Never? How about never?

I'm still at my dad's house. Shortly after dinner the phone rings. Caller ID shows that it is a credit card company he doesn't do business with. When he answered the phone, they asked for my mother. He told them that she wasn't here. They asked when would be a better time to call. He said, "Never. She is institutionalized." The telemarketer replied, "Okay, we'll take her off our list for 30 days."

My mom is in the advanced stages of early-onset Alzheimer's disease. She has been in a memory care facility for over a year. In that year she has deteriorated to the point that even on good days she doesn't recognize her husband of 48 years, let alone her children or grandchildren. She cannot bathe or feed herself. She can no longer stand up straight and her balance is so poor that she regularly falls and has broken her nose and blacked her eyes. She speaks in gibberish, but is clearly anxious most of the time. She is 69.

I hate that this has happened to her. I know that it would just kill her if she were aware of her situation. I hate that my father is having to suffer through watching his smart, articulate, capable spouse disintegrate before his eyes. But mostly I hate that my kids will never know her. That their only memories of her will be of that kind of scary old lady at that place that smells funny. I hate that she can't share her encyclopedic knowledge of all things pediatric medicine when one of my babies is under the weather and I need some parental hand holding. I hate that I can't run stuff by her anymore. I hate that she's here, but not really here. I hate that this could happen to me in fewer years than I care to think about.

I hate that I am so poorly equipped to deal with any of it. Awash in the sea of post-partum depression, there is only so much help pharmacology can offer. But a big tub of ice cream? Now there's a drug I can get behind. Which brings me full circle back to why I am here at Critical (of)M(y)ass in the first place. Arg. Because it's all about me. Jeez, like I'm the victim. Sometimes I get so tired of myself.

But at least if I do completely lose my mind, I can still get a credit card.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rae Ann,

    Your blog yesterday was particularly poignant and full of awareness. It is so sad, but as you said, at least she doesn't know.

    later. auntie mary


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