Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crazy Train Tuesday

If you read this blog regularly you know that Tuesday is my day to recap the odds and ends (mostly odds) that are interactions between Mom and me. It keeps me sane and is cheaper than therapy.  Some weeks are easier than others and some are filled with little snippets of life on some alien planet filled with obstacles I never imagined before, where I am an unwilling guest (hostage!). So without wasting anymore time or writing space____

                            ALL ABOARD!!!!!

Tuesday: We had a little difficulty with Mom unlocking her door when I let her out after driving her to the doctor. Several month ago she decided she wanted deadbolt locks on her door and wanted the dead bolts and door knobs to match which I bought and she had installed. (This is actually the kiss of death for her because new door knobs mean change and she does not like or do change well)

Twice a year our community has a group of volunteers who offer services to the Sr. citizens in our little town. The leader of her particular volunteer group visited each house the day before they were to do their jobs to make sure they would bring every tool they needed. We bought Mom deadbolts with an interior knob rather than a dual sided key lock, knowing she would never be able to turn the key to unlock it from the inside. (This was a decision we made due to her lack of dexterity and hand strength) When the dude came to her house he convinced her it was too dangerous to have that kind of lock because any burglar could break the windows in the door  and let themselves in, which is true but Mom lives in a very safe neighborhood.  (We also knew she could not understand  the mechanics of a dual keyed lock or be able maneuver the blooming key.)

So we had to go back to the store and buy different locks (because total strangers know what is best for her; not the daughters who are there daily) which they installed. After they left, she locked the doors , and immediately called me because she was locked inside her house and couldn't get out. I had to run down to her house and yell through the door  (Did I mention the hearing aids she has but refuses to wear?) to try and talk her through the unlocking process. Somehow it worked, but I did not leave before grabbing 2 keys so My Beloved Sister and I would always have one available so we could get into her house.

When I drive her to and fro she only locks the door knob lock and leaves the deadbolt unlocked.  It is fine, in fact, until a couple of moths ago the door knob lock was the only way to lock every exterior door.  Now you have to understand, her old key to her old locks had a different shape than her new key to her matching locks so she has some key identity confusion even though we put a bright orange key cover over the top of it and every single lock in her house is keyed to the same key.  Each time I bring her home I walk her to her door, but I make her unlock her door. I watch as she tries to use the wrong key, then tries to put the right key in upside down, then puts her key in the deadbolt and locks it. Finally puts the correct key in the doorknob lock and unlocks it but can't open the door because she has locked the deadbolt. I know there are some cognitive issues at play here, but there is also an innate reluctance to accept any change.

Oh and did i mention the keys stay in her deadbolt locks 100 percent of the time so nefarious people could still break the window and turn the key if they wanted to. (See how much safer those double keyed locks are?)

Wednesday: I got a call at 8:30 as I was getting ready to go to class.
Me: Hey Mom
Mom: How did you know it was me calling?
Me: I have caller ID, Mom
Mom: What are you doing home? You're supposed to be on the plane right now.
Me: (Silently and to myself) If you  thought I had the early morning flight and wouldn't be here how come you called me?)
        (Aloud) No ma'am, I leave tomorrow at 4 in the afternoon.

Later in the conversation she told me a family friend had died and she had just found out about it. The family was only having a graveside service and they were meeting at the cemetery. I asked her if she wanted me to take her and she said no she wasn't going to go.  Fine. I finished dressing and went to class. On the way home I called My Beloved Sister and found out that Mom was planning on driving herself  to the funeral anyway, so I had to call her right quick, run home and change from jeans and tee shirt into something funeralish, pick Mom up, run across town to the cemetery, and meet the family at the appointed meeting place.  We talked to them a few minutes, then Mom decided she did not want to stay for the service, she just wanted to express condolences and tell them how much their mother meant to her. When we got back in the car she told me thanks for taking her but she didn't want to be a bother to me, so we would just skip the 15 minute service. (Huh?)

I am glad because it would not have been easier on me for her to tell me she actually wanted me to take her there while I was still dressing and could have easily worn funeral clothes to class. Then i could have gone straight to her house to get her rather than having to drive like a maniac to my house and change clothes so I could pick her up in time to get to the cemetery, which turned into a meet and greet! That 15 minutes we saved by not staying for the service made a huge impact on my time that day (Not!)

Thursday: Called Mom to see if she needed anything before I left. No but could I run by and look at a bill she had gotten in the mail?
Me: When is it due Mom?
Mom: June 6th
Me: I will be home Sunday, Mom, I think it can wait till I get back.

Friday: Called her from the hotel just to touch base and see how she was doing, plus my daily morning reminder to take her pills.
Mom: Oh are you home already?
Me: No ma'am, I just got to New York last night. We fly in Sunday and will be there by early evening.
Mom: Well my phone says call from Anne so you can't be at your hotel.
Me: I'm on my cell Mom, I have my cell number programmed in your phone so you phone recognizes my cell number and let's you know it's me.
Mom: (crickets)

Saturday and Sunday  The train was not running

Monday: Phone call in the morning
Mom: I need you to look at this bill for my Master Card.  I want to write a check for it today and get it in the mail.
Me: I am washing clothes and have not had a shower yet so it will be a little while.
Mom: Well I want it to go out today.
Me: I will be down and take care of it, and can drop it at the bank on my way home from your house. (If I drive the longer route from her house to mine the bank is midway between our homes)
Mom: Well it needs to go out today
Me: (Silently) Yeah because it is due June 6 it is critical that it goes out today.
        (Aloud) I'll take care of it.
Got to Mom's in the late afternoon to look over the bill.
Me: Hey Mom where is that bill  you wanted me to look at?
Mom: Oh I took care of it this morning and put it in the mailbox so it's gone.
Me: (crickets)


  1. You know Mine just hollers from the bed room I don't know which is worse. Having to run like hell or having to holler.

