Saturday, June 11, 2016

Changes: Dealing with an elderly parent (6/11/16, part 6)

Saturday June 11th: Both of us have different things to do today but before I head out I check emails on my computer. While the spam folder is accessible on my phone's version of gmail, it's not as obvious and this time on the computer I notice there are several messages in the folder. I retrieve them, delete several, find one from mom and open it. It's from the previous week and it's ugly, launching into a tirade against my husband who has not only been staying there during the week to keep an eye on mom, but who shops for her, makes a point to sit down and talk each morning, confirms she has enough to drink, leaves her funny notes and yes, he cares about her.

On June 2nd however, apparently after she repeatedly forgot to call the maintenance man to cut the grass, he left her a note which said "Mom, you might want to call Mr. W in the next day or two since it's not supposed to rain this week. Maybe he can get over here if you wanted to call him today?". Mom apparently had become furious over this suggestion and for the first time ever, left him a nasty note that night. I hadn't seen it but not wanting to leave me out she emailed about how I should train my husband better, that he is grooming the property for how he wants it and that he must certainly be hoping for her demise so he can have it. The ranting went on to say that she's considering other options for the property now, just so he isn't someone who winds up with it - as if it's only him, no mention of me at all.

I'm stunned and shocked. Attacking the beloved son-in-law is so completely out of character for her and to just casually state she's thinking of giving away our family home floors me. Around that time she calls and I choke out a few words explaining why I'm upset; she replies that she had surgery and the anesthesia must have made her woozy and certainly I'm mistaken or am just making things up because she would never write something like that. I do a screen shot and send it to her as we get off the phone because the home health aide is coming. That's good news because it means Mom was open to the option of a stranger coming into her house and I'm relieved to hear it. Granted, the HHA told me on the phone yesterday that she can't speak with me about mom's condition because she refused to give consent for that while in the hospital over the last few days. Each time I speak with mom about it she says of course, she wants me to know what is happening, there is no reason I shouldn't but by the time they ask her again she declares that "her business" and not something I need to meddle in.

A hour later the HHA calls as she is leaving. She mentions that mom seems fine, didn't notice any unusual or peculiar behavior and that all appears well. For the second time today, I'm speechless. Six phone calls the day before to me, several more to other people, all asking the same questions and repeating a story of having been at a conference for the last few days....when in reality she was in the hospital. The dogs went to be boarded since I couldn't line up enough caretakers for them and when I've asked mom what time they were brought back she says "back?" as if she has no concept they or she were ever gone.

Ok, so perhaps these are isolated incidents and nothing serious, because after all here is a medical professional telling me that in her opinion, mom is fine. My email dings and it's mom again, stating how hungry she is and that there is virtually no food in the house. She will try to make what she has last until Monday when perhaps some kind soul would be good enough to bring her groceries. I remind her that son-in-law went shopping last week when she came back from the hospital, that he purchased a wide variety of things for her and there should be plenty on hand. She tells me I'm crazy. I wait for husband to arrive back home and together we call her so he can explain where the food is; once he's on the phone with her the tone of voice changes completely and she suddenly finds the meals and packages we've been referring to.

What am I missing here....these short bursts of what seems like memory loss or confusion aren't obvious to anyone else? Perhaps she didn't engage in much conversation with the HHA but everyone else I talk with is appalled at her forgetfulness, they ask me if she still drives and express their concerns. But the medical professionals don't see a thing wrong....maybe I AM crazy. WHY doesn't anyone else see this?

To start at the beginning you can read part 1 here. 

"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa