Sunday, November 15, 2009


The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies.

Gaining It and Recognizing the Gain

"I'm going through something painful with my mother, too," said a colleague with Aspberger's the other day as I was on my way to visit my mom in the rehab facility. "She's got dementia and doesn't remember well," said my colleague about his mom and then, "My father, actually, has forgotten that she will be turning 85, and says she's 83. And I'm a person who cares a lot about numbers. She's not 83. She's nearly 85." As he spoke, he stared anxiously at my throat, which unnerved me. Finally, I touched it and found that my necklace was askew. I re-centered it and he stopped staring and seemed to relax a bit.

Thank God I do not have Aspberger's, and thank God my mother has no dementia.

Rehab Encounters

Yesterday, at lunch with my mother in the rehab dining room, I met a 100-year-old woman, who looked 80 at most, and then later, in my mom's room, a nurse from another country, whose daughter was given a total scholarship to Loomis Chafee, but for whom it's a dilemma, since culturally, it's anathema for the daughter to go to boarding school and be away from the family.

And I met my mother's former roommate, who called her a devil, since my mother is not Christian, and then also a greyhound, who is on the rehab floor to provide affection-therapy for the patients. I stole a few pets from the dog while waiting for the elevator. The greyhound was not as silky and as furry as our kitties, but she was still comforting.

My mom hasn't yet found anyone to sit with during her meals. The 100-year-old woman could become a friend. She'll have to see. Meanwhile, my mom told me that the prior day, she sat down across from a woman, who didn't acknowledge her, so my mother said plainly, "Are you anti-social or do you have Alzheimer's?" The woman did not register the question, and my mom said, "When I got up, she gave me a smile; you know, they're in and out [with Alzheimer's]."

I wish I could find the energy to make the trip more often to spend more time with my mother; I can hardly stand that she feels lonely, but I guess it's also because I can't stand the idea of being alone myself.

Till My Sister Gets There

My sister Deb will bring her kids to see my mom today, around 2 pm, so I called this morning to keep her company for a bit meanwhile.

"It looks like a beautiful day outside," my mom said.

"It is. It's warm. Pat and I raked leaves and it was fun this time, since she's taking her tree-identification class and was pointing out all of the different leaves while we raked."

"That's what I had with your father. I was never bored."

I'm not surprised that they were never bored. My mother and I laughed and laughed at lunch yesterday and she kept grabbing the University of Wisconsin Bucky Badger I brought for her to her chest, so it wouldn't hurt so much when she did. (My mother's a U-W alumni club life-member.) "What did you say when your roommate called you a devil?"

"I told her she was lucky that she didn't have a roommate who was a lawyer. Now, she's telling people that I said I would call the cops, which I didn't say."

I also read her the NYT article on Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks and we cracked up.

Minutes ago, I switched over to e-mail to see the latest in my in-box and saw a note from a friend and colleague about her father's passing from a sudden heart attack, including wake information.

God, we never know how long we have and every funny conversation I can have with my mom is a blessing.


Denise said...

I can't call my grandma, she has a phone she just can't make it work.My Dad demands that she have one, He refuses to except theres no one she can call.Or that wearing her glasses won't help her sight she can't see her glasses. She's 97 and just 4 months ago she had to leave her home.She had fallen 4 x's in 6 months.When I visit her she complains about the food the people and she wants to go home. She did that at home and complained about how hard it was being alone. Now she looks great and won't burn the place down. I see her as one as my most important teachers, I don't want to be that unhappy or mean.1 of my goals in life is to become a nicer person than my Dad and grandma.I love the mean old lady and I want to grow to be a very lecherous and very old woman.I'm visiting her tomorrow, at least once a week, I let her bitch and tell her how right she is, giving her what she wants.To be right.We take our gifts where ever we can find them. She cared for me when I needed help and always stood where she thought was best for me. I don't need to be right, I want to show her what happy looks like.I hope you and yours always enjoy health and each other.

Sarah Siegel said...

Denise, family relations are all so complex and simple at once, aren't they?