When I arrive at LAX after being away for a week, I call my mother at 9:15 pm to let her know I am back. And then I ask, "How are you doing? Is there any news at your place?"
"Yes," she says. "I finally got rid of that old man."
"Oh, good," I answer, noting that this figure in her hallucinations can morph from "the bad man" to "the old man."
"I sent him to Purgatory," she continues, "so he won't bother me any more."
"That's wonderful," I say, relieved that she may no longer be harrassed by this particular delusion.
"But I may give him that old piano so he'll have something to do," she adds. "That way he can be happy."
"Okay, fine," I answer. "That's a good idea."
The old family piano was shipped to my brother Bill's house two years ago, but apparently it still floats in her mind as a possession to be given away.
"I'll come see you tomorrow," I promise and then speak briefly with her weekend caregiver, Racquel, who had picked up the phone and given it to her.
"I tell her, 'There's no bad man, honey,'" she says, giggling. "I change her diaper and say, 'Don't worry, there's no bad man. Men are not allowed on this floor.'"
That's what we tell her when she has delusions of a rapist entering the secure floor and attacking the residents. Only the staff can be here; no other men can get in.
"Right... oh well, that's all we can do," I conclude. "Goodnight. See you next weekend."
It has been really irritating in the past two months, always having to hear about "the bad man" and what he has done lately. I hope he's gone for good.