My experiences while living with my mother and her Alzheimer's Disease.(her birthdate = January 2, 1925)

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Sometimes I feel like one of the Shoemaker’s Elves. Mama’s cookies got pretty bizarre there for a while. Am not sure why, but she was putting in about a pint of vanilla for every batch. When I tried to stop her from putting in so much, she would fight me. I tried showing her the recipe, and she would elbow me out of the way. People kept taking the cookies because they didn’t want to hurt her feelings. After one bite though I don’t think too many were eaten.

Since Mama wasn’t going to slow down giving away her cookies, I decided I had better step in and help out. I now wait until she has gone to bed, quietly get out all the ingredients, and rush to mix them up before she gets up to see the person she “heard out there.” Many times I have had to meet her in the hallway to deter her from “catching me” making her cookies. I don’t know what she thinks when she opens the freezer the next morning and three new rolls of cookie dough have miraculously appeared. She has never said a word. She just gets the dough out, slices it up, and cooks up those cookies.

She seldom gives me cookies anymore. I wouldn’t eat any of the Vanilla Batch so she got out of the habit of giving them to me. Occasionally she will share some of her cache with me, but I usually just get the crumbs. Tonight she gave me a piece that was about one-sixteenth the size of her regular cookie! Oh, well, I don’t really need any cookies.

Last night Mama pulled the blue glider chair up to the front door so she could get a good view. When I asked her why, she said she was looking for that man. I asked, “What man?” She pointed toward the kitchen and said, “That man said he was coming.” I am still not certain, but I think she must have been talking about the recording on the telephone. I finally got her to go to bed by telling her that I would come get her when that man showed up! Then I went to soak in the tub! Luckily she didn’t get up while I was drowning away my tension.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Have been getting Semester Exams ready for my classes so have not had any extra time. Also I've been trying to get all my papers graded so I do not have to worry with them over the holidays.

Over last weekend, Mama would run into the kitchen and pick up the phone. She had a lovely conversation telling how I had moved back with her, how I go to teach sixth grade, how a lady comes to stay with her when I go to teach, and she gives the lady something (to eat) and she likes it. Then she would ask, "Now what is your name?" The kicker? The phone never rang. She would say hello until the recorded message came on telling her to hang up and try again. She talked through the shrill 'your phone is off the hook' noise and several cycles of the recording. Then she would say, "I love you. It was so good to talk with you."

She must have had this conversation six or eight times.

This morning Penny wanted to spend the morning with her little one as her daycare class was performing at one of the local nursing homes. I forgot to get anyone to stay with Mama so I decided to take her to work with me. Mama did not want to go because she did not want to miss Penny. I told her Penny would pick her up at my school. She fussed, but finally got into the car. We were a little late; but not too bad. The kids have her hugs, and thought they were going to get out of doing lessons. I fooled them, we had our normal lessons with a bit more noise than usual since things weren't normal.

I figured Mama probably needed to go to the bathroom so I had one of my kids escort her to the teacher's restroom so she would not get lost. Mama said she had been there before so knew the way. I had Shinaed take her anyway. I went to check on them and told Shinaed to go back to the room. Mama was gone a good while so I went to check on her. She was toward the back of the room looking confused. I asked her if she was okay, she said she couldn't figure out how to get out. Now, there is only one door other than the door to the restroom, and she couldn't find her way out.

Penny finally came around 11:30 to pick her up. You would have thought her long lost relative had shown up. She grabbed her, hugged her, kissed her, and told her she loved her. I had all the kids line up and give her a goodbye hug. I tried to give her a hug; she shrugged me off, grabbed Penny, and headed out the door. I said, "Well, now we know who she loves the most." The kids just howled. Penny tried to console me, but I was really not upset. I am glad Mama likes her so much. It makes it easier for me to go to work. (Thank you, Penny.)

I was on my way home when my cell phone rang. It was Mama wanting to know if I was coming home. I told her I was on my way. She said, "It would be so good to see you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Thank you. Thank you." When I drove up to the house, she grabbed me, and acted like she hadn't seen me in days and days and days.

She really is a trip!