A few days to get back into the loop of daily life after a long trip – pay bills, water the flowers, and assure the cat we aren’t leaving again.
And back to almost daily trips to see Mom in the nursing home.
I have learned that Alzheimer’s is unpredictable in the short term, even as we all know the inevitable end of the disease in the long term. On the way to the nursing home to see her, I wondered if she would know who I was.
“Knowing” is a word that needs explanation. I doubt if she knows my name, and though she recently told one of the nurses I was her husband, she does know I am somebody of importance in her life. A few months ago she surprised my sisters by remembering their names – but Alzheimer’s teaches you not to expect that again. Mom consistently indicates she “knows” me by the way she reacts when I visit. She usually turns on a big smile, usually a laugh, followed by some sort of grumbling something unintelligible about “them.” Her actions indicate she knows who I am, even if she cannot remember my name or relationship.
And, my fears were validated.
Oh, she was polite and smiled in the way people do when told to smile for the camera. I tried to “wrassle” with her as I usually do, but she would have none of it. I have written before about the lessons she is still teaching me – and the fears I have of how I will handle the day when she truly and finally cannot react to me.
But – that first visit wasn’t the day her memory died completely. The very next day, I was welcomed with a huge smile, asked “Where have you been?”, and she reached out to hold my hand. The rest of the visit was spent in make-shift conversation and “wrassling.” She still enjoys a cup of coffee each morning.
I do notice that she becomes increasingly frail. I know that a fall will probably result in a broken hip and that may mean she will never get out of bed again.
Guess I’ll have to tell her to eat her veggies and drink her milk – just as she used to tell me.