Saturday, December 29, 2012

Junior Moment

If you are going to stay at Grandma's house, the rule is to be there around 6:00 PM.  Sundowners starts to set in and Grandma starts to get paranoid.  She begins calling Daddy every 15 minutes wanting him to come over.  She stays confused about where she lives.  She says that she has these feelings in her belly.  That statement was a new one for me.  She can feel that something is wrong in her belly.

Grandma's mind basically shuts down at night.  I think it is from being tired,  but mostly her mind is not making connections as well as it does during the day.

It was my turn to stay at Grandma's house.  I decided to see how long I could stay at my mother's house before she started calling.  I went to her house to put her teeth in the cabinet.  She was in the bed getting ready to go to sleep.  She had already put her teeth away.  JUST GREAT!  Another teeth hunt was about to happen.  I went into the long spill of how my husband and I were going to spend the night with her.  I told her that we would be back later because we had not had dinner yet.  She said it was ok and told me to go on.

I started the hunt in the kitchen.  Hunting for teeth has taken on a new twist.  She hides her teeth in any kind of container.  She hid her teeth in a huge crystal bowl, and she had just placed a small cup in the bottom of the bowl.  So when hunting for her teeth, I had to check every bowl, pot, and cup.  I got on top of the cabinet because I am vertically challenged, and started opening cabinet doors one by one.  She heard me in the kitchen.

She hollared, "Carole Anne, what in the world are you doing?"

As always, I told her that I was looking for her teeth because she hid them from me.

She yelled back at me and said, "Well, they are in the corner cabinet in a cup."

My grandmother has DEMENTIA!!!  She cannot remember my name for more than 10 seconds, but yet she had hid her teeth and remembered where she put them.  At first, I didn't believe her.  Then, I slowly got down and looked in the corner cabinet.  Right there on the side in a coffee cup, were Grandma's teeth.  I was shaking my head and laughing at the same time.

We all have those senior moments where we forget something.  For instance, I forget where I put my keys all the time.  Tonight, instead of forgetting where she put her teeth, Grandma had a junior moment and remembered something important for the first time in several years.

It was, by far, a very funny moment. Yet despite the laughter, it was a sweet moment as well. These are the times I cherish with my grandma. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rinse and Repeat

I had a chance to observe Grandma's daily activities.  If you were to see her, you wouldn't think anything is wrong.  She is just an elderly woman living a normal life.  According to, 24% of those age 80-89.  The other 76%, I am guessing, suffer from old age.  Grandma does typical things around her home and just seems normal.  

After reading further on dementia care central, I found that you can slow dementia down with exercise and mental activities, and that is exactly what keeps my grandmother going.  She has Moderately Severe Cognitive Dementia which usually lasts around one and a half years.  Well, we are going on probably around three years with grandma. Here is her schedule after I did some surveillance.

7:00 AM-She wakes up. Locates her shoes that she hid the night before.  Doesn't even give a thought to her teeth.

7:30 AM-Daddy shows up with her breakfast. (Biscuits and Gravy)  He fixes her a cup of coffee from which she will drink less than half.  He usually gets her teeth for her at this time, if she hasn't hidden them in one of her top secret hiding places such as under the bed, under the sink, in the pots and pans, or in a even crazier place like the dishwasher.

8:00 AM-After Daddy leaves for work.  She decides to lay down for a bit.

8:10 AM-She gets up and starts her busy day.  She may start packing in her room.  She goes where the suitcases are.  If the suitcases are in the back bedroom, she moves them to the front bedroom and starts unpacking.  She goes through each item as if she has never seen it before.  She packs pictures, notes, books, and anything in her dresser that she feels is important.  If she finds something that looks as if it my be worth something because it has a little gold painted on it, she hides it.  Apparently, gold is worth more than anything else -- and that is what the imaginary people want.  Yes! They want the perfume bottle with a gold cap, because no one wants a thief to smell bad.  She will literally pack up everything in a bedroom and move it to another bedroom and unpack it.  She will spend time rereading everything again and hiding items in that new room.

8:45 AM-She heads outside.  She pulls her lawn chair out of the laundry room and sits on her carport for a few minutes watching and observing what needs to be done in the yard.

9:00 AM-She locates the tools she will need to take care of the yard: rake, broom, and pecan picker!

9:05 AM-Time for another little nap.

9:15 AM-She gets up and heads outside.  She will rake and sweep and pick up pecans for two or three hours.  She bags them up and sits them on the curb.  During this time, she will have a bowl to pick up any pecans she may find.

11:45 AM-She heads in for a small nap.

12:00 PM-Daddy shows up with lunch and her medicine.  She visits with him and wants to know if he is working.

12:30 PM  She lays down for a small nap again.

12: 50 PM  We start all over..... and repeat this entire cycle.  Only, she may go in the back yard and rake leaves.

If there are no leaves to rake, then she sweeps every corner of the garage, the driveway, and the sidewalks.

She has the best looking yard in the neighborhood!

I have found that she hides particular things.  For instance, the gold bowl with pitcher.  She says these things are high valued items.  Evidently, the lady or man that sneaks in every night wants the gold pitcher.  It has to be hidden in the best hiding places in the house.  For example, the gold pitcher has been found behind the toilet many times and has been hidden in the closet under the towels.

She hides the pecans.  The woman probably has every last pecan from those crazy trees hidden in every corner of her house.  She doesn't have a single bowl in her kitchen because those are being used to best conceal the pecans in the closets, drawers, dishwasher, or under the sink or couch.  We still can't get the bag of pecans out of her grandfather clock in the dining room.  She reminds me of a pirate; she finds her treasure in the front yard and then hides it.  She hides it in her top secret places so no one will steal her prize.

She hides her shoes.  Why? we can't figure out. But she makes my middle daughter hide them all over the house, and she can't hide them together, either.  She must hide one shoe in the living room and one shoe in the dining room.  If the thief is going to steal her shoes, he is going to have to work for each and every pair.

Around 5:30, the sun starts going down and Grandma starts getting agitated and starts calling Daddy.  She wants to know when he is going to come home and stay with her.  She is over there by herself and needs someone to stay with her.  He usually heads out the door between 5:45 and 7:00.

Lights are out around 7:30, unless she really gets upset and frustrated, as she did with me last week.  "OMG!" was all I could say.  I got a new purse and decided to clean it out.  She came in around 8:00 PM and said "it's time to go to bed, and you're charging the electricity up and I don't have the money to pay for you to come over and just sit in the bed with your pajamas on and not even look like your sick and all." How dare I wear pants to bed?! I have no pride in myself, and I'm not even a decent girl! I laughed.  She said it wasn't funny.  I tried to pull myself together, but when your grandmother is yelling at you to go to bed and telling you aren't decent because you have on pajama pants, then you have to laugh.  I was also laughing about how I would never forget this night because I was secretly filming her with my phone.  Then, she got fired up about telling Gary (my dad) how I come over there and use her stuff and all the electricity.  I told her to go call Gary.  She told me to call him.  I said I didn't have her phone.  She said it was a good thing because I would probably run that bill up, too!!!

