Saturday, June 28, 2008


I received a text message at work ...

"i found a whole ice cream bar in your mother's toilet"

Of course this was immediately followed by...

"had to plunge out your mom's toilet...yecchhh"

All I could think of was, "wow, that was a DOVE BAR!!!"

She used to love ice cream bars. Every day she'd eat several of the little dove bars and made sure she had a huge supply in the freezer. When my kids were little, they always knew they could count on that smooth chocolate melting in their mouth. My older one always felt it important to suck out all the ice cream and then deal with the chocolate last. This of course resulted in the chocolate being more of a fashion statement than a dessert. At the age of 20, she's grown out of this.

I think.

So why Grace felt it was okay to toss this one out is the sign of a huge mental slide. Others would say that just never flushing was a big deal. Ok, yeah, that's not good. But the Dove bar. REALLY. That is pivotal.

If asked, she will tell you that she flushed, she always flushes, or (my favorite answer) she never uses THAT toilet. I particularly like the last answer when she is talking about the toilet in her bedroom or she is just emerging from a bathroom that she just used. Not only that, but the mere question evokes her new 'mean' look. Sometimes if she wants to really crank it up, she'll shuffle over to you and give the 'mean' look really close. You have to wait a bit for her to drag her wrath over to your face.

I try not to laugh. This 'mean' look from a 103 lb woman who cannot get anywhere without shuffling and nearly losing her balance has very little impact.

Man, but a DOVE bar. Can you imagine?!?!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


We have a new caregiver. In addition to missing many teeth, she seems to have a hearing problem. Already it’s a foundation for a relationship with my mother who also can neither hear nor hang on to her teeth. Just yesterday, she pulled another tooth out. She put it on the table with strict instructions to keep it. Yeah, right. It was gone in minutes.

Grace: “Are you looking at me?”
Deaf dentally challenged caregiver: “Why shouldn’t I be?”
Grace: “Don’t stare at me!”
Deaf dentally challenged caregiver: “I’m happy.”
Grace: “When are we eating dinner?”
Deaf dentally challenged caregiver: “You don’t look any thinner.:

My job is to not laugh.. out loud.

Grace: “Where should I sit?”
Deaf dentally challenged caregiver: “huh?”

…and so it goes….

Friday, June 13, 2008

Beside Herself

What does it mean to be 'beside yourself?' Is it an out of body experience? Is it sort of a multiple personality thing? What is it?

Grace is 'BESIDE HERSELF' every night. She tells me this as if she were challenging me and I have no idea what to offer. The comment comes with a harsh glare. Usually this happens when the sun starts to go down. The wandering begins. Maybe she's trying to actually GET beside herself?

We have new caregivers for the evening. She hates them all. Meaner than a snake, she yells at them and yells at me. She points at them and asks me when they are going home or what are they doing there or why are they staring at her. Last night she got so mad she told me she was leaving... moving out to a motel. Sure. I'd like to see that. She can't drive, can't work a phone, can't feed herself, yet she is moving out to a motel. Maybe she can be in two rooms and truly be 'beside herself.'

I think she wants me to do something. She wants me to make it better. She thinks somehow I can put her brain back together and make things connect. Why not? It's a reasonable request. I fix everything else so why can't I fix her? I have answers for my daughters, so I certainly must have her answers.

Just not tonight. I'm 'beside myself.'

Sunday, June 8, 2008

On Her Way To Oz

She used to love the rain. The stronger the storm, the louder the thunder, the brighter the lightening, the better. And tornadoes? Pah. She's not going in any basement until she SEES Toto blow by. If the lights go out? So what. It was the closest she'd ever get to camping so let the character building begin.

Now she's afraid. Genuinely, completely afraid. And when I ask her what is scaring her, she stumbles for her words, searching and has to confess she doesn't know. I remind her that we are in good house and the plants need the rain. She doesn't care.

I can't help but think that somewhere in that disorganized brain, it isn't the rain that scares her, it is her deterioration. Her brain can't process the loss but is smart enough to know that it is bad. She is trying to organize the fear but can't make the connections. Part of her deterioration is her increasing ignorance about her deterioration. Something is wrong so she is flailing to find its cause.

Yes, it's the rain. It must be. What else could it be?