It was a lovely afternoon yesterday, so right after my class I went home, got the dogs, and drove out to see her. What a crazy winter its been! Everything shut down two weeks ago because of ice and snow, but the last couple of days have been in the 70s.
She was in her wheelchair at her table in the dining room, even though it was an hour and a half before supper. She looked nice. Her hair was freshly washed and brushed, and the lavender throw she had in her lap matched her shirt. I just wrapped it around her shoulders and wheeled her out into the sunshine.
As usual, the dogs seemed to love sitting in her lap for the ride. I found a bench where I could sit and position her so the sun would hit her face without being in her eyes.
She was very quiet, responding appropriately to my comments but not offering any of her own. We talked about the weather, and I asked if she remembered any really cold winters.
“Of course! Walking to Fry’s Corners when it was so cold your legs could hardly move.”
“Wow. That sounds pretty bad. Why did you have to walk to Fry’s Corners?” (where ever that was…)
“To catch the school wagon.”
“Oh? tell me about it.”
It was the most I’ve heard her talk in several weeks. The school wagon was pulled by two horses and could seat 8 or 9 kids “if they were little” on the benches on either side. Between the benches was a little wood stove that everyone had to be very careful not to touch or tip over. It didn’t really help, though, because every time the back door opened and someone climbed in, all the warm air leaked out. If it was very cold, the driver sat inside.
“But how could he drive the horses?”
It seems there were slots for the reins and he spoke to them through a “voice box.” “That’s what I called it,” she said. Unfortunately, I could not get her to describe what it looked like or how it operated.
I asked if she had hurt herself when she fell yesterday. She said she felt okay. The staff had called me. She had finished eating supper and was trying to climb on the table, thinking it was her bed.
I had a long talk with the social worker a few days ago. He says she in almost completely incontinent. The singing she used to do has been replaced by loud talking. They say “talking out of her head,” but I think both are just so she can hear a voice, any voice. She so desperately wants someone to talk with her, to engage with her. Most of what she gets is someone telling her what to do and how to do it.
I missed a care planning meeting two weeks ago. No one told me about it. It was on a listed posted on an office door I have no reason to look at, and on the bulletin board by her bed. The stuff on that bulletin board (schedules, menus) hasn’t changed since she’s been there and I am not programed to put on my reading glasses and go exploring for things I might need to know. Ticked me off.
Maybe they’ll let me reschedule. It was during the ice storm.