In about ten days, Lisa and I will have been here in North Carolina for a year. It’s been a busy time for sure, and if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you already know why.
Among the activities missing from our lives, however, has been the creation of a life for ourselves. So, a few weeks ago, I looked up a friend from thirty-five years ago. To my amazement, he is still here. He has grown and thrived and is a respected member of the community. This evening, I met his wife. We got talking about her mother’s challenges with dementia which parallel my mother’s, and when she learned that Mom also has Parkinson’s, well, that was the frosting on the cake; the double whammy. She knew immediately what we are dealing with.
That got me thinking, again, about how we think about and deal with Mom. I’ve said so many times before that it’s often easy to think of her as sentient, and, I believe she is; sometimes. Increasingly, though, we’re finding inconsistencies in her memory, and ability to function as she has for all these years.
We went on an impromptu shopping trip today. We hit maybe six stores looking for sweaters and a winter coat for Mom. She’s still battling with Pop’s imposed guilt regarding spending money, but we worked through it and ended up with one sweater. Another day, another store…
It was interesting to observe her shopping behavior (apart from the guilt); it was hard for me to tell if she was mentally drifting, being distracted, or who knows what. She flitted from sweaters to blouses to pants. She wasn’t in any way interested in blouses or pants, but seemed somehow drawn to them. Then it was on to something else entirely.
I’m one of those guys who’s not ashamed to shop alongside my wife. I’m also not ashamed to hold her hot pink purse while she’s using both hands to rifle through racks of clothes, or to carry feminine products to the cash register. I’m saying this to qualify myself as one who is frequently in a position to observe shopping behavior. I know that Lisa has to look at and touch many things in the store, most of which she has no inclination to actually buy; yet she must touch them. Perhaps this is common. I don’t know.
With Mom, though, it seemed somehow different; less connected, wandering. I mentioned her walking past the barrier after her attendance at the barbeque the other day in the Piedmont Place parking lot. Thank goodness PP had people watching constantly for that very thing. I saw that kind of behavior many times today; simply veering off in an odd direction. In an ordinary world, it would not be worthy of mentioning. In Mom’s world, you have to constantly wonder where she is in her thinking.
So it’s day by day, and I continue to question myself while questioning Mom’s state of mind. As long as she’s in responsible hands, she’s okay. When not, I have to wonder…