  2. I have decided that your mother is a princess.

    1. For the 63 years she and Dad were married she was a queen. I guess she has been demoted since he died and we are her gophers now.

  3. I have read that being hard of hearing accelerates dementia. My mother had a hard time getting her hearing aids in, so she rarely wore them. A lot of the time, we couldn't tell if she was confused because she couldn't hear or she was just confused. I think it was often some of both. Not sure what you're supposed to do with that information, but just another wrinkle to think about.

    1. Like you sometimes the line is blurred between not hearing and confusion. Amazingly though when she has her hearing aids in she is much less "fuzzy".

  4. You have the patience of a saint Anne! I am (thankfully) not at that stage yet with my parents. The biggest thing I have to worry about is that they are going to kill each other before these four years are through - My mom is (and always has been) very liberal while my stepdad certainly is the exact opposite. They fight constantly over this administration and my mom is always saying something to the effect of "if I knew he was like this, I never would have married him" to which I reply, "Mom I was eight when you married him and even I knew back then what he was like!" LOL Don't get me wrong, he's a great guy but as he ages (and his mind goes a little wonky here and there from his Parkinson's) he is becoming a bit "more" my mother's opposite. And, trust me, my mom is no wallflower - so they argue quite a bit. LOL

    1. I actually have little patience, and any I have is used with Mom. I probably should start recording and posting the conversations I have with my sister. Suffice it to say there would be more characters then words &^%$#(*&@!

  5. Ouch.
    When I was still working my mother often rang me (at work) more than a dozen times a day. With things which couldn't wait. And had to wait. Which resulted in more calls...
    And yes, I was (mostly) patient with her, but other people felt the fall out. For which I am sorry.

    1. I understand all to well about the collateral damage to people around me!

  6. I had to laugh when I read about the dead bolt lock and the key! I have one of those dual sided key locks, myself, and guess where the key is kept all the time? LOL! The rationale being, if there is a fire or an earthquake, it will be easier to run out of the house if the key is in place, instead of searching for the key! See, makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

    I am sorry you had to rush around after class on Wednesday morning to take your mother to the funeral; I suppose there is a good reason why your sister can't cover for you on Wednesday mornings. I have nothing but admiration for you and all what you do. (((HUGS)))

  7. My sister works 8-5 and has little flexibility in her workday. In addition to that her husband is going through cancer treatments right now so she uses what little time she has to do whatever he needs. Don;t admire me, I just do what I need/have to do. There are some things I refuse to do. I am not going to clean Mom's house or do her yard work even though she hints at it all the time. The last time I tried to do cleaning there she told me that I was not doing it correctly, so she will have to hire someone (I have already found someone who meets every criteria she lays out)

    1. Anne, I am so sorry to hear about your sister's husband. Yes, she has a very good reason for not being able to cover for you on Wednesday mornings.

  8. This is my absolute favorite theme day on any blog I read. All day long, I kept thinking I will be glad to have time to read what Anne writes.

    I like the dual sided key locks, too. It is the only time I have not locked myself out consistently. Maybe if you found your own words to tell your mother about dementia being associated with the inability to hear, it might cause her to wear the hearing aids.

    I absolutely loved the fact she knew you could not be in NY because her phone said Anne. Priceless. Well, that shows some understanding.

    The next time they have a day to help, I would make it abundantly clear that your plans are to be followed, not matter who thinks he knows better. If a person is afraid of fire, the key could be hung out of sight and feel. I did have a door knob with the dual keys, not just the key lock.

    Take good notes this week.

  9. Mom is going with us to NYC for Son3's graduation this Thursday-Saturday. It should be interesting!

  10. I think your ability to laugh (even when you must want to scream sometimes) is what is getting you through this. And like the others I do get a good giggle out of it! Anna

    1. What is the saying "laugh and the world laughs with you . . ."

  11. I love the crazy train! my shoulders shake with laughter! You are a good daughter!

  12. The link between hearing and fuzziness is interesting. My mum doesn't hear well, she is also impossible to deal with at times. My sister blames her hearing but I think she just doesn't listen. Maybe we are both right.

    Hang in there, Anne

  13. I had a conversation with Mom today about our trip tomorrow and told her I would pick her up at her house at about 9, then we would come back to mine and leave from here. What she got out of it was she was driving to my house but where would she leave her car. It is a little bit frustrating every single day.

  14. Anne, you are so patient with your mom. Your words made me laugh. I can see myself doing the same at her age. I just pray my daughter has your patience!! LOL

    1. It is difficult for both of us. She knows her reasoning is compromised but she keeps fighting