I called my parents.  My mother told me to get tough and put her to bed, so I took that approach.  I told grandma she was tired and needed to go to bed.  She said she would go to bed when I go to bed.  She went and called Daddy.  She told him that I was over there using up the electricity.  He told her that I was his granddaughter and that I loved her.  She said I didn't know what love is.  She wanted me to go on and get out.  During the phone conversation, she asked me if my mother knew that I acted this way.  I said "yes."  (MOM WAS THE REASON FOR ALL OF THIS!  She told me to get tough.)  Daddy told her to go to bed.  She hung up the phone, but you could tell she was still upset.  I told her to go to bed.  She said she will go when I leave.  I asked her who was going to take care of her if I leave.  She wanted to know who was going to take care of me.  I told her that I had muscles and plenty of sticks in the back room to defend myself.  She held up her arms and flapped her muscles and said, "Sure, you got muscles." in the most sarcastic tone she could manage.

I told her once more to go to bed.  That is when she turned and said, "I'm going to slap you to bed."  I literally laughed out loud, but I had to stop myself.  She said a few more things and slammed the door.

So, here's a summary of what I learned from observing Grandma:

1.  If you have a loved one with dementia, they have to follow a routine.  They will continue with something that they have done all their life.  My grandmother has worked hard in the past.  She has always worked in the yard.  Now she spends her days raking leaves and picking up pecans.  When I get in my 80's and have dementia -- my chances are higher because of genetics -- I will probably spend my days scrolling through Pinterest and stalking Facebook.

2.  Do NOT tell them what to do.  They will get pretty upset and call your Daddy.

3.  Don't laugh because if you laugh then they will tell you that you need to grow up.  They will ask you how old you are.  When you say that you are in your 30's, they will reply with "Oh, Lord."  or "Lord, have mercy!"  Then they will accuse you of lying.

4. The best way to steal her pecans is to put them in a sack and tell her you need to take them to sell or have someone get them ready to eat for her.  She will let you walk right out the front door with them.  Hmmm.. I guess I should give her money for the electricity and tell her it is from the pecans.

5.  Finally, remember: no matter how hard it is to deal with all of this, she will forget it by 7:00 AM and start all over.

Rinse and repeat!

Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm Gonna Slap You In To Bed

I stayed with Grandma last week.  There are simply no words to describe the mood she was in that night.  I filmed the experience because I didn't want to forget one word she said to me either.  I have tried and tried to write about it but just couldn't write about it without laughing.  So, I took the audio from the video and made a rap from her remarks.

She was more agitated that night because #1 she was expecting my nephew Samuel to stay the night and #2 she didn't want me to have the light on after 8:00 pm.  It was time to go to bed after 8:00 pm.  And let's just say, she got really upset with me because I wouldn't do what she said.  She even called daddy and told on me.  LOL  So, here is the audio of that night.  ENJOY!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Which One Are You?

So, I spent the night before Thanksgiving with Grandma.  She had found her teeth earlier in one of her housecoats. She woke me up about 3:00 AM wanting me to go see who was knocking at the front door.  I went and checked.  I told her no one was out there.  She made me go out on the porch. 

Really?  I was thinking "Thanks a lot grandma...if I get shot, it is all on you!"

I came back in, and she turned and went to bed.  She woke me up a few minutes later and wanted to know if I heard a dog barking.  I said no and told her to go to bed.

We woke up around 8:00.  Daddy brought her breakfast.  He sat and talked with her for awhile.  He tried to prepare her for the day.  We wanted her to come and eat dinner with us at my mother's house.  She wasn't sure about leaving the house.  So, I fixed her hair and told her that she needed to get ready for us to pick her up around noon.  She insisted that she needed a nap.

Daddy went and picked her up around 11:30 AM.  She spent time asking who was who.  So, many people for her to figure out.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Everyone came to my mom's house.  Many, many, many memories were made.  When all of us are together there is 19!  We had so much fun getting each family together and taking pictures.    Sara, my sister, and I got a crazy idea to take the couch in mom's living room and put it in the yard to take the entire family's picture.  So, we moved everything around and had the boys pick up the couch.  We went right out the front door and put it where we wanted it in the yard.  It was really amusing directing everyone to help get the couch out the door.
The family

In the mean time, mom was able to move all the tables into her living room for everyone to sit together.  While mom, Sara, and Carla finished up cooking, Grandma sat and took it all in.  She tried real hard to put names with faces but she struggled with everyone.  She asked the same questions over and over.

Grandma enjoyed her meal and loved the banana pudding.  She curled up in a chair in a snuggie and tried to stay warm.  After about an hour, you could tell she was getting tired.  I told her I would take her home.

We took a few pictures with her in the yard on the couch then loaded up and went home.  We got in the van and she looked over at me.  I could tell she was tired and ready to go.

Grandma, Pidgeon, my sisters, Mom and me
She said "Honey, thank you so much for bringing me over here.  I had a wonderful time.  The food was good and it was so good to see everyone."

I smiled because for just a moment, I had my grandma back.

We pulled in her driveway.  I said, "Well, here we are!"

She looked at me and said, "Now, which one are you?"

I'm Carole Anne, and you are my "10 second Grandma". 

Squirrel Mentality

Have you ever caught yourself sitting in your driveway and watching squirrels play in your yard?  Maybe running across your roof?  Maybe you have seen them sitting in your yard eating an acorn or nut they have found.  Squirrels are intriguing animals.  They hunt for nuts in the summer and fall and bury them in places that their tiny brains will remember.  Then they live off their buried treasure during the winter months.  Spring is hard on squirrels.  According to Wikipedia, the nuts that they have buried begin to sprout and they can no longer eat them.

Security System in place.
I stayed with Grandma last night.  She has lost her teeth, not one set but both sets of teeth.  I was to spend my night with her looking for her teeth.  I geared up with a flashlight. I searched from one room to the next.  Grandma knew what I was doing.  She has gotten so use to me looking that she just goes to bed and doesn't care anymore when I am looking for her teeth.  I opened every drawer in the bedrooms.  I hunted under every piece of furniture.  I pulled everything out of cabinets in the bathrooms.  I did not find any teeth.  To say I was disappointed was an understatement.  I was hoping to find her teeth.  I was hoping she would have them for Thanksgiving.  She really needs them in order to enjoy the meal on Thursday.

What I did find was pecans, pecans, pecans, and more pecans.  For you see, dementia has turned my dear grandmother into a squirrel.  She gets up in the morning and stays all day in the yard looking and picking up pecans.  Then she finds bowls, trash cans, buckets, or bags to keep them.  After she works for hours on end picking up pecans, she then spends time in hiding them and burying her treasure in her home.  She hides them in closets, under beds, in the towels in the bathroom, and in the old record player in her room.  I found a pan of them in the microwave, dishwasher, and stove.

I have yet to figure out why Grandma has to hide everything especially the pecans.  I asked her what she was going to do with them.  I was expecting her to say that she was going to eat them but she said give them away or sell them.  hmmm...So, that is exactly what I did.  I gave them away. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grandma's Make Over

Took Grandma to get her hair fixed today at the beauty salon.  Well, let's just say, she wasn't at all happy about it, but the results were beautiful.  She was happy in the end. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cherished Moments

This is not going to be a typical post from me.  I know you are probably wanting a good story about Grandma.  I could tell you about my grandmother looking like a gnome and picking up pecans everywhere in the neighborhood.  Simply, because she has this "squirrel" mentality to collect all the pecans she can and store them for the winter.  She has even went out in the street because a few fell in the middle of the road.

