What a strange day it’s been! An open house was scheduled so I suggested to my husband that we plan a little overnight getaway and spend some time with my family on the other side of the mountains (since we had to make ourselves scarce anyway). After checking with the dog boarder to see if she had availability and determining whether any reasonably priced hotels were available, I pulled the trigger. Our boarder had room for our dog and Priceline had a room for a great price, so it all worked out. The biggest stumbling blocks were getting my husband to actually go and navigating the traffic on the way over. Before we headed out the door, I felt like one of those pet owners who tries to coax their dog into taking a walk, and once they actually get their dog out the door and onto the sidewalk, the dog plants its butt and refuses to move. Now, I’m not saying that my husband is anything like a dog although there are a few peculiar similarities (I’ll tackle that another day), but when it came down to willfully departing our home in order to go on our little getaway, I felt the closest analogy to describing my husband’s resistance was of a dog planting its butt on the sidewalk.
He had good reason for not wanting to go. While doing squats during his workout the previous day, he pulled a muscle in his back and wound up in a great deal of pain. On top of that, he really doesn’t enjoy spending time with my family. Needless to say, I get it. What I had/have a problem with is after he (in so many words) said that he wasn’t going to go because of his back, he went outside and aerated our back and side lawns using a pitchfork, and then proceeded to reseed, fertilize, and water them. If he is able to do all of that with a bad back, he is more than capable of spending a few hours with my family. I was convinced he wasn’t going to go but he must have put some thought into it while fussing with the yard because once he was done, he walked straight up to me in the kitchen (while I was putting together a vegetable tray) and indicated that he’d changed his mind. I have to tell you, I was surprised! From his demeanor earlier, I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that he was going to go. I was relieved because I really didn’t want to go by myself and had I not booked a non-refundable room, I would have opted to stay home, too. However, even though I got the room at a good rate, I still paid over $100 and couldn’t let it go to waste.
I thought convincing my husband to go was the biggest hurdle I’d have to face (with regard to the getaway) but the actual driving part was much worse. Ordinarily, the drive is 2 1/2 to 3 hours (max). Today, it took 4 1/2 long, excruciating hours. What I hadn’t realized when we departed our home was that it was a Sunday and it’s never wise to make the trip on a Sunday. On Sundays, everyone and their brother is returning home after a long weekend at the lake or camping. In this case, I think everyone and their brother, sister, cousin, and aunt was returning home after a long weekend. What didn’t make sense about the whole thing was how the traffic would be zipping along and then abruptly stop. We thought for sure that there must have been road construction or an accident but there was nothing of the sort, just poorly planned infrastructure. We’d crawl along and stop and crawl along and stop, continually craning our necks to see what (if anything) was taking place up ahead. I began to get worried because in addition to my right calf starting to cramp (from working the gas and brake pedal continually), my bladder was getting full.
After about two hours of ‘driving’ in this fashion, just as quickly as the congestion started, it stopped. And to my relief, a sign for Safeway appeared on our right shortly thereafter. Once we reached the store, I didn’t hesitate to pull in and park and hightail it to the nearest restroom. Fortunately, it wasn’t a restroom restricted by an access code or a key. If it were, you can be sure there would have been a PA announcement for a ‘clean up on aisle three’, one that the store associate assigned to clean it up would have been completely unprepared for. I can envision that person (broom and dustpan in one hand, roll of paper towels in the other) scratching their head as they approached the sizable puddle of clear, yellow liquid, unable to determine the source due to an absence of broken glass or a leaking bottle laying on its side. And once they realized that the liquid didn’t originate from a shattered or leaking bottle of syrup or vinegar or olive oil, and that it was in fact urine, I can see them shaking their head and saying out loud, “I don’t get paid enough for this sh*t!” and possibly walking off the job. Would I blame them? Absolutely not! You’d expect that working in a day care or assisted living facility, but not in a grocery store.
