The Call

If you haven’t had a parent in a nursing home, let me tell you about “the call.”  The call most often comes with the caveat, “This is not an emergency,” and is followed by some sort of information that legally, ethically, or otherwise compelled someone to call and fill you in.  I have never had a kid, but I can imagine it’s like getting a call from the school.  You really hope they are calling to say your kid is acing all their classes and the model for all that is good and righteous in the world, and at the same time praying they didn’t burn the school down.

Mom and I had a great day today buying Christmas decorations and listening to a mix of Christmas songs.  And…she was pretty amped up.  She was evidently up most of the night wondering around and watching tv and barely slept.  When I came to visit at 11, it was like getting a kid ready for school who did not want to go.  She did not want to get out of bed.  But I told her she could pick out her clothes for the outing which was evidently a selling point for getting out of bed.

When mom is really tired she has repetitive speech, as in, “Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt.  Let’s go to your car, Matt. ”

You can imagine how this can require one to pull deep down into the depths of patience.  My tactic is usually to put my hand on her shoulders, go nose to nose, and in the calmest voice I can muster say, “Slow down, mom.  Calm down, mom.”   If that doesn’t work, I just start singing a song I know she knows and she moves from the repetitive talk to singing and all is well.  It’s like a system reboot.

Anyway, I got a call from the home tonight to let me know it wasn’t an emergency, but they wanted me to know that mom got slapped.  She has a really darling little old woman as a neighbor who has Alzheimer’s too.  She carries a baby doll around a lot of the time and whenever she sees me we have conversations where I am sure I am someone she knows but I don’t know who the person is.  She’s as sweet as can be. Mom was doing the repetitive speech thing with the sweet neighbor and let’s just say mom’s sweet neighbor had had it.  So instead of the soft reboot method I usually use to talk her down, her neighbor decided to use a hard reboot the system, a la Scarlet O’Hara and Prissy.

The nurse was quick to assure me all was fine.  I talked to mom on the phone.  I asked her if she got hit.  She said, “Yes, on the back.”  I said I thought it was on the face.  She said, “I have to go Matt.  It’s time for me to go to the cafeteria and have a snack.  I love you.  Good-bye.”  And she hung up the phone.  Nothing a little snack and milk can’t get her through.

 

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