I dropped by to see Mother two days ago on my way to visit my daughter and son-in-law for the holiday weekend. I could tell right away she was having one of those "bad" days: just standing there unable to move in her assisted living room. In a split second she fell sideways and hit the floor, breaking two fingers. So, instead of spending a wonderful weekend the kids, I spend the next 8 hours in an emergency room with mother. They put a splint on her hand and told us she'll need surgery next week.
When I got her back to assisted living, she literally couldn't get up or walk. With staff help, we wheeled her up to her room. Next day I went to see her and she's trying to remove that bandage off the splint. Told her "mother why are you unwrapping the splint?" "Because they didn't do it right" she answers.
Today my wife and I went to see her and she starts talking about moving back home. (to her house three hours away.) We suspect that she took a double round of pain meds that caused her to get unbalanced and fall. She hasn't been taking her meds properly, so we arranged with the assisted living facility to have them administer her meds.
This sent her into a rage, so she calls me tonight and tells me she's packing up and going home. "The doctors back home can do the surgery. These doctors here don't know anything", she said. She proceeds to tell me how she hates it here and she can't believe I talk to her the way I do. (I had the nerve to tell her she wasn't going back home). In her make believe world, all her friends back home are wonderful people who love her and will do anything for her. When I point out that it is me and my wife who are carrying her to doctors and sitting in emergency rooms rather that her friends back home (who are all old and dying) she just blows me off.
I could have gone to see my college alma mater win their conference baseball tournament today, but I didn't because of "mother", just like I didn't go visit my daughter because of "mother", just like I don't have time or energy to start my dream side business because of "mother", just like I can't travel like I used to because I never know when the phone is going to ring because of "mother."
I had an older special needs brother who died of cancer this past January. He had a special place in mother's heart. She loves me, but not in the special way she loved him. Today when I told her she wasn't able to go back home, she told me my brother "would have never talked to her that way." By today she had totally removed the entire wrapping off her splint. There's some kind of dementia going on. Not alzheimer's because she still knows who we all are. Yet, she told me matter of factly that we went to her house (3 hours away) after we left the emergency room two nights ago, before going to her assisted living place. Whether Lewy Body, or Vascular Dementia, I don't know. Don't know if it really matters. We have her scheduled for a brain scan this week, if she's able to go. But she detects that we are having her checked out mentally, and that pisses her to high heaven.
She has recently begun "picking" at things. (I've heard it called pill rolling.) Removing the splint bandage is typical of what she's doing. It's painful to watch her grabbing at things, sometimes when there's nothing there to grab. (she imagined her purse was in the floorboard of my car when we got back from the emergency room and started grabbing for it. I told her it wasn't there because we didn't bring it. She just kept grabbing at nothing.)
One day she'll be relatively okay, and tell me how much she loves me and my visits brighten her day. Next day she'll tell me she's going home and treat me like I'm the sorriest s.o.b. to ever be called a son. I could go on, but y'all get the point. I dearly love my mother. She wasn't always this way. But these days she's become Mother in the Pink Floyd song "mamas gonna make all of your nightmares come true, mama's going to put all of her fears into you."
I try my best to put on my game face at work, at church, with friends. They don't really want to hear all this, and unless you've lived it, people don't really believe it's "that" bad. I find myself saying, next week I'm going to get back on regular schedule, start back exercising, start writing the book. Then mother simply throws me a knockdown pitch that I don't see coming. Not really asking for advice, just venting because I truly miss the life I once had.