We had a nice plan for the afternoon: Lunch at a recommended vegan restaurant, and then a walk to to the dock to show my husband the marine aquarium, followed by a stroll along the harbor docks to gawk at boats. If the weather wasn’t cooperative, the museum was a fine alternate.

Toward the end of lunch mom said she needed to go buy batteries for her radio. I said we absolutely could do that. She got up from the table, and I said, “We’re almost done. Let’s go together.” She sat down with a barely perceptible huff. I am not supposed to let her out of my sight.

When we entered the drug store she made a beeline for the antihistamines, the sort she isn’t supposed to have. I told her she couldn’t have them, and they were against doctor’s orders. As I reached for the box she screeched, with anger and hostility, “Don’t you touch ME!” I told her she was behaving like a child and called the SNF, in front of her, to forewarn them what was happening.

Rather than go the museum, we returned to the SNF. I told the staff she was not allowed out of the building, made notes to that effect in the patient sign-out log, and talked to the nurse who said they would work on, gently and sneakily if need be, separating mom from her fucking precious antihistamines. If they can’t accomplish that by morning, they will get her doctor involved.

As my husband and I turned to leave, it was obvious that mom had completely forgotten the entire incident. The only lingering sign was her purse tightly clutched under her right armpit.

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