This blog is more about what moments like this is all about.  We are born and raised and our parents take care of us day after day.  Then one day, we leave home and our parents have to take care of their parents.  I know you know all this.  But here is my point....I know how lucky I am to have both of my grandmothers even if one is crazy and the other one...well, I will just are lucky to get a word in with her.  And she may be small in stature but her faith is huge!

Back to my point, cherish the moments you have with your grandparents, parents, or any family member.  Cherish those memories when you have to go and find their teeth, because they have no idea what cup they have put them in or what cabinet.  Love the minutes that you sit with them and answer the same question over and over.

I got upset with myself this past week.  I didn't cherish moments with  my grandfather.  I spent time with him.  I would go and talk to him and listen to him go on about World War II, but I took him for granted.  I guess I thought he would live forever.  He was 92 when he passed and what a blessing to have him for so many years in my life.  I never spent the nights with him like I am now with Grandma.  I didn't take him dinners or get on to him for wearing Grandma's teeth to make her mad.  And now, I wish I had spent those moments with him. So, treasure these moments and memories.

I lost a friend this past week.  She was young at 48.  She should have had many, many years to spend with her family, but cancer took her life.  She cherished every last moment with her family.  She made every one of them count.  She didn't let cancer defeat her in any way.  She was in so much pain, but went to a football game to watch her daughter march.  When the doctor's told her that she didn't have much longer, the family loaded up and went to Branson.  Her family cherished every moment.

So, if you are lucky to have a grandparent still living as I am, then go spend time with them and treasure every last minute you have with them.  Believe me, she has been a handful.  And over the years, has said a few things that she probably shouldn't have said to family.  But she is still family.....My family.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Funeral Interruptions

Dementia can remind you of things we take for granted.  For instance, when you go to a funeral, you show respect.  You know that the family is grieving, and you honor them by being silent and show  your support by being there.  Grandma attended a funeral and her dementia took over.

Daddy arrived with her.  I didn't realize he was bringing her to the funeral.  The funeral was for one of our family members, but I just didn't think he would bring Grandma.

It was a nice warm day with a slight breeze.  The cemetery was quite and very peaceful.  The funeral was a simple graveside service.  Grandma wore her best Sunday clothes.  She knew exactly where she was when she arrived.  Not far from the cemetery was the house that she first lived in with my grandpa.  She made comments about going home and pointing to her old home when she arrived.  She even told Daddy that he took the wrong street.  She was directing him to her old house and didn't realize that she was attending a funeral.  I guess she thought we had finally giving in and taken her home.

She arrived and immediately recognized Molly and I.  She got out and wanted to know why we were at the cemetery.  I told her who had died and that she could sit under the tent.  The immediate family had not arrived at this point.  She sat on the front row.  She started asking again..."Who's funeral?"  "Was she married?"  "Did she have kids?"  I patiently answered her questions and tried to get her to talk softly.

The family started arriving.  Daddy was getting ready to perform the ceremony.  I made Grandma move to the second row under the tent.  At first, she refused because the second row was in the sun, but she finally gave in and moved to the back row.  When the row didn't fill up the funeral director motioned for me to fill in the seat beside Grandma.  He must have known that she was going to be a handful.

Daddy started reading the obituary.  He basically spoke two sentences when Grandma started.

"Speak up, Honey!  No one can hear you."

Daddy kept on talking.  He was less than 10 feet away from us under the same tent at the graveside.

I hushed Grandma.

She got it out one more time....."Honey, you need to speak up. No one can hear you."

Daddy giggled and said ok.

He started back and she interrupted for a third time.

"Speak up! Honey we can't hear you."

At this point, Daddy chuckled and let everyone know that was his momma.  Leave it to my grandma to speak up and interrupt daddy while he is preaching a funeral.

She continued to moan and mumble.  I told her to hush, and patted her on the back to distract her. I think I told her to shut up at one point.  I was embarrassed but I knew the family realized that I was handling her.  She finally settled down towards the last 10 minutes.  Unfortunately, the funeral was about 30 minutes long.

My Uncle R.H. was there.  Uncle R.H. looks very similar to my Grandpa.  She had made many comments to Ellis being at the funeral and standing over by the casket.  I reminded her several times he wasn't Ellis. He came over to hug her neck and I said "This is Uncle RH." She looked at me and had a frown "I know RH. You don't have to tell me."  Uncle RH and I giggled.

After he left, I directed her towards the truck.  She looked at me and wanted to know when they were going to serve the food at this reunion.  I just shook my head and told her soon.

She went and got in the truck.  Daddy took her to eat with the family.  He said she ate like a horse at the family's house.  She ate everything on her plate and asked for dessert. They had a good visit for about an hour.  They got in the truck to head home.  She looked over at him and wanted to know "How much did you have to pay for all that food?"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

False Teeth Hunting Season Open

After my conference, I had planned on staying with Grandma, but I was wiped out.  So, I called Daddy to tell him that I wasn't going to make it.

Dad asked, "C, where are you?  I mean which way are you going home?  Oh well, never mind."

Don't you love it when someone starts to ask you a question, then they expect the worse, and answer their own question?

I replied "I'm still close by if you need me to do something."

"Well, she has lost her teeth again.  I stayed last night and put them up when she went to bed.  I left out early, and she got back up and came in and got them."

"Ok.  I will go teeth hunting."

I showed up at Grandma's house 30 minutes later to find her sitting in the kitchen reading the phonebook again.  I don't really understand the phonebook reading scenario.  Probably, something I need investigate.  :)

I told her I was there to find her teeth.  She said she didn't realize they were lost.  Then she touched her mouth and realized she didn't have them in her mouth.

So, I started hunting.  When Grandma hides her teeth, you have no time to spare.  You have to get over their within the next day to find them.  It is like knowing that big buck is close and  you have to get to your deer stand as quick as possible because he is close by and you are going to miss him.  Well, hunting Grandma's teeth is similar.  You know she has hid them somewhere close because she came in the middle of the night and got them.  She didn't leave the house, so, they have to be in the bedrooms or bathroom.  Those teeth are hid close by and you have to get to your hunting station quick or you are going to miss them.  Because if you wait two or three days, Grandma will come in and find her teeth and hide them somewhere else and you will have to hunt harder for that big set of teeth that you are needing to find!

I hunted all over the bedroom.  I found sacks of books and magazines stuffed under the bed along with several kitchen items.  She had also hid the cassette tapes in various  spots in the bedroom.  Heaven forbid, someone steal Conway Twitty singing I'll Fly Away.  I searched both bedrooms and then the bathroom.  She came in several times to tell me to leave her stuff alone.

I finally found them in a cup in the bathroom cabinet.  I had to reach in the back of the cabinet to get them out.  I scraped my arm on a wire or something.  So, I had went into the thicket and got the prize and came out with just a small scratch.

She came in and wanted to know if I knew where Gary was.  I told her that he was at work.  She said she needed to call him.  I gave her teeth to her.  She was glad I found them.

