It’s a rainy, windy day in North Carolina; a day that suits my mood perfectly. I’ve been taken on a rollercoaster ride – blindfolded – since Wednesday, and I need to sit down and breathe deeply.
I’ve shared before about Mom being a “vulnerable adult.” By legal and medical definition that means Mom is easily redirected; that she is defenseless against the whims of others. Mom will say “Yes” to anyone, even someone who does not have her best interests at heart.
My parents have known “Linda” for a couple of decades. She lives in Florida now and travels here frequently to visit with friends, including Mom. The visits, of late, take the form of Linda calling Mom to tell her she’s on her way to pick her up for lunch. Mom scrambles to get ready. She is collected, driven around to pick up several others, then taken to a restaurant sometimes in the mountains two hours away, or to Virginia at least one hour away, or to a home about 45-minutes away.
After Linda’s last such escapade a month ago, Mom told me she didn’t like being in a confined car with so many other people; that she didn’t like traveling such great distances; that she didn’t want to be away from Piedmont Place for so long. After some discussion, Mom asserted that she would decline Linda’s invitations in the future. I had two opportunities to talk with Linda after that, and I explained each time why Mom was just no longer able to go.
Last Wednesday, Mom told me that Linda was driving up from Florida and would be coming to visit the next day. For her part, Mom said absolutely that she would not be going anywhere with Linda. Period.
At 11:30 Thursday morning, Mom called to inform me that Linda was on her way to take her to lunch.
How’d it go this time? Mom scrambled to get ready; they picked up some other ladies and went to lunch about forty-five minutes away. Total away time: three and a half hours. This after Mom insisted to Linda that she must not leave town and must be back home by one o’clock.
Apart from family, we’re down to about two trustworthy friends who can take Mom out. Case closed…
…until the next day, when she informed me that a 60-year-old resident would be taking her to church on Sunday. This church is located in Reidsville, about twenty-seven miles each way. Her resident friend has a car, and Mom thinks he has a license.
But the waters get murkier. She wants to go because she wants another resident to come along and fears this other resident would not go to church if Mom didn’t go.
Reasoning with a dementia patient is almost always a no-win enterprise. Nevertheless, I tried to unpack this scenario so Mom could see that she was opening herself to considerable unnecessary risk. She promised not to go. End of story…
…until she called me a couple of hours later. Mom said she’d be ready for me to pick her up at 10 o’clock Sunday morning to go to church.
This we did, and I haven’t heard from her since returning her to Piedmont Place about five hours ago.
Can someone say, “…waiting for the next foot to drop?”
Today would have been Pop’s eighty-third birthday. Mom didn’t mention it. I wondered if I would be affected by it. I wasn’t, and that still makes me a bit angry. I’m a bit angry that he never formed close relationships with anyone, and because he left this life without almost anyone caring. I can count on half the fingers of one hand the people who called him ‘friend.’
That’s just wrong.