Last week Thursday, when I took her to her eye doctor I asked about her roommate. Faye is 82, has frequent family visitors, but is weepy, needy, and often very childlike.
Mother said Faye had been crying, saying she wanted to see her son. Nothing the staff would do could console her. She said she went over and sat down next to Faye on her bed, put her arm around her, and said:
“Your son has a job. He supports his family. He loves you, but he has a responsibility to them. He can’t just drop everything and come see you whenever you want him to. His boss might even fire him if he left to do that.”
No matter that her son is retired. According to Mother, Faye hasn’t done this since. Good for her.
We didn’t get home from the eye doctor until 7 p.m. and I hadn’t been organized enough to start supper before then. By the time we ate and I got her back, it was 10:30 p.m.
She was exhausted and “sickly” (runny nose, coughing) the next day, but much better on Saturday. I picked her up Sunday night, and we went to the 6 p.m. service at church before coming here for supper.
Today I took her to the beauty parlor to get her hair cut and back here for lunch. Apparently she has not recovered from the fatigue of last week. She doesn’t remember going to church on Sunday, nor being over here. She was telling me about a visit she had yesterday from her friend Al, but what she was saying didn’t make sense.
So after checking with him just to be sure. I sat her down and tried to explain that one of the unfortunate things about being old is what your brain tells you is happening isn’t always true. It’s not her fault, it’s not a character defect, I know she isn’t deliberately “lying,” but things sometimes just don’t happen the way she remembers them.
She got teary, and after a few hugs, I thought it was over.
A couple of minutes later, she started again, the exact same story, exact same complaints—totally forgetting that we had just discussed them and what in fact Al said had happened.
I’m guessing she is upset about something—lack of control, not being with me, not being able to see, being with “strangers,”—who knows? In her past, she was accustomed to “getting up her dukes,” ready to fight the world when she felt threatened or uneasy, and she seems to be reverting to that stance on occasion.
I recognize it. My dear late mother-in-law reverted to the lost and abandoned little girl she once was when she was tired and frustrated. At least my mother doesn’t have access to a telephone where she can call me every two hours day and night like Jane used to do Cary!