We went in the kitchen to call Daddy.  She picked up the phone and wanted to know where he was.  He assured her that he was coming in as soon as he got off work.  She was a little lost when she talked to him.  She thought she was in Dermott.  Dermott is where she grew up.  Daddy reassured her that she was at home.  I told her to tell him that we found her teeth.  She looked at me confused.  She said "Carole Anne has something to tell you."

Here is how that conversation went:

"I found her teeth."
Daddy:  "Great"
Grandma (not on the phone..listening to me talk): "You found my teeth.  Well, where are they?"

Daddy laughing.

"In your mouth, Grandma."
"Oh my goodness.  They sure are."
Daddy was still laughing.
I was shaking my head.

Using Up Electricity

I had to be at a conference on Monday.  So, I stayed with Grandma Sunday night.  I had it in my mind that I would get a good night of sleep if I was to go on over and go to bed.  Of course, what I want to happen and what happens with Grandma are never the same.

Grandma was sitting in the living room reading the phone book when I arrived.  She was glad to see me.  She started in on how hard she worked all day.  I asked her what did she do.  She couldn't remember.  Then she looked at me and wanted to know where her sisters, Bessie Dee and Rosie Lee, were.  I told her they were at home.  She called me Audrey, her late sister.  I corrected her two or three times on who I was.  She told me to quit playing silly games with her.  I finally gave in and started calling her Lucille.

I took her teeth and hid them in the bathroom for her.  She wanted me to quit playing games and go to bed.  I said ok.  I went to the back bedroom and started getting ready for bed.  She came in there and wanted me to come and listen to the birds.  They were driving her crazy and she couldn't get them to shut up.

I went in the kitchen and didn't hear any birds.  She told me to be quiet.  Then I heard a beep.  She said there is one.  I told her again I didn't hear any birds.  I heard the beep again.  She perked up and said crazy bird is beeping.  I realized it was the house alarm that was beeping.  The battery was slowly going dead and it starts beeping like a fire alarm when that happens.  I told her there was no birds.  She said I had to do something to get rid of them.  So, I went over to the door and acted like I was swatting at them and told her to go to bed.  You can wear yourself out swatting at imaginary birds.

I finally made it to the bedroom to lay down.  She came in several times.  She came in once to tell me that Gary did not tell her that I was coming.  It is rude for someone to come and stay at her house and not let her know in advance.  She wanted to know who gave me permission.  I told her Gary gave me permission.  She asked if he had any manners.  I just chuckled to myself.

She came in again and wanted me to turn everything off.  She could hear everything in her room.  So, I turned the muted iPad off and the lights.  She said that was much better.  Not only can my grandma see the electricity being used, but now she can hear it!  

I finally dozed off around 11:30 or so.  I heard her around 12:30 yelling in the hallway.  

"Ellis, turn everything off and go to bed."  (Ellis was my grandfather.)
"Ok" was my reply.

Grandma's AC went out last week.  Probably from the fact, she turns if off and on all day long.  So, I had to sleep all night with out it.  I had the ceiling fan going and the two extra fans in the room running.  I had all three on for noise to drown out Grandma and to keep me cool.  Some time in the night, Grandma managed to come in the room and turn everything off.  I am guessing she didn't see me in the bed.  I woke up around 3:00 sweating to death.  Ninja Grandma has returned.

I headed out the next morning around 7:30.  Grandma's door was open and she was sleeping away.  I told my dad later all the stuff she did all night.  He commented that all she had done that morning was sleep.  Well, of course, she is sleeping.  If you stayed up all night worrying about all the electricity your granddaughter is using in the back room and turning off every little thing, wouldn't you sleep your days away too!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Calling Gary

Going to stay with Grandma this weekend.  Here is a quick story to entertain you until the next blog.

Daddy was in bed almost asleep when Grandma came in the room to talk to him.  She told him that they needed to call Gary (Daddy).  She wanted his phone number.  Daddy told her that he was Gary and there was no need to call him.  She started repeating how she really needs his phone number.  So, Daddy gave in and gave her the number.  She left the room and went to the living room.

A few minutes later, Daddy's phone rang.  It was Grandma.  She wanted to know if he was going to come over.  He said that he was there and that he comes over any time she needs him.  Grandma said ok and hung up.

Grandma came back in the room and sat on the bed to talk to Daddy again.  She told him that she had called Gary.  What a surprise!  

She looked at Daddy and said, "Gary said don't worry. He will come over when we need him."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Look

I'm trying out a new look on my blog to see if I like it.  Thanks to all my readers!  It really makes my day to come home and see that so many are reading my stories about Grandma.

Thank you!

Police, Underwear and Grandma

A couple of weeks ago, dad went to Grandma's at the usual time.  Grandma seemed pretty normal. Well, as normal as a woman with dementia can be.  She was a little agitated and had been doing her normal packing all day with pillowcases.  Anyway, he did the usual routine, talked to her, feed her, made sure she didn't get any bills in the mail, and then went to bed.

Dad's room is in the very back of the house, and he usually sleeps with the door shut.  The door is usually shut in order for him to hear Grandma when she enters the hundred times throughout the night.  He has tv and wifi to enjoy and relax. He had probably been relaxing for about 45 minutes when all this happened.

Now,due to the fact that Grandma has called the police so much over the last couple of years, we have it on record that they are to call Daddy immediately if she calls.  This way, the police do not have to make an unnecessary trip.  But on this occasion they didn't call, and he didn't shut the door.

So, Daddy hears something and decides it was nothing.  Before he knew it, a policeman entered his bedroom and wanted to know who he was.  Daddy told him that he was Grandma's son.  He started explaining that Grandma had made up all this in her mind and that she has dementia.  The police had already run his license plate number and checked him out.  Daddy saw three more police at the end of the hall.  They said they didn't recognize the vehicle in the driveway.  (Wow, Grandma is well known with the police in the area.)

Grandma had called the police and told them that a man was in her house.  The dispatcher was new and  did not know to call Daddy.  So, when the call went out, all the police in the area came and blocked off the road and surrounded the house.

Daddy had a lot of explaining to do.  He thanked them for checking it out and assured them that it was only him.  He apologized for the trouble and asked them why didn't they call first.  That is when he found out about the new dispatcher.  It was at this point that he realized that in the excitement, he forgot to put on his pants and shirt.  He was standing there in his underwear!  Daddy pretended that nothing was out of the ordinary.  He grabbed his pants and shirt.  They stepped out and went on their way.  I am sure they got the biggest laugh when they got to the car.  Daddy sure did!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Need To Go To Dermott

I went by to check on Grandma today.  I found her in the kitchen writing phone numbers.  I said hi and told her I needed to fix something in the bedroom.
She followed me and was naturally curious of what I had to fix.

This was the conversation:

"Do you have a husband?"
"Yes, Grandma"
"Who do you belong to?"
"My son, Gary?"
"Three" This is the routine questions every week.
"Oh my!  How did that happen?"
"Quickly, Grandma."  I was laughing when I said it.

This is when she got serious.
"Carole Anne, I want you to take me to Dermott."
"Because they took my tape player to Dermott and I want to get it."
"Do you even know where the house is in Dermott?"
"No, but we can find it."
"Grandma, we aren't going to Dermott."
"I need that tape player.  I listen to it."
"Grandma, you don't need it."
"I usually keep it under the bed, but they took it."
"Grandma, I'm not going to Dermott."

