Monday, November 4, 2013

Carole Anne is Coming

I am so sorry about taking so long to blog about Grandma.  With school starting back, I have been swamped with one thing after another.  My oldest started college.  When you oldest leaves home, it is a challenge to just adjust to daily life without her.  BUT, You didn't come to my blog to read about my struggles.  You came to read about Grandma!

Grandma is doing great.  We have found someone to sit with her during the day.  This has been a blessing for my dad.  He no longer worries all day about Grandma wondering thru the neighborhood.  She has a tendency to drag stuff from people's yards.  She did rake her neighbors yard and sacked five bags of leaves.  She has so much energy for an almost 89 year old woman!  This new lady comes in the morning until dad gets off work and just keeps an eye on Grandma.  The first day, Grandma felt that she needed to stay with her.  So, she didn't do anything but sit on the couch.  This really irritated her.  She called Daddy that afternoon and told him that lady had to go!  Needless to say, she has adjusted.  Now, she feels like she has a house full of company.

She is about the same in her state of mind.   Although, some days, we feel she is getting worse.  Last night was one of those nights.  Daylight Savings Time occurred yesterday.  She was out of sync all day.  She called daddy constantly with questions from "Is this my house?" to "Are those my trees?"
I know those questions sound frivolous and crazy, but to a woman with dementia, these are the questions that have to be answered every 10 minutes.  Remember 10 second Tom from the movie "50 First Dates".  Well, we have 10 minute Grandma.

I arrived around 7:00 p.m.  She had already locked the doors and put out her chairs.  She came to the door and asked who was out there.  I said my name and replied that I was her granddaughter.  She  argued with me about being her granddaughter.  I tried to get her to open the door, and she simply refused.  I called her on the phone.  She answered.

Me:  "Grandma, open the door."
Grandma:  "Are you out there?"
Me:  "Yes"
Grandma:  "Carole Anne is coming tonight."
Me:  "Yes, she is coming."
Grandma:  "Is she at the door?"
Me:  "Yes! She tried to get you to open the door."
Grandma:  "Well, you need to tell her to know her name when someone ask for it."
Me: (Shaking my head) " the door for me."

Now, I know....I referred to myself in third person...and I know by talking that way to her, it confused me as well.  So, when you read the next part of the conversation, then you can understand how confused she was.

Grandma opened the door.  She looked straight at me.

Me:  "Hey, Grandma!  It's me."
Grandma:  "I thought you said Carole Anne was coming over."
Me:  "I am Carole Anne."
Grandma:  "You are the girl on the phone."
Me:  "Yes, but I am Carole Anne too."
Grandma:  "Carole Anne is coming later to spend the night."
Me:  "Yes, I am Carole Anne.  I am here to spend the night."
Grandma:  "Well, you can't stay in the back bedroom.  That is where Carole Anne is going to sleep."
Me:   "I am Carole Anne."
Grandma: "Say what you want, but if she comes in here, then you better move."

I stood there trying to just comprehend the entire conversation, as well as, memorize every word to share on my blog. She went into a long spill about how someone had hid her shoes all over her house.  She has lost every pair of shoes she owns.  She has to wear two different shoes because she hides them so well that she just wears whatever she can find.

She came in the room and spent about an hour hiding clothes, the tape recorder, the duck, and a phone of some sort.  She kept telling me to whisper.  Evidently, people are sitting outside her windows listening to our every word.  I told her that those people were home.  She gave me her "humph" and walked out.

She finally settled down around 9:30 p.m.  I finished my show on television and started to drift off to sleep.  "Carole Anne" never showed up, so I was able to sleep in the back bedroom.

At 11:30, She came back in my room.  She was dressed from head to toe.  She had a knit hat on her head, a trench coat, a suitcase and one shoe on her right foot.  She was a sight!  She was also scary because when Grandma wakes you up out of a sound sleep, it can really shake you up.

I looked at her and tried to comprehend what she was doing.  She said we had to go and get out of this hospital.  I looked at her and told her we were at her house.  She argued with me.  I obviously did not know what I was talking about.  After all, I'm not Carole Anne.  I'm just that girl on the phone!

I got her back to her room and took off her coat.  I coaxed her back to bed and put away the suitcase, which, by the way, was full of dishes and records.  I told her to lay down.  She was really disoriented and confused.  Her comprehension was gone.  She wanted to know where Grandpa was.  I told her that he passed away three years ago.  She didn't like my answer and told me to hush my mouth.

I finally got her to lay down when I told her that I would lay down with her.  We laid there in the pitch black.  She asked the normal questions..."How many kids do you have?", "Where is Gary?", and "Where do you live?"  If she didn't like my answer, she told me to hush and go to bed.  Two minutes later, she would start in again with questions.

She did finally calm down and asked one interesting question.  She wanted to know has she always been this way.  I said no.  Then, she wanted to know why did I take care of her.  Why?  That really hit me hard.  Why am I doing this?  Why do I spend my weekends arguing with who she is and answering 100 questions?  Why do I help her hide her stuff and then turn right around and find it for her?  Why do I spend hours looking for her teeth?

I simply told her because I am her granddaughter and that is what families are suppose to do.   I hope she knows it is more than just an obligation.  It is an honor to be able to spend precious moments with her.  Cherished memories of trying to find her teeth.  Memories of gathering all the pecans in her house.  Memories of the figs in the washing machine.  And how many of you can say that you know how to stack 7 chairs in front of a door to protect against the imaginary guy?  I can!