Posts tagged ‘alzheimer’s’

February 9, 2011

I Left My Purse At Brats Brothers

Yesterday was a challenge.

One of the duties I have at my son’s preschool is to go out into the community and solicit donations for the annual fundraiser. Last Friday I called Brats Brothers about a possible donation and the owner told me to stop  in on Tuesday afternoon to talk more. Tuesdays my mom is with me.

So it’s about time to go over to Brats Brothers and I have the following caregiver dilemma: my dad is at a meeting, my brother can’t come over, and my husband is working on two deadlines… I take my mom and the kids and make the meeting, or go another time and risk looking flaky? My mom had been off and on crazy and emotional all day, so I hand her a small glass of wine, get the kids dressed, and decide to make the meeting.

We head over to Brats Brothers and the owner is amazing, not only is he willing to donate to our event, he whips us up a sample platter, AND it turns out he used to be an architect! So of course we hit it off, chatting about the state of the architectural business; meanwhile my kids are puttering around the restaurant and my mom is, well, at first she was smiling but after a couple minutes of me gabbing with the owner she is now scowling, at him!  I whisper to him that she has dementia and he smiles and tells me his father is also suffering with it.

Skip ahead a few minutes, we are waiting for the sample platter and my mom is now pacing the restaurant angrily. Between watching the kids and calming her down, I try to hold a conversation with the staff members so we don’t look like a freak show. At one point I take her outside to try to reason with her but she is on the verge of tears. Finally I go inside and ask if we can take the sample to go, and the owner understandingly says, “No problem!”. A minute later we hightail it out of there and I avoid a major mom meltdown in public.

We head back to the house and my dad has just come to pick my mom up, my husband is taking out the trash and asks me for something out of my purse…my purse, my purse it’s in the car, right? Uh, no…’s nowhere to be found so it must be, OMG at Brats Brothers! Haven’t I caused enough commotion there for one day? My son and I head back over there where my purse is waiting. Once again I explain about my mom and once again the owners are nice and understanding.

The point of this story? Even though things are stressful, most people have a lot of empathy (or sympathy) for our situation. That goes for strangers, co-workers, fellow families at my son’s school. I don’t know if secretly people are ready to run away from us but outwardly their show of support and understanding is amazingly comforting. Thank you!

BTW the brats were amazing!

February 6, 2011

I Know They Mean Well….

I know people mean well when they give me advice or ask questions about my mom. I try to be open because I often don’t know the right thing to say to people in tough situations and have put my foot in my mouth enough times to get a taste of the pavement. But in all honesty there are a few questions/comments that drive me bananas.

I’ll post about the first one here, it goes something like this, “Beyond forgetting things, what else does Alzheimer’s do?” Hmmmmmmmmmm where to begin, forgetting what you did yesterday or what you had for lunch does seem harmless, but forgetting how to use the restroom, how to read, how to use a fork, how to even speak, well, it impairs your whole life.

At the beginning when my mom was just really forgetful we found a way to deal with the seemingly minute problems associated with memory loss. When she forgot to turn off the faucet and flooded the bathroom at work TWICE, we installed an automatic shut-off faucet, when she stored raw chicken in the fruit bowl, we politely threw it in the trash and cleaned up the sticky bowl. But as her condition progresses forgetting impairs every aspect of her life, she can’t dress herself, bathe herself, prepare food, put on a seatbelt or open a car door. And soon I know she will forget even the things she can do now, like call me by name, laugh, feed herself, draw…..

So while the question is well meaning, think through what you can do without any form of memory. You are pretty much left with nothing.