And since I mentioned assisted living, you’re probably thinking I’m going to discuss my mother. If that’s what you’re thinking, you’d be correct! Yes, I cannot talk about today without talking about my mother. I am happy to say that she didn’t compare me to a pig this time but she did seem a tad confused as to who I was. She was absolutely convinced that we had just spent time together two days prior and kept asking me, “Wasn’t I just at your place a couple of days ago?” She also asked me about my toe and whether it was still hurting. I let her know that she hadn’t been out to my place for quite a while and that all of my toes were fine. She then declared, “You have a twin!” “Who is my twin?” I asked, but she wasn’t able to provide a name. I’m pretty sure she was comparing me to my sister, Diabolical Debbie. Since my hair has turned gray/white and I’ve lost weight, I’ve noticed quite a few people making that mistake, but it’s usually people who see us infrequently and don’t know us very well. I didn’t expect that from my mother but once again, I’ve got to blame it on the Alzheimer’s. Her mind just isn’t what it used to be.
Yes, her mental faculties have significantly declined and it’s apparent in a number of ways, one of them being her personal hygiene (or lack thereof). I’m not sure why exactly, but she has become vehemently opposed to bathing. My brother asked me to speak to her about it but nothing I said seemed to help. She couldn’t understand why everyone was making such a big deal about it and why my brother keeps broaching the topic. My brother said he can barely get her to bathe once a week but according to her, she bathes every single day. When she told me that, I responded with, “Your nose just grew, Pinocchio!” “Does he constantly check to find out whether you took a shower?” she asked me, “He brings it up nearly every time he sees me.” “Well,” I started out (trying to be mindful about my approach), “It’s good to keep clean. You should bathe at least every other day. If I don’t bathe at least that often, I can really start to stink up the joint.” I must confess, I didn’t use those exact words. In lieu of ‘bathe’, I used ‘wash your butt’ (in the first instance) and ‘wash my butt’ (in the second).
I know, I know…it seems crude, but I cannot help it! I’ve been using that term for years and the reaction is so worth it!! With my mom, she always screws up her face when I say it, and then repeats it in a comical manner. All joking aside, she’s not happy about all of this ‘shower talk’. Truth be told, she’s not happy about a lot of things. What’s a real bummer is that I think the situation’s only going to get worse. Apparently, the assisted living center where she has been living has requested a meeting tomorrow. My brother asked if I would attend. “Of course!” I agreed, “But what’s it all about?” From what I could ascertain from what my brother could say (indirectly) in front of my mother, was that she might be getting an eviction notice soon due to her declining (mental) health. She refuses to eat in the dining room or eat the meals provided by the staff (even though they’re included in her care). She has resorted to wearing diapers (over her underwear) and once they’re soiled, deposits them in a number of places (resulting in her room smelling like a Port-a-John). And to that list, a recent addition, ‘refusal to bathe’.
Why does life have to be so complicated? Why?! Why did my mom end up with Alzheimer’s, and her mother, and her mother’s mother? Is that what I get to look forward to as well? The odds are certainly not in my favor, that’s for sure! My mom did all kinds of stuff to ward it off (including the daily crossword puzzle in the newspaper for decades) but it happened anyway. She never went a day without bathing or resorted to eating a bowl of cheerios with a banana every morning for breakfast (when she had countless other options to choose from). She definitely never mistook me for Diabolical Debbie. That is truly frightening! No, seriously, what lies ahead isn’t good. If an eviction notice is in order, my mom is going to be devastated. If she has to move out of assisted living and into memory care, what little freedom she has will be gone. She will no longer be ‘grumpy’, she will be angry and unreconcilable, and the brunt of that anger will be directed at my brother, her primary caretaker. I wish there were easy answers to all of this but there appear to be none. I feel bad for her because she never would have wanted this life and I feel bad for my brother because no matter what he does, he’s the ‘bad guy’. Nobody wins.
Anyhow, sorry to be such a downer today. I didn’t have much positive to take away from it, and I think tomorrow will be more of the same. Maybe just like my husband, the assisted living center will surprise me, too, and the news won’t be as bad as I anticipated. I guess I’ll find out in a few short hours. On that note, I suppose I’d better go. I’m exhausted from the long drive and ‘bed’ is calling. Hope you have a joyful day…and thanks for stopping by!