DATELINE: October 29; Lady Proverbs, somewhere on the Oregon Coast
Even though I pride myself on being Ms. Highly Adaptable High Tolerance for Change gal, I’ve even been having a bit of a rough stretch. But in trying to parse it all out, I realized that more than the change are the emotions and human connections that are changing. Dementia Mom is top of the list. The change in the person she was, the fear and confusion she feels, the loss so gaping where her husband (my Dad) of 69 years was until he died the day the Governor shut down the state due to COVID. Poor mama. What a fucking year she finds herself in, in her 91st year on the earth. The little Nebraska girl who fled the Dust Bowl for the green fields of Oregon.
When Mama hurts her baby chicks hurt and us “kids” pretty much have constant stomach aches when Mom Hyde appears out of nowhere and Mom Jeckle is no where to be found. My stress goes straight to my bowels (sorry for the visual), so I’m reading a lot lately poised over my flushable throne. Smithsonian magazine and Oprah mag are my two preferred periodicals.
Dementia Mom has been amazingly transformed back into herself over the last week, more or less, sometimes less, by a seemingly miracle drug also used on those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. The two previous drugs didn’t touch her issues, and the poor thing imagined all kinds of crazy shit, ran down the hallway of her senior apartment complex semi-nude, threatened her version of violence, thought she was being kidnapped, that her room number signage was stolen and a new sign saying “Rest in Peace” had replaced it. It’s scary to see, nausea inducing shit storm and Mama Bear right in its vortex, spinning out of control. Fuck.
Memory care decisions are underway, but COVID makes it suck more because we won’t be able to hug her once she crosses the threshold, until the virus is gone or whatever the damn milestone is that will allow the elderly their last pleasure in life, that of their family (well, except for those who have dysfunctional families). God-damnit some people are suffering, dragging a fucking cross across their last years of life when it was supposed to be low and slow and full of grandkids visiting and visits to the kids’ houses once in awhile when she was doing good, and activities with her age cohort, reminiscing and singing and doing Tai Chi together, all trying to remember in unison what fucking day it is.
It makes my silly transition to retirement and living in a new place and all that stuff seem minute and very easy. And it is. Go, Mama Bear, go.