I went to a care planning meeting this morning at QO. It was raining, so I didn’t take the dogs. She had a haircut appointment right after the meeting and dealing with them, the doggy pram, all the coming and going, and the rain would have been too much.
Mostly, I listened. The four staff told me how she is less and less communicative. She no longer sings. She has occasional animated conversations with unseen people, providing all the voices. The social worker had his monthly evaluation/conversation with her. He said in the past, he’d ask her something and there would be a pause before she’d answer. This time, the pauses trailed off into nothingness. She’d forgotten the question, or didn’t have the energy or inclination to respond.
I told them about what I learned two weeks ago (last post), plus some other family information. They were as shocked as I, and said it explained a lot of her behaviors.
It was a good meeting.
Afterwards I found her sitting by the nurses’ station. She didn’t seem to recognize me. She didn’t want her hair cut. By my request, it was freshly washed, and I ran my fingers through it, telling her it was so long I was going to be able to braid it soon. It’s not, and normally that would have gotten a rise out of her, but this time the only thing it seemed to do was calm her down enough for me to get her to the little beauty shop.
She said nothing the whole time.
I wheeled her out on the porch and showed her the little ceramic Easter basket of candy I had prepared for her last week. I had to fold her hands around it. I told her to take a piece and tell me what kind of candy it was.
“Chocolate.” Her favorite. Other than “I don’t want to get my hair cut,” it was the only thing she said the whole time I was there.
The next one was one of those puffy mints. The last one (it was close to lunch time) was one of those large gumball types that explode with flavor. This one was orange. She ate them both, but did not respond to my encouraging her to tell me what flavor they were.
She didn’t move when I took the basket out of her hands. The rain had stopped and it was warm, so I wheeled her around the grounds. She did not react to anything I said.
Last year someone had found three abandoned kittens and brought them to the nursing home. Now large, healthy, friendly outdoor cats, they love to jump in any available lap. Without the dogs there, Mother was a prime candidate. Her hands knew how to pet, but her face was expressionless. I decided not to worry about slightly muddy footprints on her shirt.
I took her inside, told her I had to leave and would see her in a few days. “Give me a kiss,” I said as usual. She lifted her face, I bent down for her kiss, and kissed her on the forehead.
At least she remembered that little ritual.