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.