woman that has trouble sans an accident, remembering to wash her kids' sheets weekly... thanks for the reminder, I'll add it to today's list..sigh :)

I can still send mine home. Yesterday after my SIL took her for supper, they dropped little boys lax off and MIL plopped herself in a chair at the kitchen table. SIL went home... me... I poured her a glass of wine.

I hope she slept b/c she refuses to take anything for it.

I'm not ready to parent dh's parent. I thought I'd have a 10yr or so reprieve before I got that far.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I wish I knew what to suggest. Perhaps a trip to the regular doctor to see if anything else is going on (e.g. sinus infection that might cause sluggishness, restless sleep, or forgetfulness)?

Joeymom said...

The sleep cycle being off may be the diabetes. My mom is having a hell of a time with her sleep. I have no idea what will happen when I finally go- I'm already an insomniac.

***HUGS*** to you and Nonna. Can't hurt to have her checked out, make sure she's not sick. Unusual behavior around here is always a red flag, especially when communication levels are low.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I'm sure you know about it already, but you might find this article useful.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6735083.ece
love BG x

Kaye - SandwichINK said...

Hi, I totally can relate! I once helped care for an aging neighbor. I shopped for her every week and assumed she was doing fine, particularly since she was eating so healthily. When she got sick and had to go to the hospital, I discovered much of the meat I had been buying was still in the freezer. It was at that point I realized other little signs I had missed.

I've had it happen other times as well. There is so much going on in our lives normally, and even more so when we are in the Sandwich Generation, it's really no surprise. Just frustrating that we missed it.

All we can do is keep helping as best we can, and accept those times we can't. :) I'm right there with you trying to convince myself of that :)