Habits. Some are good. Like she is unfailingly polite to visitors, walking them to the door when they leave. Like she always thanks me after an outing “for all you do.” And always wants to be sure she can pay her own way. “Do I have enough money for this?” “Yes, Mother, don’t worry.”
Other habits are more difficult. For more than two years she has absently scratched at the lower right side of her face, raising welts and nodules. She has already had two pre-cancerous growths removed from the side of her neck, but NOTHING I/we have tried can make her leave that area alone.
Her latest obsession has been removing and pulling apart her hearing aides. Sometimes she puts them in her pockets and forgets about them Other times the helpers find them in her bedclothes in pieces. The warranty has expired, and neither she nor I can afford to replace them if they are lost or broken. They are molded to her ears, and I have shown the staff how to make a super simple adjustment if she complains about them being uncomfortable. She doesn’t complain, just takes them out.
I picked her up today to get her hair cut and then to lunch, but didn’t notice until we were almost at her appointment that her hearing aides weren’t in. She was quiet, anxious, and overly cautious about every little movement. Think Helen Keller: hearing and touch are the only socially connecting senses she has. She had no way of knowing what was going on around her.
I also noticed she was breathing hard after short walks. It may be time to transport her in her wheel chair for everything. Of course, I still haven’t been able to find a winter coat that will fit her around her middle without the shoulders hanging down to her elbows. As cold weather approaches, that may be the deciding factor about her going anywhere at all.