Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Descent

I’ve been watching her decline. It’s subtle and it’s obvious.

Time has less meaning for her. Just a year ago, she knew what time I should be home and if I was late, there was a lecture. Now I can leave for days and there is little notice.

She is not so picky about food. I remember the demand of visible butter on her potatoes. Now she eats not knowing what she is eating and apparently not caring. However if I eat anything in front of her, she demands to know what it is and wants some for herself. Fortunately she can be distracted as her lack of teeth make our diets a bit different.

She still can fool visitors. Only she receives her guest as she reclines on the couch instead of being seated. Grace knows somewhere on her brain stem to smile and nod as people speak to her. Her contributions are negligible, but she appears attentive. I wonder when that will fade.

Recently we had a change in caregivers. A gentleman from the agency brought the prospect by to the “interview.” He sat near Grace trying to make conversation. He wasn’t too successful, but his efforts were cheery and kind. Grace would have nothing of it. She called me over time and time again to tell me “they are FRAUDS!!!” I never determined what the nature of the fraudulence was but got a little hint later when she told me the man was selling these women for sex. Quite a complex, though decidedly incorrect thought.

Tonight I came home to see her toddling in her walker, aided by our trusty caregiver, to her room. She stopped at the door to the closet under the stairs and opened it. She was sure that was her room and there was a fair amount of negotiation that the caregiver had to engage in to convince her to pass the closet up.

Alzheimer's steals our loved ones little teaspoonfuls at a time. Usually it doesn’t get me. But seeing her confused by the closet did. Why does that bother me and the others not?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Not So Bright

The caregivers don’t always like to share information. They are not a forward thinking lot. When they tell me that there is a light out in her bathroom, that means that absolutely every light bulb (and there SIX) is out.

So time to change all the bulbs. The ceiling fixture has very strange bulbs that I always keep on hand (refer to the LACK OF WARNING in the last paragraph). After wrestling with this fixture and thinking unkind thoughts about it, I discovered one of the slots is so corroded that it will not receive another bulb and I managed to drop a bulb while trying to address this.

Then I tackled the bulb over the toilet. My focus was on the ceiling. After I was done, I looked down in horror to see human feces on the floor NEXT to the toilet.

O M G!!!!!

There was no mistaking it. I wondered if I could blame it on her dog but no. It was distinctly not canine.

I guess I should have let the caregiver clean it up but I could not stand it. Armed with bleach I took care of it. I will not share the thoughts running through my head as I scrubbed.

The caregiver du jour is not the sharpest crayon in the box. I mentioned this to her and surely she is wondering why I even told her.

Now, in my litany of things to check, this will be added.


Monday, February 1, 2010


Grace is in love. Yes, love in the golden years. It is unmistakable. He walks in the room and she melts. Her eyes go all puppy eyes. A smile grows wide across her toothless mouth. She sits up straight, hand goes quickly through her hair.

In contrast to the strange stuff she says all day, a moment of clarity as she says a breathy greeting,

“Hi John.”

Grace holds out her hand and whispers to me giggling, “He’s cuuuuuuute.”

Fortunately John is good natured and returns the smile but is painfully aware that he is two inches away from the death grip of stalking-style love.

Her eyes say COME HITHER, but John is tactfully looking for his escape. He indulges her like a celebrity to his audience, but gracefully slips away to prepare for his next audience.