She left the room and was a little aggravated with me.  I followed a few minutes later and found her on the carport.  I cringed when I saw a few figs on the counter, and quickly checked the dishwasher.  I was expecting to find it full of figs again.   It wasn't.

I went out the door to where she was.  She was walking around dad's car in the driveway.  He keeps it there on the weekend.  She was circling it and looking in the windows.

"I could drive this car if I wanted to go."
"Grandma, you can't drive the car."
"I need to go to Dermott."
"You aren't going to Dermott."
"I need my tape player."
"Ok, Grandma."
"I will figure it out."
"Grandma, I have to go to church.  Don't do anything crazy."
"I won't, honey."
"Ok, good.  Be good and I will see you later."
"Tell Ellis to get home.  We need to go to Dermott."
"You mean Gary?"
"No, Ellis."
"Ellis is dead."
"Oh, yeah. I knew that."

I left when she turned to sat down and read her paper.  I told her bye and waved.  She said for me to come back and see her soon.  I knew as soon as I pulled out of the driveway that she would forget the conversation.  At least, I hoped she would forget going to Dermott.  :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Writer: A Night In Her Shoes

Hello, my name is Shelby. This is my mom’s blog. She asked if I would write about when I stayed with my great grandma last week, and I agreed. I stayed Friday night, and as soon as I got there Grandma asked who I was. She remembers people who are often there, such as my mother and my grandpa (her son).  She usually thinks she hasn’t seen me since I was a toddler. She did last Friday, and I simply told her I see her every other weekend, if not every weekend. With Grandma, if you are “that girl” , as I am, then at least you are remembered somewhat. 

Anyway, Grandma felt somewhat unsafe when it was just her and me. We barricaded each door, and closed every window. Grandma never uses her lights, so by six o’clock it was already pretty dark. We chatted for a while, when she suddenly got up and went to her bedroom. I followed. Grandma had about every pair of shoes she owned in her hands, with a very determined look on her face. Obviously I asked what was up.

I’ve always wondered who this mystery man was. She says he will steal her shoes if she does not hide her shoes, and this starts our little quest to hide the shoes in unbelievable places.

We hid them in the kitchen beneath cabinets, in pots and pans, and even with the silverware. Then Grandma made me crawl beneath a chair and stick a pair between the wall and her bookshelf. I’m happy to help Grandma. She entertains me, telling me stories of her sisters, as I crawl throughout the house hiding shoes where she wants me to.

When we’re done, I go to the bedroom I sleep in, and start reading. Grandma comes in and tells me I should sleep with her, since I’m so young and all. I told her no, that I’m fine, and that we’re pretty safe if she keeps the doors locked. Grandma wasn’t convinced. We argued for at least five minutes on whether this “mystery man” would be able to come inside the house. Eventually I just told her that the security cameras will alert my Pawpaw (her son) and he would call the police. She immediately calmed when I said the police, as if they were the answer to all her problems. 

Grandma came to my bedroom once more that evening, with the silverware, noticed I wasn’t Ellis, then left. I just laughed it off and eventually slept peacefully.
The next day was a boring one. I was just lounging around until I would be able to go to Grandmas again. When I came over, we hid her teeth. Its important, I think, because Grandma doesn’t remember where she hides things.

For example, her shoes. 

Grandma told me the mystery man came in and stole her shoes, then hid them all over the house. I’m beginning to think that the mystery man is simply Grandma. So I start crawling all over the place collecting shoes while Grandma once again entertains me with the same stories about her sisters. 

It’s kind of heartbreaking, her memory. She thinks that her husband is still alive half the time, and you have to see her realize it as if it is the first time when someone tells her. But my mom once told me you have to laugh or cry over it all. Thats probably what her blog is about- those moments when you can smile with an “Oh grandma..” and love her for whatever state of mind she’s in. Grandma showed me a picture Saturday of herself as a young lady. I told her she looked very pretty. Grandma then smiled with all of her denture teeth, and it was worth seeing her face brighten so much. 

Five minutes later, she shows me the same picture.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stranger Danger!

Our annual family reunion is always a time for us to see relatives that we don't get to see on a regular basis.  For a large part, I don't know some of their names.  When you take a person with dementia to a reunion and you don't know anymore than they do, you are in for some fun.

Grandma and I had already been going round and round all morning about her hair.  So, by the time we got to the reunion, I was tired of dealing with her.  She was still aggravated about her hair.  So, I got dad to pick up some pins to finish fixing it.  

We arrived at the park and she was visiting with different ones.  My maternal grandmother, Pidge, was there visiting also.  Grandma and Pidge go way back.  Grandma was so excited to see her.  She moved her chair to be closer to Pidge to be able to visit privately.

Family came and talked to her.  They answered all the usual questions.  Then Pidge told me that she was asking about that strange black man that was hanging around.  I looked around and didn't see anyone.  Pidge said she was referring to my brother-in-law.  Damon is a full blooded Indian.  When he spends a minute in the sun, he walks away with a nice tan.  Pidge said she told Grandma that he was Sara's husband.  Grandma was in disbelief.

I can just hear the conversation between Grandma and Pidge:

Grandma:  You mean to tell me that I am kin to that man.
Pidge:  Yes, that is Sara's husband.
Grandma:  Oh my word! I'm not kin to him.
Pidge:  Yes, he is your grandson-in-law.
Grandma laughing:  Sure, ok.

So, after hearing this story, I went and sat with Damon and told him what was up with Grandma.  We had a big laugh.  Then, we got to watching her talk to Pidge.  We played that game where we pretended to know what they were saying to each other.

Pidge:  He is your grandson-in-law.
Grandma:  What?
Pidge: Sara's husband.  Gary's son-in-law.
Grandma:  No.  I just can't believe that.
Pidge:  Yes
Grandma:  That man over there with Carole Anne is kin to me?
Pidge:  Yes.

Then, she started watching us.  I knew I was in trouble.

Later, she was sitting with Carla and I.  We had to explain to her again who Damon was.  We also told her that he wasn't black, he was an Indian.  She said she needed to talk to Sara.  She also said "Doesn't she (Sara) know that he is a different nationality?"  No, Grandma, she doesn't know he is an Indian.  She has only been married to him for 10 years or so.  LOL

It amazes me how paranoid Grandma can get over things we think nothing about.  Paranoia comes with this disease.  It will slap you in the face with how much your love one will over react.  They don't even realize what they are saying is hurtful and wrong.  You have to remember in these situations the chemicals in their brains are not functioning properly.  Of course, I often forget this with Grandma because she can be so stubborn and argumentative.

Grandma didn't do anything crazy that day, but she kept an eye on Damon.  Although, she didn't see him when he bent down behind her and and I snapped their picture together.  I'm thinking this would be a great 8x10 pic for her dining room.    What a great conversational piece to have when I go visit!

Oh my, Grandma!  You let that strange man come over and get a picture with you!  Oh ok...I won't do it, but I have to have fun with her every once in awhile for all the times she has woke me up in the middle of the night. So, she can ask who I am or who I belong to.  Maybe I can just show her the picture and tell her to leave my hubby alone because she already has a man.  LOL  THAT WOULD BE A RIOT!  Look for me on CNN Next week!

Family Reunion 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Puberty? Oh No, Grandma Is In Heat!

