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

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Thursday evening Mama had trouble settling in for the night. She kept popping up to check out everything or calling, "Come to me. Come to my house. Come to me."

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to lie down with her for a little bit. She was so excited to have me in bed with her that she kept leaning up on her elbow and giving me kisses on my cheeks. I kept trying to calm her by putting my hand on her shoulder or rubbing her arm and back. She kept popping up and giving me kisses and giggling. Every time I would think she was asleep and try to slip out, she would sit up, pat the bed, and say, "Come here!" I felt like I was at a slumber party. I think it was around 4:00 Saturday morning when she finally drifted off to sleep. I planned to get up early to meet Betty and some of her family in Houston, but when my alarm went off Friday morning; I wasn't quite as peppy as I had anticipated. I did get up and moving while Mama snored away--finally out like a light.

I had a lovely time in Houston with Betty and her family. We had tickets to a special Art exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. This exhibition had 209 works from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, ranging in date from 1885 to 1998. Some of the highlights of the exhibit were Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, and Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory (the one with the 'melting' clocks). There were a lot of Picasso’s paintings as well as other works I remember from school and other sources. I really enjoyed the exhibit.

We went to eat at a place called Katz's Deli. It has been advertised as a New York style deli that never closes. It was okay. We laughed a lot while we ate. We left there and decided to check out the Aquarium Restaurant in downtown Houston. It was really neat. We got to walk around the restaurant ant area and see the sea creatures in the huge aquariums inside the restaurant ant. I guess they had another exhibit you could pay to see, but we just wanted to walk around a bit. Outside the building there was a Ferris wheel, games for kids, and a train ride. Mary Ann, Betty's daughter, wanted to see sharks so we got tickets for the train ride. It was a little corny, but we laughed until our sides hurt when a "shark" jumped out of the water right by Mary Ann and Ginger, Betty's niece). They both jumped and got wet. We headed back for Mary Ann's apartment. We visited a bit more and then headed home.

Tommy had a fairly calm day with Mama. Of course, any day with Mama is challenging. He got up with Mama a few times during the night while I slept. I got up with her this morning so he could snooze a bit. I took her into town and we rode around a bit. When I brought her home, she ate then started saying over and over, "Let's go. Let's go." I was trying to consolidate some of the leftovers in the fridge so I told her to wait. She said, "Let's go. Let's go in that thing." pointing toward her car. As soon as I had gotten to a place where I could take her riding, I said, "Okay, now we can go." She said, "Let's eat." She ate and then we got in her car to ride around a little more.

She went to bed around 12:30. Got up around 4:30 ready to eat and go. Tommy took her riding. She came home, ate, and is back in bed. Thank goodness Beverly comes tonight. Maybe Tommy and I will both get a good night's sleep before we have to go back to work on Monday.

Hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday.


Thursday, November 27, 2003

Dear All,

We had a nice Thanksgiving. The day began with Mama fixing plate after plate after plate of food, and then telling me it was time to go. I told her people were coming, and we couldn't leave. She said she would go to that thing--pointing to her car. Then she proceeded to go sit in the car and wait until I came out and drove her somewhere. When I opened the door and climbed in, she said in a very surprised, happy voice, "Oh, I am so glad you came!"

I drove her around a little and brought her back to the house. She was so happy to see her house again, she said, "Oh, it is my house. I am so glad to be at my house." We walked into the house, she fixed several plates of food, and then said, "Let's go." I tried to tell her that we had company coming, but she kept saying, "Let's go." I kept telling her we shouldn't leave since people were coming to see us. She went out and climbed into her car again, sat there until I gave up and climbed into the driver's seat. She once again was so surprised to see me, she said, "Oh, I am so glad you came. Now let's go to that thing so I can give them my thing." I drove her around a bit more, we came back home, she fixed a few plates, and went to bed. It was 11:30 this morning.

Tommy got here around 12:45. Mama got up and made him take her for a ride. I finished up my portion of the meal while they were gone. David, Linda, Don, and Tara drove in while Tommy was on his mission with Mama. Linda had outdone herself on her half of the meal. The apple-yams were yummy, as was the green bean casserole, the pumpkin pie was creamy and the pecan pie fabulous. I am in trouble because she left her leftovers here with us. Everyone said my turkey, dressing, Angel Biscuits were good, too. My orange Jell-O salad didn't go over so well; I must have chosen the wrong recipe. Oh well, I thought it tasted okay which I guess is good since I will be eating it for a while.

