September 2, 2013–advantages of memory loss

It took about nine hours over two days, but I got her moved in and settled.  I was surprised to learn that Georgia has a dental program available in some nursing homes (not the one that turned her down!) that covers on-site treatments of almost everything with no cost to Medicaid patients.  Of course I signed her up.

There have been some glitches, but I expected that.  This is the first facility she has been in where I immediately felt confident she will be well cared for.  Staff is being careful to speak to her on her right side by her good ear and to use her name every time.  I hadn’t thought of it this way, but for someone with memory loss, if someone “knows you,” then you probably “know them,” and that makes them “safe(er).”

She phoned me the first night but I didn’t get the message until late.  By the next morning, she had forgotten.

I took the dogs there this afternoon.  The extra-long twin mattress pad I bought fit her bed, much to my relief.  Having slept on sheets-over-vinyl-mattresses in the past, I know how uncomfortably sticky that can get just from body perspiration.

Someone had screwed up her hearing aid, which is not unusual.  I expect to be showing people how it is supposed to be for some time.

We sat out on the front porch.  There was a nice breeze.  All of a sudden she said, “I have to get Jack something to eat”

“Who is Jack?”

Long pause.  “I married him, didn’t I?”

“Yes, but he died several years ago.”

“What did he die of?”

“Old age.”

“Well, I don’t want to get married again, that’s for sure.”

Uh, right.

“Will we ever be going back to that little rental house?”  My mind raced.  What rental house?  Oh!  She was thinking about the house she had lived in with her mother and stepfather when she was in high school.

I assured her that where she was living now was her permanent home.  She seemed placated without any understanding.  With no understanding of the passage of time or of place, stories about where she has been and what she has done are just that–stories.  I am that friendly woman who visits her, Tina or Phyllis, daughter or cousin, and as long as I can talk as if I know what happened long ago, she is happy.

Of course she knows the dogs.  They are her buddies.



About estherfromolmsted

written and maintained by Tina
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