I don't think I ever saw Grandma show any type of affection towards Grandpa.  I even remember how Grandpa slept in the back bedroom, and Grandma slept in the front bedroom.  So, it was a big surprise the other night when she started showing her affections towards the opposite husband.

First of all, I was late getting to Grandma's house Friday night.  Dad had gone to take care of her until I arrived.  This totally messed up her night.  She was very upset with Daddy for leaving her in my care and wanted him to stay.  I told her not to worry and we would be fine.  Terry came in later.  Of course, he always talks to her gently and hugs her neck and lets her know that he is family.  She has never questioned him and has always welcomed him into the house.  

We went to bed.  Shelby was with us and went to bed in the middle room.  Grandma was full aware that she had a full house.  She came to the door.  This was not her usual barge in and start hiding everything in sight.  Instead, she knocked gently and asked if anyone wanted to sleep in her room.  I said "No, we were fine."  A little later, she came in and acted like she was trying to cover herself.  I could tell she had on her underwear but not much else.  She started looking around the corner.  At this point, I realized she was wanting someone to sleep with her again.  Not just anyone, but my husband was who she wanted.  I laughed.

She came in and asked again for someone to come sleep with her.  Laughing in my head, I started going over the following conversation.

"No, Grandma.  You can't have my husband."
"Why not?"
"Because he is mine and not yours."

I broke away from my train of thought when I realized she was making her way into the bedroom barely dressed.  Terry was on the other side of the bed with his head in the iPad and not paying any attention to what was going on in his environment. 

I ordered Grandma to go to bed.  I told her that I was sleeping in the back room with Terry.  She then said there was not enough room in that bed for both of us.  I told her to go to bed again.  She slowly turned around and left the room.  I turned to Terry and told him that she wanted him!  He laughed and reminded me of how lonely she must be.  Then it hit me, imagine not knowing who anyone is when you look at them.  They seem familiar but yet you can't identify them.  Then imagine your brain forgetting what behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate.  Dementia plays cruel tricks on your mind.  Grandma's mind is telling her that she needs a man to fill the loneliness, not in a bad way.  Her mind tells her a man is protection and comfort.  Considering the day and age that she grew up, she doesn't see women serving as protectors or ones that can call the police in emergency.  These are jobs for men, and a man was sleeping in her house but he wasn't where he could protect her.  

She came back again.  Terry quickly started calling me "honey" and "babe."  I started laughing at the way he was saying them so direct.  Grandma asked again.  I repeated myself and realized that puberty had arrived.  

Skint Monkey

My day with Grandma started off with her refusing to go to the annual family reunion.  She insisted that it was rude to show up at a family reunion without any food.  She didn't fix anything and therefore it was horrible that I was making her go.

The conversation:

Grandma:  "You just can't go to a reunion without food."
Me:  "Grandma, it is ok.  Brenda fixed everything."
Grandma:  "Have you lost your mind?"
Me:  "Nope."  (Thinking..she has.)
Grandma:  "Who raised you?"
Me:  "Brenda and Gary"
Grandma:  "You don't have much sense.  You do not show up at a reunion without food."
Me:  "Fine.  Tell Gary to take you to KFC and get some chicken."
Grandma:  "Hmmph."

I told her that her hair needed to be fixed.  She said ok.  The first time I fixed her hair, she looked at it and said:  "I look like a skint monkey."  She meant skinned monkey.

So, we took it down and fixed her hair again.  This time I teased it a little to give it some poof.  She repeated that she looked like a skint monkey.  I tried to fix it several times and then she grabbed the brush and told me that I didn't know what I was doing.  I said fine.

She fixed her hair and mumbled the entire time.  I left the room to get ready.  When I returned, she had half her hair up and half of it down.  I told her that it looked great.  She told me she wasn't going to a family reunion looking like a skint monkey.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Let's Go Get Gary!

The night with Grandma was fairly calm.  You could tell that being with out Daddy around, that she was growing more anxious.

I brought her some Mac and Cheese.  She wholeheartedly ate every last bit of it.  We still had a few gnats from the dishwasher/fig incident.  We visited and discussed the same questions.

I received a phone call from my husband and went to the living room to talk to him.  She joined me after she finished cleaning the dishes.  We discussed why I was there and not Daddy.  I told her Daddy needed to be with Brenda.  She went into another orbit.  Who is Brenda?  When did he get married?  He never mentions her.

I really wasn't sure what to say, but I went into how Brenda is mean and wants Daddy to stay with her. Grandma said she knew what that meant.  The whole idea of discussing my parents took an awkward turn and I tried to change the subject.  I wanted to tell her that they have already been together and that is how I am here.  Of course, the whole "Who's Your Daddy?"  conversation would have started once again.  Then, She wanted to know where the "others" were that were like Gary.  Others?  I said Randall and Brent.  She responded with a nod.  I told her they were with their families.

This conversation repeated itself several times until I finally got tired and told her I was going to bed.  She agreed and got up to put all the chairs  in place.  Two chairs placed under the knob at the back door, and four at the garage door.  Before she put the garage door chairs in place, she went out and walked around my van.  She peeked in the windows and stood there studying it for a minute or two.

She called Daddy before we finally settled down.  I don't know how the conversation started.  I know Daddy told her that Brenda wanted him at home.  And I heard Grandma say, "Well, I guess I should just shut up then."  And with that comment, she slammed the phone down.

Around 9:00, she came in my room and calmly sat on the bed.  I just knew I was in trouble.  She looked at me and said that Gary needed to get home.  This whole idea of him being married was crazy. She then looked me in the eyes and said, "I could drive your van and we could go get Gary."

"Drive my van?"
"Yes, let's go get Gary."
"No, Grandma. Go to bed."
"I need to get him out of that mess he is into over there."
"Grandma, it is ok.  Go to bed."
"No, he is suppose to be here and I want to peek in the windows and see what is so important that he can't come home."
"No, Grandma. "

After a few minutes of this banter, she looked at me one more time and said, "Let's go get Gary.  You can drive."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stories and More Stories

Just when I think I have dementia figured out, Grandma will do something completely out of the ordinary.  She has a routine and if that schedule is not followed, then she goes into a total spin out of character. She gets downright mean and ugly.  And that was the case last night.

Grandma packing the suitcase with a blanket
and fussing at me for telling stories.
Daddy was on vacation and since I had time, I decided to stay with Grandma again.  Since this was not the normal routine for me to stay more than one night, Grandma started getting a little more anxious each night.

I got to her house around 7:00.  She was already aggravated with Daddy because he wasn't there.  I brought her something to eat, but she just nibbled on it.   She asked the usual questions.  How many kids do you have? How old are they? Etc....  Then she wanted to know why I was there.  I told her Daddy was tired and wanted to stay at his house.  She didn't like my answer.  She wanted to know who told me to come over.  I told her that she called me to come over.  She raised her voice at me, "STORIES, just stories."

Moving the cassette tapes.  Don't won't
them to get stolen.
She asked again, "Who told you to come over here and stay with me?"
"You did, Grandma."
"No, I didn't.  Why are you telling these stories?"
"I'm not telling stories.  I wanted to come here and stay with you."
"Is Ellis paying you?"
"Well, I don't need you to stay here."
"Ok, Grandma, but you can't call and say you need someone to stay."
"More Stories."

