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.

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