After a couple of relatively good weeks, today was one of confusion. It’s my birthday, and I brought her home for a lunch of left-over party foods. I told her how old I am.
“Now, how much older than me are you?”
“Uh, I call you ‘Mother.’ Think about what you just said.”
“Oh, yeah. You’ve my daughter, right?”
“Yes. Do you know how old you are?” Long pause…
“No, I can’t say that I do.
“What’s your best guess?”
“Well, I must be pushing sixty.”
This time the long pause was mine. The lack of orientation in time–and place–has been problematic for some time. How do you respond to someone who has lost the last fifty, sixty, or seventy years of their memories?
“And where on God’s green earth are we right now?” I told her, but “Georgia,” or “St. Louis,” are just words to her. She knows Berea, sometimes knows Olmsted Falls, but everything else is “not-Berea” or “not-Olmsted Falls.”
She enjoyed her lunch, and finally wrapped her head around “my birthday,” though I think the concept of mother-daughter is often just words as well. She sang Happy Birthday to me–got most of the way through, but stumbled on my name.
As I handed her off to one of the aides back at WP, she turned and most sincerely hoped I have a “wonderful time” and “many more.”
The social niceties are still there, even without conceptualization and understanding. She means well.
And she DOES enjoy eating!