This conversation went on at least three more times.  She would go to bed and lay down and then get back up and come and argue.  Her mind wasn't comprehending anything I was saying.  It made her anxious and upset.  At that point,  She decided to just let me have it.

I had my laptop out and was typing the post for the night before.  I had a table lamp, fan, and tv on.  She went into this frustrated voice with me.  She started telling me how if I stay with her, my husband is going to leave me and then I won't have children anymore.  She said I needed to stay home with him and tend to his needs.  She then went into how it was after 8:30 and it was time to go to bed.  If I don't get my sleep then I will be worthless the next day.  I was laughing on the inside because we went from not having a husband and kids to going to bed before 8:30 in a matter of seconds.

She decide to move everything from her
bedroom into the dining room.
The final frustration of hers was how much electricity I was using with all my stuff.  It is rude to go to someone's house and use their electricity and stay up all hours of the night. (It was only 8:45 at this point.)  I didn't have the heart to tell her that she was the reason I am up all hours of the night.  She wanted to know if my mom and dad let me stay up all night with all these things and using up their electricity.  I told her I was 40.  She interrupted me and in frustration, she stated, "Stories, more stories."

You can't reason with a person that has dementia.  You have to play games with them.  You quickly realize what triggers their emotions.  You try to stay away from those topics. You also will repeat yourself several times.  I change the story up sometimes to see if she is paying attention.  She usually looks at me funny and sighs.  Somehow, I just keep the cycle going with Stories and More Stories.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rummaging and Hoarding

All Grandma does every day is rummage through drawers, boxes, suitcases, and cabinets.  She hoards everything from pictures and letters to notes she wrote many years ago.  I often watch her and wonder what she is constantly doing and thinking.

I got to Grandma's around 6:45 pm.  I was so tired.  I went straight to bed and didn't even bother to get her teeth from her.  She came in and started moving stuff from dresser to the chester drawer.  She pulled the suitcases out of the closet.  I was so exhausted that I heard her but was to tired to care.

She called Daddy three times.  She told him I was in the bedroom asleep and wasn't going to hear anyone if they broke in the house.  Probably true...I was that tired.

I woke up around 11:00 p.m.  I was so hot!  I went to turn on the AC.  It was on heat and set around 85 degrees.  When it clicked on, Grandma jumped up.  She came out the door and scared me a little.  She stared me down in the hall way.  I knew she didn't recognize me.  

I said, "Hey, Grandma.  Sorry about waking you up."
Grandma looked me up and down and said, "Are you pregnant?"
"No, just fat."
"You look pregnant."

Well, thanks grandma.  My self confidence is out the roof with your support!  LOL

"Nope, not pregnant. Just fat."
"You are not fat.  You just don't need to wear that outfit again."
"Ok, Grandma.  I will not wear this outfit again."  And with that I made a mental note to never be seen in public in my PJs.  :)

I finally got her back to bed and some what convinced her that I wasn't pregnant around 2:00 a.m.  Evidently, she woke back up in the middle of the night.  I got up around 7:15 a.m.  Grandma was already up and looking for her teeth.  I had failed at getting them from her.  So, I begin to look for them too.  I found them in the middle bedroom in a cup.  They were filthy!  They looked like she had buried them in the backyard.  I started to give her the cup but quickly realized that she wouldn't clean them.  I took them in the bathroom and yes...I brushed her teeth.  

I then went to the bedroom and was going to watch the morning news while I gathered my stuff.  The remote wasn't where I had put it the night before.  I looked all around the bed.  I looked under the mattress.  I looked under the pillows.  I then started rummaging through the the chester drawers.  I found the remote.  Beside it, I found my phone.  WHAT? I started gathering my stuff, and she had unpacked my toiletries and had put them all up in the cabinet in the bathroom.   Aaaagghhh!

So, after I packed everything up and got my phone back.  I got to wondering why she rummaged through my stuff.  Dementia can play weird tricks with the mind.  Grandma was probably looking for her teeth and decided the stuff in the bag was distracting and she needed to put it up.  So, she did.  Dementia patients have to stay busy.  They are constantly looking for items.  They don't know what they have lost but they are constantly looking.  They then have a need to keep everything safe and hid.

I left grandma in the kitchen.  She was already starting to rummage in the kitchen drawers.  I told her that I found all my stuff.  She turned and looked at me.  She had no idea what I was talking about.  I left and thought, "Well played, Grandma, well played."

Monday, August 6, 2012

My Mind is Asleep, but I'm Here

After spending a day with family, I was extremely tired and ready for a nice peaceful evening.  I had in my mind, if I go spend the night with grandma, then I can go to bed early.  So, I volunteered to take care of grandma with every intention of going to bed at 7:30!

Grandma was in a good mood when I arrived.  She was upset that Daddy wasn't coming but was glad I was there.  I'm not big enough to fight off the "boogers" that might break in and try to get us, but I could call 911.    We have gathered from the last three months, the longer that Daddy doesn't stay with her, the more irritated she gets.

Shelby stayed with her Friday night.  Grandma called Daddy every 30 minutes telling him to get over there.  The little girl wasn't going to work.  Shelby was a trooper according to dad.  She went in there and held her ground with Grandma.

Kiley stayed Saturday night.  She goes in there and visits with Grandma.  Grandma always ask if Kiley has a boyfriend.  Grandma always fusses about the men running off and leaving them there.  This weekend, she was fussing about the men running off and drinking whiskey.  Kiley was caught off guard and asked "What in the world are you talking about?"

So, I arrived Sunday night.  Third night without dad, and yes, grandma was not a happy camper.  I got there at 6:00 ready to crash in the bed.  I was wiped out.  Grandma was wanting to visit.  She wanted something to eat.  She wanted some milk.  I fixed her a drink.  Called dad and had him bring some of the cornbread we had left over from dinner.  We sat there while I ate, and she decided that she wasn't hungry after all.

7:00 p.m.:  I needed to wash a load of clothes.  I went to the laundry room.  When I came back into the house, Grandma was hauling boxes, moving papers, stacking dishes, and stashing her favorite things.  I asked her what she was doing.  She said she needed to get this place back in order.  The "other" lady came in earlier in the day and pulled all her stuff out.  I just rolled my eyes and agreed.

I went to the bedroom and got ready for bed.  Grandma came in ready to clean the room.  She unloaded the dresser full of clothes, blankets, tapes, and a tape recorder.  I was amazed at how much she had crammed into this little chester drawers.  She turned and started putting it in the other dresser in the room.  She brought the tapes to the bed and carefully put them in a shoe box.  The tapes consisted of Conway Twitty, The Gaithers, and old gospel songs.  She then put the shoe box in a McDonald's bag and then into a hospital bowl.  She then placed this essemble into a suit case and hid it in the closet.  She looked at me and then placed two blankets on top of it.  She turned and said "yep, the booger that is taking my stuff will have a hard time finding those tapes."  I shook my head and just rolled over to watch tv.

