Alzheimer’s Follies.. Mom, toward the end of the 2d Act

Mom’s meals are being taken to her room now at the assisted living home, instead of her being able to eat in the common dining area. During the last several weeks, she has taken to complaining- constantly and bothersomely to her table mates- about the ‘sameness’ and the quality of the food. The staff is used to those kinds of complaints from Alzheimer’s patients, but Mom has also stopped eating while she is griping, and she was on her way to starving herself right there in the dining room.

So she eats by herself now, or with whoever might be visiting. But she cleans her plate. If there is no one to bitch to, then the brain says, “Eat!”- I guess that’s how it works, I don’t know. And, truth be known (and it’s a hard truth to be known), I don’t care.

I go to see her reluctantly at this point. It’s still four or five times a week, but she thinks each time now that it has been months since she saw me last, so I’m beginning to wonder, what’s the difference? And each visit involves hearing about how the help is stealing her yogurt and cereal. And I’m hearing 3rd stage innuendos about where her pension and Social Security might be “disappearing to.” And the formerly spotless room now needs picked up with more frequency. And she’s been leaving the water running in the bathroom. And, and, and…

I go through the motions with her now, the motions of son to mom, however I remember those to be. Somebody tried to tell me that it was like a parent caring for a small child. That analogy doesn’t work, though. When our kids were at their bad mood worst, with full diapers, earaches, and spilled juice all over the floor, it was still easy to know that tomorrow was another day with all kinds of possibilities. Today, Mom’s tomorrow is just more of the same, minus a few thousand more brain cells.

For several years, I could at least laugh at the foibles of short term memory loss. Being asked if it’s cold outside for the tenth time in an hour, however, doesn’t compare to walking into Mom’s room and having to watch her slowly figure out “who that man is that just came into my room.” She hears what she wants to hear and then starts complaining about her hearing aid as soon as something she doesn’t want to hear is being said. Or she complains because the funnies in the paper aren’t funny anymore then tells me she can’t see anything and “you have got to find time to take me to the eye doctor/ ear doctor,” forgetting the two trips to each we’ve made in the past six months. (“Sorry, nothing we can do.”)


That’s all, just..