Last I knew, The Others were the folks that lived in a house, alongside Nicole Kidman, and her movie screen children... who were deceased. The other people, that is... or maybe it was Nicole and the kids who were "the others"... whichever way it went, somebody was "not living".
Mother and I have had our moments. Funny... and yes, some not so funny. The first truly funny moment was right from the beginning, when she first came back home from 9 months of recovery. She was sitting on the bed, as I had just finished bathing her (something which she is no longer able to do for herself, given her post anoxic malady known as Lance Adams Syndrome ). She was all sparkly clean, lotioned down, diapered, and finely dusted with bath powder, when just about the time I was about to start dressing her, I couldn't contain myself, and burst out in rowdy laughter. It seems that, in my haste, I had mistakenly pulled her diaper up just a bit too far, until at least one boob was neatly tucked into the front. Realizing the hilarious nature of what my eyes beheld, I brought it to her attention! She burst out laughing, too! Of course I couldn't help myself, I went ahead and tucked the other one in too, whereupon we both just roared all the more! You know you are really getting old when you can tuck your boobs into the top of your underpants! In fact, who needs a top, when everything is perfectly covered! That is one image that I will never forget... and one bought of laughter, shared, that won't soon be forgotten, either, the memory always renewing that laughter in my heart.
All is not so hilarious, however. Although mother was suffering loss of memory, all along, these days it is getting to where I can actually say the word "dementia" and mean it, when I speak of her. This brings me to ... the others.
For whatever reason, mother has divided me into at least 3, and now 4, people. I am sometimes Myrte, her sister who passed away in the mid 60's. Sometimes I am Marie... another sister, who passed away in the 90's. Then, I am Mama. Her very own. As off late, I have also become Martha, one of her cousins. It was ok in the beginning, I could steer her around in the right direction. She would regroup and see the light. Not so much, lately.
I'm not sure why it is that mother knows who my brother is (although she mostly call him by the name Henry, her deceased brother's name). I'm not sure why it is that mother always knows my sister, and never calls her by any other name, and she lives 5 hours away... and yet I, the one who lives with her, cares for her, daily, around the clock, am always forgotten.
I was never her favorite, always the pain in her side, the one she least respected, and also the one she outwardly, and verbally, showed the least amount of respect to. Nothing I ever said had the least bit of credence, to it, in her mind. She blew everything off, that I took seriously. I was the total opposite of her, the antithesis of her existence. Maybe she doesn't want to remember me. I do have a wee bit of cabin fever, I wouldn't blame her if she did want to forget me. It is not always easy for me to remain the saint that I am (not) when put to pressure by a tainted mind. Especially when she wants to call the law, because she thinks that I took her handgun, and won't let her have the keys to her lock box, where the handgun once was kept. Once... but no longer. She has been instructed that she can have the keys to the lock box, but the gun would be put away some place else, where she cannot get to it... or she can have the handgun placed back in the lock box, but the keys would be hidden away... but, there was no way she was going to get the handgun in the lock box, and have access to the keys that open it. Better yet, the handgun was not returned to the lock box, at all (unbeknownst to her) is in a safe, yet hidden, spot, that she is not aware of, nor could she reach, if she tried. Though it's of little importance now, seeing as the handgun is no longer in the lock box, the keys are also put away in a place that she cannot reach. On occasions, such as this, "big brother" gets called in... at my request, I might add... to calm her little butt down! All it takes is a directive, from him, and most ridiculous matters are immediately dropped.
I'm constantly amazed at the ways of her mind. There is no rhyme or reason to her tangled web, nor are there any light bulb moments, in which she is able to rationally sort something out... though I have, on occasion, played dumb to her confusion, plying her with questions, pretending that I am the confused one, until she finally weaves her own way out of the maze. But that takes time, by the bucket loads, and time is not always on our side. It started with names, then went into locations, like where the hell she's at... or isn't... and has now gotten to where the whole tale is wrongly told, with whatever falls out of her brain, and rolls across her sometimes bitter tongue. And oh it can be bitter.
Those first moments, when you aren't yet aware that things are slipping, were not the easiest to bare. When she angrily seethed, through her clinched lips, "And what do YOU know about God!!!" as I tried to soothe her, by suggesting that she lean on God, the sole one that she had relied on, her entire life, and had professed to follow, in faith and love. Sweet Jesus, the miracle worker, who could make all things right. Her question. of my relationship with God was, indeed, not a question... but a statement, intimating that I knew absolutely nothing of God. And don't think my feelings weren't hurt, a wee bit, when she wanted to actually call the "po po" on me, about that gun. I've already suffered the suicide of a loved one, years ago, I'm not keen on being caught up in another, now. Nor am I too keen on her accidentally shooting me... or any of those other look a-likes of mine, that she sees, with her less than able hands.
So, I've gotten used to it. Sort of... but not really. She will always ask me about "those other girls" . The ones who look so much like me, she can't tell us apart. And who were married to the same person, as I was, has kids with the same names as mine, and even tries to claim that she is their mother. What nerve! For every single conversation that mother and I have, you can be guaranteed, she will remember that conversation, 20 minutes later, as one that she had with someone else, just anybody but me.... so, she will begin to tell me about the conversation she had with "so and so", whoever that may be, in any given moment, as if I was not even there, 20 minutes before, participating in that conversation.. She will even "tattle on me" ... to me... rofl! Something like, "that girl that was here, today, she didn't offer me anything to eat, all day, but an apple!" Trust me, that is never going to be the case, she is well fed. Now I finally and fully understand what was really going on, when she'd tell me this or that about whatever sitter was sitting for her, when I was out of the house. She gets everything all mixed up, bless her heart, and she can definitely spin some tales. But, at least everyone knows now, so we're all in the same hot water, from time to time... according to her. Trust me, it's nice to share the waters... with The Others.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Mother's been a bit under the weather lately. They say that UTI's will mimic symptoms of dementia. She has one. And she's been mimicing those signs for a couple of weeks now, while being on the wrong med, then being allergic to another, so on and so on. Sometimes she just talks gibberish. And I then go about trying to figure out what she's saying, like I'm playing a game of charades. She knows what she wants to say, she just can't seem to say it. She can hear, very well, the words that are coming out of her mouth, she knows it's not what she'd intended, yet there's nothing she can do about it, it seems... but laugh at her own funny self. That's not crazy, that's a person with a sense of humor. Now, some days it's a different kind of not being able to speak. Sometimes she forms perfect sentences, which make perfect sense... it's just that they have nothing to do with what she was actually intending to talk about. "I hurt my leg", may turn into,"The arm on the chair broke." There are words to describe this sorts of language mishaps, I just can't remember what they are right now. You see, I have a bit of ADD/ADHD, and my memory isn't what it should be. There have been many funny moments (not nearly enough) since I became my mother's caregiver. And I hope to share them all. The latest was what brought about the title to this blog. I was trying to get her ready for an appointment, this morning, and she kept wanting to lop over on her right side, as she sometimes does when she's not at her best. I was fussing with her, about trying to stay sitting up, to try and stop falling over, when she said, rather boldly, "Who do you think you are?" Well, I looked at her, quite frankly, and said, "Who am I?" "Yes," she said. "Well," I replied, "Who are you?" Whereupon she most firmly stated, "I'm Millie Martin." Staring into her self-assured and matter of fact eyes, she then asked again, "Who are you?" "Me... I'm Jackie Onassis." She fell over laughing.