She then pulled the cassette player out and laid it on top of the bed.  She looked at me and explained how the other lady was breaking in and moving her stuff and playing the cassette tapes.  Really?  I wanted to look at her and say "Ok, sure, someone probably wants them because they are antiques."  But being the good granddaughter, I agreed.  She then put the cassette player under the bed and told me to not be playing with it.  I was that kind of kid that would push all the buttons.  So, of course, she thinks I am going to destroy the tape player.  How often does it get played?  NEVER!

8:30 p.m.:  Grandma comes back in and unloads the dresser and starts moving everything back to the chester drawers.  After spending a good 15 minutes of pulling all the clothes out.  She left the room and went and got the golden pitcher.  AHHHH the gold pitcher!  The pitcher that she accused so many of stealing over the years.  One time, she went door to door in the neighborhood and asked if they stole it. Can you imagine their faces?  Grandma showing up, probably accusing them instead of asking, if they stole the golden pitcher from her house.

She managed to stuff the pitcher into a drawer of the dresser.  I was amazed that she managed to get it in there.  She then pushed the drawer shut and finished it off with a good kick.  LOL  She finally started saying how tired she was.  I started thinking..."YOU HAVE WORN ME OUT!"  

10:15 p.m.:  She went to the kitchen and started working on dishes, then she screamed.  I ran in there thinking the worse had happened but I found her fighting flies, gnats, and bugs in the dishwasher.  Yes, she had stored figs in the utensil basket in the dishwasher.  Of course, they did not look like figs.  They looked like a bad biology project.  I was sick!

I grabbed the basket and went out the door. I told her to shut it and that we would run the dishwasher to clean it up.  I went out and beat the basket into the trash can.  Thinking to myself the entire time "DADDY OWES ME BIG FOR THIS ONE!"

I returned to the kitchen to find that she had managed to start the dishwasher.  I opened it to put the basket back in the dishwasher.  She had put detergent in it and was mumbling to herself by the phone.  She was probably planning on calling Daddy to tell him.  I had already called him by this point.

I helped finish cleaning up the kitchen.  Gnats and flies are still going everywhere.  I started killing everything that was flying in that kitchen.  I decided to check on the dishwasher.  I opened it up.  It was full of bubbles.  She had used Dawn Liquid Soap to wash the dishes.  That was the final straw.  I was exhausted, sick, and aggravated.  I turned to Grandma and said in a very motherly stern voice, "Grandma, go to your room right now.  Do not come out until I tell you to come out."  She looked at me and sternly muttered the words "Ok, but I don't like you very much."  

At that point, I realized what dementia does to a person's mind.  They totally lose all aspects of thinking.  Her mind has turned child like, and the granddaughter has become the mother.  You realize your purpose in those moments.

She went to bed.  I cleaned up the bubbles and the remaining figs in the dishwasher.  I turned the washer on high rinse and wash.  I went and checked on grandma.  She lay quietly in her bed.  She rolled over and looked at me.

"Hey, are you the only one here?"  she whispered.  

"Yes, grandma.  It is just me."
"Good, you know my mind is like...well, it is like asleep but...well I'm here."
Yes, grandma.  I know."
"Well, I love you."
"I love you, too."
"Carole Anne, you want to sleep in here with me?"
"No, grandma.  I'm good."
"Ok. Don't touch anything in that room and go to bed."

I left and laughed as I walked out the door.  I went to bed obediently, and I didn't touch the cassette player under the bed the rest of the night.  :)

PS  I took her teeth and hid them in the back bathroom.  Just in case that "booger" needs teeth to sing with the tape player and cassette tapes that he might steal later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Dementia

Have you ever wondered what goes on in a Dementia patient's mind?  I often wonder what Grandma is thinking.  She looks at me sometimes, and I can tell she is deep in thought.  Probably trying to figure out who I am, but then she will say "Don't you have 3 girls?"  So, something is connecting in her mind.

Last night, I spent the night with her and found her in bed when I got there.  She said the heat had gotten to  her.  It was 104 degrees outside.  It felt like 90 degrees in her house.  I turned the AC down to 68 to cool the place off.  Since, I was a little girl, her and grandpa always did everything to save a penny here and there.  From turning out the lights to unplugging the dishwasher, they had to save a penny. If there was a little red light blinking, then it was using up energy and costing them another dime that they did not have.  I know in her mind, she turned the AC up so it would go off and not run all day.  You have to save a penny.

Grandma's habit of charing the phone every night.
Tonight, she was trying to charge the cordless phone
on an 8 track cassette adapter.
We have routines and patterns that we grow old doing.  You do something so much that it becomes a habit without thinking.  Grandma is that way.  She has the habit of turning the AC up, turning all the lights off at 7:00 pm, and unplugging everything with a blinking light.  I found the dryer unplugged the other night.  It doesn't even have a blinking light.    She worries so much about saving money that she has flash lights for you to use after 7.  She has bat eyes.  She can see in the dark and doesn't need a flashlight.

Her habits even extend to her teeth.  She hid her teeth from Grandpa.  He would get up before her and put them in  his mouth.  Of course, the lights were out and he couldn't see that they were hers.  Then she would get mad, and hide them from him.  So, now she is scared the guy is going to get them because that has been implanted in her head for so many years.

So, I tell you all this to explain what happened last night with Grandma.    Around 9:00, grandma decided to go to bed.  I was in my room and I opened the door with her standing there.  She informed me that she was going to bed and I needed to do the same.  She gave me her teeth and told me to hide them in a very safe place.

About 10:30, she came in and scared me once again.  I was watching tv.  She said I needed to turn the lights off.  It was keeping her awake.  So, I said I would in a few minutes.  11:00 pm rolls around, and I still have the light on and tv.  This time, she was a little bit more stern with me.  She said it was time to turn the lights and tv off because I was burning up money.  I told her to go to bed and not worry about me.  Now, here is where I started thinking about what she was thinking.  She thinks I'm still a little girl, her granddaughter, and some what of a stranger.  Stranger?  Yes, I look familiar and she recognizes me by name but her brain doesn't make the connections when she is tired and upset.  So, she knows I am family, but who I am and how I am related to her doesn't connect every time.

I finally turned the light out and laid in bed with the iPad.  She came to the room and told me that it was time to turn the "tv" off (my iPad) and for me to go to bed.  She stated several times that the men folk would be coming in soon.  She then informed me that I needed to come and sleep with her.  Oh lord!  I told her no and that I would move when they told me to move.  :)  She told me to put up my toys and go to bed.  LOL

This continued until about 1:00 am.  At one point, I was totally asleep and out cold.  You know one of those times when you are sleeping so hard that you don't know where you are!  Well, when you are that deep in sleep and you wake up with grandma in your face telling you that you need to put up your toys...It is SCARY!  I literally about jumped across the room.  Once, I realized what was happening, I woke up and told her to go on to bed.  She was pointing to my iPad and iPhone.  I pushed them under the cover and told her that I would put them up in the morning.

Of course like anyone else with Dementia, short term memory resets in the morning.  I woke up with Grandma looking for her teeth.  I got ready and packed up all my toys.  I found her in the kitchen eating breakfast.  She smiled and said, "Good morning, honey.  Did you sleep good?"  I wanted to say "NO, some crazy lady kept me up all night."  But my dementia set in and I said "I did, grandma."  She finished her food and I left.  I hugged her goodbye and she told me that she loved me.  She may not know my name every time or that I am almost 40 years old, but she knows she loves me and I love her.