When we’re born, we have nothing. True enough, the logistics of toting an infant around are daunting – the little 12 pound bundle of joy requires about 30 pounds (or more) of “stuff”, such as diaper bags, formula, baby carrier, blankets, and other gear. As the child gets older, the amount of “stuff” declines.
Using the simile that we are once an adult but twice a child, the same seems to apply in the elder years. Mom needs very little “stuff” now. She is in a new nursing home now and moving her was quite simple. She got in the car and I put some “stuff” in the trunk – and that was it. Later, we brought over a rocking chair, a television, and some clothing, but really, she has little “stuff” anymore. When my priest offered his pickup truck to help with the move, I smiled as I knew her “stuff” wouldn’t even fill up my car.
(Be sure to click on each photo to see a larger version of the image.)
If you look closely at the bulletin board on the wall, you will notice some pictures on it. Mom’s house is filled with photographs – photos of her and my father, of her and her children, of grandchildren – even great grand children. In her photo albums we have at home, there are photos of herself, of her parents, and of her young family. But that kind of “stuff” is superfluous now. She can’t recollect the names of her grandchildren, though her own children’s names still bring a smile even if she can’t always remember them herself.
She has had a rough time during this move from the rehab unit to the nursing home. I have learned that changes in routine are difficult for an Alzheimer’s victim. While the Mystery Guest Blogger and I were in Việt Nam, her routine was changed, and even though my siblings filled in for us while we were gone (thanx again, Russ, Karen, and Martha) the change threw her off her routine. We moved her last Tuesday, and by Wednesday, she was totally unable to cope. She lapsed into a behavior I had seen once before, immediately after her surgery in January. She lay in bed with her eyes closed, in what appeared to be sleep, then she would “talk” (mostly babbly, but some coherent words) and extend her arm and point at something she was seeing in her hallucinations. There wasn’t much else for me to do except stand guard over her, hold her hand, and just be there for her to see when she awoke every now and then.
A few days later, the MGB snapped this of Mom and I sitting in the lobby watching the world go by. She enjoyed the walk, and she tried hard to grasp what she saw around her. Experience has taught me that she will plateau, then in a few weeks, even rebound a little.
When you have a child, you have expectations – you expect your child to “grow out of it” and to grow physically as well as mentally. We have those same expectations of ourselves as adults – we expect to learn from our mistakes, to earn a good living, and to contribute to the world. It’s a habit we give ourselves willingly – to always have expectations.
Mom’s only expectations are mine – that she will be treated with dignity and respect.
One does not have the expectation that she will get better.