Friday, February 17, 2006

80% Chance of Craziness

I sat in the living room during the business portion of today's meeting, reading a book, and I could overhear some of the conversation.
My ears perked up when I heard Mom say, "When my mother was at the Chapter House, I made a move that was the worst thing I could do. I brought her to Telluride, at the high altitude, and she died in my arms."
Oh no! Someone must have said something about a local Chapter House, the senior residences owned by P.E.O. for older members.
Mom had taken those words as an opportunity to try to join the conversation by reciting a set speech she has given many times before.
Besides being inappropriate and an interruption to the business, the story was not even true. It was her grandmother who died in her mother's arms in Telluride. Mom's own mother had a stroke one morning while living in the Chapter House in Colorado Springs.
"Yes, Telluride is at 10,000 feet," said someone. "A high altitude."
Someone else murmured appropriate regret at this sad story.
"Does anyone want to make a motion?" Louise continued, as if no one had spoken. "She already paid dues to the other chapter."
And business continued, including the business of making her a member. Thank goodness for their kindness and good sense.
I decided I had made the right decision. If I were sitting next to her in the business meeting, I could hush up any outbursts.
"Should she pay dues to Chapter R too?" asked Louise. "What do the rules say?"
"She can well pay it," said Mom.
"But you may not have to," said Louise, "since you already paid dues to your chapter in Colorado."
"Anne would enjoy it, I'm sure. She's got the money," said Mom.
I wished I were in there to redirect Mom.
They sang "Happy Birthday, dear Evelyn" and to one other member. I told them we would not attend the first meeting in March because I will be out of town.
This morning Mom had insisted on bringing a copy of her autobiography, Adventures of a Telluride Native, to the meeting. I had her sign it "To Chapter R, P.E.O." and they were very gracious about accepting it.
Now I overheard someone saying, "Sign the book out to Dorothy B. Everyone can sign it out when they take it."
"And bring the book back to the next meeting," said Dorothy.
The meeting ended at 1:30 pm, and Mom was hungry. She didn't have a caregiver arriving until 5 pm, so I took her to my house for lunch.
My goal was to get her back to Ocean View by 3 pm and leave, letting her take a nap in her recliner before dinner. Five and a half hours of care would be enough for one day.
But I didn't get her backto her residence until 4 pm because I helped her sign a couple of notes while she was at my house.
Then at 4 pm the LVN reminded me that Mom needed to have her blood drawn today to check her anti-coagulation.
It had started raining, but off we went by wheelchair to the lab a block away.
Thre, to keep her courage up as the phlebotomist kept trying to find a vein, Mom started singing, to the tune of Jesus Loves Me:
Yes, I love you.
Yes, I love you.
Yes, I love you
When the lights are low.
"It's all because of that crime," she explained. [See earlier blog entry.]
We got back to Ocean View at 4:45 pm, and I took her to the bathroom.
"Turn on the water," she said as usual. She likes it running "to inspire me."
But today she suddenly said, "Turn that off! Water is flooding the bathroom!"
"Okay," I said, surprised. I've never heard her say that before.
"Bring me a pan to put it in," she said next.
I didn't answer her. I finished the toileting and helped her walk to dinner with her walker. Her physical coordination was great.
Eight hours, I thought to myself as I drove home.
How did a P.E.O. meeting turn into eight hours?
But one thing was for sure: I knew I had made the right decision in joining P.E.O. Her thinking and talking was worse today. I can't trust her to sit quietly and behave appropriately during the business meetings.

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