Saturday, August 2, 2008

Who's on First? and Other Dramatic Discoveries

She seems confused.

I’m sick of this comment. For the simple reason, the people who mouth the comment are comfortable in their environment. No fish outta water here, Nope, they talk in medical jargon, expecting folks to understand, I do, but perhaps a scared, pissy, 78 year old woman who is afraid she’ll never be able to go home to her moldy home does not.

It just goes to prove: You really NEVER know where someone is coming from.

We are all just different enough that we connect briefly with each other, but not totally.

She is confused.

So would you be if sections of your mind were stuck in the dream land that you find so compelling. So utterly fascinating that it seems like a really great novel, captivating you enough that you don’t want to set it down. And then a portion of your mind is hollering for you to get up and have your temperature taken. Big deal.

You know she is confused.

I see and hear the weird stuff that sometimes comes out of her mouth, her eyes are not focused on your face, they are focused on the bed sheets, staring at them but not really seeing them. Confusion? Nah, she’s more absorbed in her own thoughts, her own day, her own conversations in where the subject is about her, the entire content is about her, there is no one else really. Me, me, totally Me. So the confusion really folks, is yours. Yours because you’ve no idea where she is. So when she speaks and it seems out of context, snap to it Preppy – follow along please, what the hell are you???? Confused?

Mom: I think I ordered fish tonight, I’m so hungry, I don’t know why I’m eating so much here, so much and so fast. I ordered fish, I don’t fix fish at home for myself, and their fish is really good here, I had some a few days ago. Wait until you see it.

Me: (looking up from the book I’m reading) They went upstairs to get your tray, it’ll be here soon.

Mom: I hope I ordered fish. I had pot roast for lunch, and angel food cake. I remember ordering fish, so it must be coming for dinner.

Here comes the tray, she is so excited, as if lunch wasn’t a mere 5 hours ago, as if this were a 5 ***** restaurant, as if she herself were 5.

Mom: Look Jacquelyn, (yeah, my mom calls me Jacquelyn mostly) this looks like chicken.

She asks me to cut up her salad for her and hands me the utensils, she’s getting tired now. The move to a new floor, Rehab, and the excitement of a shower, the prospect of fish…too much for her.

Mom: The chicken here is so good too. So flavorfull, so moist. It’s just that I had myself set on fish.
She looks at the slip of paper that is delivered with each meal, it’s a computer print out of what you have ordered from the hospital menu the day before. It says clearly, COD.

Mom: I did order fish, it says here COD. I hope I get Cod tomorrow, because now I have to eat this chicken when I wanted Cod.

Me: But you said the chicken was good. ( I notice she can barely talk between bites she is shoveling it in so fast)

Mom: I wonder if the Cod went to someone else and I have their chicken. They are eating my Cod. I wanted Cod. I ordered fish. The fish here is so good, and they give you a lot, two huge pieces or one big one.

Me: That’s good, eat your chicken Ma, maybe you can get fish tomorrow. The peaches look really good too. (????)

Mom: It’s just that I had my heart set on that Cod. See here, I told you I ordered Cod, I circled it yesterday. I couldn’t remember if I ordered it for lunch or for dinner, but I knew I ordered it.

The nurses asst. steps in to check on her, and asks are you settling in ok?

Mom: They didn’t bring my right tray, they gave my Cod to someone else and I had to have chicken.

Me: MOM, Let Go of the COD. You can have fish another day. This chicken was tasty and moist and good.

Mom: Oh, yeah, I know. (She nods and finishes her peaches with a renewed zeal)

Where is the confusion? There is none. Her world is so small, so contained, so precise. When she is out of her element, she is doubting herself, and she speaks it aloud. Everyone around her acts as though she isn't present, speaks about her, not to her, and speaks to me as if she isn't there. She feels that they THINK she is losing her mind. I think they pass judgement on the elderly. I think it is they who are confused and don't quite know what is going on. Their world moves at a quicker pace as caregivers, with many patients and very little time to get into the space of just one of them. Can't they see that she's not a sharp 30 year old? That her hearing is impaired, that her mind is repeating the thought again in fragments, so that she can absorb the entire thought and not forget it? And she's doing it aloud, for everyone's benefit. So that you can judge for yourself that she is full of self doubt, but bringing it right back around to victory! She is indeed correct.

Who is confused?


Lisa said...

Your mom is blessed to have a daughter like you who understands what's going on. With you standing up for her, she is sure to feel more peace about all that's going on.

Susan said...

I think I'm seeing the future in your writings. My own mother passed a long time ago, but my MIL is 81 and FIL is 78. I can see these same kinds of scenarios happening with them. MY FIL will be the one to drive me crazy rather than MIL. He already does with his incessant talking, talking, talking. I feel for you, my dear. Keep your chin up. You are a wonderful advocate for your mom. Hugs

Melanie said...

Your mother is blessed to have you. You have captured in words exactly what I've felt a time or two with my aging parents, and have never been able to form my feelings into words. Thank you for being so open about what you are going through with your mother. I find it touching.

P.S. Thank you for visiting my little blog and supporting me with a comment!

My Wonderful Men said...

it's so sad, but your mom is blessed to have you there watching over her.

Mimi's Toes said...

Oh, I really liked this post so much. It really brings tears to my eyes. I have aging parents and I am the only child in the area, so I will be the one to take care of them. You are a wonderful daughter to be there by her side. I know it gets tiring when you have your own life. God bless you and your mom.

JackeeG4glamorous said...

Thank you all for your support. I hate to be a downer on my blog. But I think that between all the mommy blogs, we all have to remember the elderly - and the middle aged too. We're all going to experience this issue.