Thanksgiving 2019 – Details

We started the day by ignoring the alarm we set for ourselves, but were up in time to get going on a rice dressing (a family recipe I changed up so it’s now gluten free, but retains the same flavor), and make the cranberries.

At 10AM we all met at Jane’s community and spent an hour visiting with her. She seemed to enjoy the company, yet was in a darker place. She was quite contrary, and a little paranoid. Comes with the disease.

Once home I finished the dressing, while my DH created a frame for mom’s couch to sit on, raising it another 3.5″. We then had time to relax and read.

Mom was sleeping when I let us into her apartment. She was happy to see us. I got down on the floor so we could be eye-to-eye as she lay on the bed. She asked “Wasup?” I told her my DH was going to put the frame under her couch, and then we’d head to dinner. She had no idea we were picking her up. To her this was the first she’d heard of it, much less her being included in the holiday dinner. I don’t think she knew it was Thanksgiving.

I said, “We wrote it on the calendar.” Mom replied, “What calendar?” I said, “You’re calendar.” Mom, “Where?” Me pointing, “Right there on the wall.” Mom, “What day is it.” Me, “The 28th. Thanksgiving.” Mom, “Me too?” Me, “Yes, of course, that’s why we’re here! To pick you up.” Mom, “Oh, thank you, thank you.”

I went to check on my DH progress while mom shifted gears. After giving him a little help, I changed out the entire contents of Elvis’ box, filled his automatic kibble feeder, and washed his dishes. By this time mom was up and in the living room. I noticed she hasn’t washed her hair in long enough that it’s greasy. Last Saturday, her hair was clean. We had her test the couch height. It’s spot-on, and much easier for her to stand up from. She had a dither looking for her keys, so we all hunted. She found her spares, just as I found her working set around a sleeve on an over-shirt in her closet. We fed Elvis next. Once I found her heavy coat, we were, slowly off.

On the drive, mom asked repeatedly about our destination, my MIL, and the same family/college friends as she did Saturday. At some point I realized part of her confusion was being caused because both my STB SIL and mom’s college friend have the same first name. My DH was on-point for all this, as mom was in the front seat, and I was in the back, buried in my phone.

Mom exhibited the same walker navigational challenges that she did last Saturday. It took a lot of help to get her up the two shallow steps leading to the front door (hence knowing she would never navigate our 14-steps to the living area of our house). Once inside my daughter found her a seat at the table and a glass of faux-wine, and I brought her some appetizers and sat with her. She seemed content.

Mom ate like a bird, except for the cranberries (her recipe!), but was very interested in the lovely desserts that were on offer. We held hands after the meal. I could feel her tremor, which my daughter describes as ‘shallow.’ Mom continued to ask the same questions over and over:

  • Did we feed the cat (Elvis)?
  • How/where were my in-laws. My DH had to explain more than once that his father has been gone for a few years now. Mom seemed unfazed by this. A year ago, she would have remembered, and reacted in a socially appropriate way. Now she’s kinda blank about the news. I had a similar moment with her during dinner when I explained the rice dressing was pretty much the same recipe that she and dad used to make, just not with French bread. In the past, mentioning my father would elicit some sort of reaction. Not last night.
  • Did you both have a nice time?
  • Did you both enjoyed dinner?
  • What are doing for the rest of the weekend?

I got mom back to her apartment, and asked her what she thought she’d get up to for the rest of the evening. She wanted to read. In all of this, what seems like a sudden, precipitous physical and mental decline, she’s rereading the “Fellowship of the Ring.”

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