I call my mother to check in with her again.
"Hi, Connie. How's it going?"
"Fine, Anne. Everything's fine. I gave her her bath and now we're watching Lifetime."
"Oh, good," I say, but I'm thinking, No--that channel is off limits now. It has too much sex, and everything that happens, she thinks it happened to her. Rape, murder...
"Could you let me talk to my mother?"
"Hi, Mom, how are you?"
"I'm fine. I'm watching a show on dying. It's about Elbert."
"Oh. Did Ellen come to visit you? I think she did."
"Yes, Ellen came. Or Marie. One of your two girls."
"Good! I'm glad she came. One of my three girls."
"I'm not going to take any more medicine. That's why Elbert died."
"No, Elbert had lymphoma. He didn't get sick from taking medicine."
"Elbert got lymphoma out of this. I'm not going to take it."
"You can take it, Mom. It's just your evening meds. I'll talk to Connie about it."
"Hopefully, I'll die before morning."
"What? You're not going to die before morning!" She sounds so cheerful, matter of fact. Maybe she means the person on the show will die before morning. Or maybe she and that person are one at this point. Oh well.
"I'll be back soon. Take care, Mom. Nice to know that Ellen visited. Can I talk with Connie now?"
"Hi, Connie," I begin.
"I changed the channel," she reports, reading my mind. "It's not on Lifetime now. And I'm about to give her the meds."
"Good! She gets mixed up when she sees things on that channel. I told her to take them... I hope she will."
"No problem, Anne. She'll take them."
"Thanks so much, Connie. Thank you so much for taking care of her while I am gone. I know it's not easy."
Another day of dementia care for Connie.
For me, another day of checking in long distance and not being able to help at all. But at least I've been able to get away.
"It's okay, Anne."