Linda, bless her heart, helped me wash all the dishes and put them away. Then we had a nice visit with Tara taking pictures of me brushing Mama's teeth, among other photogenic moments.

David, Linda , Don and Tara have gone back to the big city. Tommy is still here. Mama has eaten again and is back in bed. All in all a really nice Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow Tommy gets to have fun with Mama while I meet my friend, Betty and some of her family, to go see some major art works at the Art Museum in Houston. Tara and David had gone to the exhibit already, and said it was really great. There are works of art by Picasso, Van Gogh--to drop few names.

Hope each of you had a terrific Turkey-Day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Well Mama is back in bed for the second time today. It is 6:45 Wednesday evening. She got up around 4:00. She wanted to go somewhere in her thing. (car) I went by the Post Office to check our mail, and then I drove her to town and stopped to get some ice for tomorrow. We got home. We ate. She was ready to go again. I tried to hold her off, but she put her scarf on her head and headed for her car. I didn't have the energy to argue so we went back to town. I drove by the cemetery to make sure the flowers I have placed on Daddy's, George's, and Liz's graves were still there. The rain had messed with them a bit so I straightened them up a bit. Mama enjoyed looking at all the pretty things. (flowers) I thought I had better find some people for her to hug so we went to WalMart. I took her in through the Garden Center, and she was able to grab and hug five or six poor souls. They were really sweet about it. I was looking for an ice chest with wheels, but they didn't have one so I headed back to the house. We got home. We ate. She wanted to go again. I told her we were not going anywhere else. So she fixed another plate, ate, and is now in bed. Don't know if she will sleep, but guess I had better go finish what I need to do before Thanksgiving arrives.

Once again: Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

I have been working to get ready for Thanksgiving. Beverly came this morning and took Mama for a ride so I could get my part of the meal under control. My two brothers, sister-in-law, nephew, niece, and her boyfriend will all be here tomorrow. My Mama-sitters have been a great help clearing off and dusting when Mama lets them.

Beverly bathed Mama after I helped steer her into the bathroom. Mama grabbed me under my arm and pinched the daylights out of me. Beverly said she does that to her quite a bit when she doesn't want to do something. I didn't like that at all!!

Mama is sleeping right now so I decided to sit down for a minute and try to update this website a bit. Don't know how long I have, it sounds like she is already on the move. My helpers suggested I get a baby monitor so we could keep tabs on Mama when she is in her room. It has been invaluable. Michelle stays in the living room at night. She is able to hear Mama stirring around and catch her before she wakes me up.

I think the two most valuable purchases have been the machine that makes calming noises and the baby monitor. Dresses with buttons all the way down the front have helped with undressing Mama to get her into the tub. It is difficult to find dresses with buttons that Mama will wear. Have found some websites for adaptive clothing, but they all seem to be made out of unstylish material. They use velcro closings, but think Mama would be upset with the styles. Maybe when this is all over, I'll work on designing something with a little more style for Alzheimer's patients. Or not.

Friday night Mama would sleep for around 3 hours at a time. She would call for me to "come to my house." I would go in, get my kiss on each cheek, and she would go back to sleep. Around 4:30 AM she tried to get up and get dressed. I wasn't ready for her to get up yet. I decided to lie down with her. She slept until around 7:30. We woke up when Beverly arrived. Of course, now Mama wants everyone to lie down with her. She pats the other side of the bed and asks us if we want to go there with her.

Beverly came last Saturday during the day and stayed for the night. I was able to meet a friend for a movie. It was so nice to have some time to do something for me. Sure hope we can continue having her come on weekends.

Well Mama is beginning to stir so better go check on her. Am not really ready for her to get up, but don't generally have much say in what she decides to do. She definitely has a mind of her own--even though it doesn't work as well as it once did.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Haven't been able to update my Mama stories because my internet provider got messed up during the Houston flooding. Then they changed the access number, but failed to inform me. Penny found out when she sat on hold forever. She passed the new number on to me.

Mama is yelling for me to "come to my house." so will have to finish this later.