“I mean—hell, I been surprised how sane you guys all are. As near as I can tell you’re not any crazier than the average asshole on the street…”
(from Nicholson’s character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
I think the universe intended for me to go to that intense yoga class that resulted in a huge release early in the week to prepare me for what was coming. I honestly do.
Little Red Riding Hood (my Mom with Alzheimer’s) had to go to the hospital yesterday via ambulance because we couldn’t get her to walk or get up and because she doesn’t really communicate, we couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
She is still in the hospital and depending on how she recovers (apparently certain infections can make dementia worse. Who knew?), she may or may not be able to go home since she seems to have advanced to the next stage. Either way, the next shoe is starting to drop and I have been in full gear researching facilities and options. (These are times when I miss my sister the most.)
Hospital visits were beyond bizarre for various reasons, but mainly because 1) hospitals in Denver were full due to the flu and we were diverted to a less full hospital which was still quite full and 2) she is in a room where they put 4 people who need 24/7 “sitters” (for people who don’t understand what is going on and might try to get up and then fall).
It was like I was in a strange movie that was so awful it was almost funny. I kept waiting to hear Jack Nicholson’s voice.
Here are some highlights:
-One of Mom’s roommates had his own sitter right by his bed at all times which made me uneasy. He was listening to Jimmy Hendrix music and blurting out aggressive sounding phrases. I swear to you I thought he was going to pull out a shank from under his mattress. And he sort of had the Jack Nicholson look going on.
-Another roommate kept asking for a beer and pointing to what he thought was a beer Stein hanging up on the wall (it was actually a piece of medical equipment that did look like a Stein) and wanted us all to see it. He was the cutest and sweetest little man I’ve ever seen. I wanted to go buy him a six pack and make his day.
-Two of the Certified Nurse Assistants (the sitters) were absolutely darling. They have hearts of gold and I wanted to adopt them. One named Flora from the Philippines told me all about her family’s plantation in the Philippines where they grow rice. She said if someone made $750 a month in the Philippines they would be so rich they could have five maids.
-Another of the sitters I’m guessing was from South America and was determined to find something that my Mother would eat. We finally landed on chocolate cake and Pepsi once I got there today and shared my mother’s strange eating preferences. Worked like a charm. Some things are never forgotten. She also told me I have my mother’s nose and she bet my Mom was quite pretty when she was younger. She was right. I told her she was a beauty queen in high school.
-The unfriendly nurse (who was clearly put-out with any question I asked) was seriously channeling Nurse Ratched.
-Another one of Little Red Riding Hood’s roommates kept asking for cottage cheese over and over and seemed sad. He had a huge scar across his head. I wanted to give him a hug but he was on the side of the room by the guy I was worried had a shank under the mattress. This roommate’s mother came and visited him and my heart ached for her.
-There were four TVs going at the same time, plus the Jimmy Hendrix music, plus the beer and cottage cheese requests and medical chatter. Enough uncoordinated noise to make an undiagnosed ADD person with sensitive hearing lose it. but I didn’t.
-Little Red Riding Hood has not lost her ability to sarcastically roll her eyes and did so every time a room mate blurted something out. This cracked me up. Apparently she thought the rest of the group was crazy, not her. Again, some things never change.
-She petted and squeezed the cute little beanie baby dog nonstop from the second I brought it in from the gift shop. This made me happy because it made her happy.
-I’m damn sure figuring out a way to go to yoga tomorrow.
Thanks as always for reading… Hug or call whatever family you have this weekend and tell them you love or appreciate them — even if they drive you nuts.
Hugs to you!!!!
These are definitely surreal moments of your life, and of your mother’s. I’m sure she appreciates all you are doing. Find your strength and peace with the yoga to help you carry on.
Thank you for being part of my cyber support group!
I’ve been in your shoes twice, unfortunately; your description of the other patients and their entourages definitely rings a bell. Our most memorable co-patients deserve their own post. I hope the stress eases for you…it’s hard, but a good thing you’re doing.
Thanks for your kind words. Good to know we’re all in this together.
I’m glad your mother is rolling her eyes and eating chocolate cake. Definitely do not miss your fire breathing tomorrow.
Wow… hang in there. It’s good that you are finding the humor in all of this.
From personal experience I found that the hospital/facility social workers can be a wealth of information and, sometimes, an enormous help!
I will. Thinking of you.
Thanks for reading… and for being part of my cyber support group…:)
Reminds me of when my Mom was in the hospital a few years ago.. It was like something out of the Twilight Zone..The people, those damn bright lights..I do hope your Mom will recover and the decisions you are faced with will come with strength and peace. Sending some cyber strength to you!!
Thanks for sharing. My mom suffered from dementia before she passed. Here’s to peaceful moments of yoga and whatever else helps.