This was a conversation that I had with my son when we went out today. I decided to go to Walgreen’s, to pick up a few things. Given that they had also given me a coupon for $10 off of any purchase of $30 or more, it seemed like a good place to spend my money. Besides, the Walgreen’s near me, has been the place to get all my last-minute things, including supplements for my mother.
While we were there, I went down the aisle that had all the item’s that she could use, for help. Lately she has had a difficult time walking and she grabs my arm, just to walk across the kitchen. It’s a short walk from my family room to the bathroom, but for some reason, she seems afraid to walk into open spaces, without holding on to someone, or something.
Now I find myself, staring at an assortment of canes. Wow! Who knew that you could be so stylish, while using a cane? My son was thrilled. “Hey! I like this one!” He grabbed one with camouflage and said, “I can’t wait to be old!” I was laughing to watch him, pretending to walk. “Look at me! I’m trippin on my grill!” One of his favorite expressions.
I told him, “I like the leopard one.” “No,” he said. “Grandma would look better with the pink flowers.” Now It’s an amusing thought, that we are actually trying to match her personality to a cane. I’m sure they couldn’t come up with anything to incorporate all her personality traits. My eyes drift at all of them, when I see one which is quite different. ”Wait a minute, look at this one. It glows in the dark.”
“Oh! That’s so cool!” My son is clearly excited now. “Let’s get this, it’s just so cool.” “Ok,” I said. But at this point reality is settling in. “You are the one that is going to convince your grandma to use it. I’m going to say, it’s a gift from you.” “Ok,” he said. “But I still think she’s going to make some excuse.”
He kept looking at the other geriatric products, and was amazed at the products available. “Man, it’s gonna be fun when I’m old!” He says. “Sure, that’s easy for you to say. I’m the one that’s next. And you better hope that I’m not as stubborn as grandma.”
We were laughing after I left the house, because my mom had picked up her calendar for the umpteenth time, and asked me what day it was. Every time she would ask, I would say, “It’s the 21st, Wednesday, mom. And don’t check it off again. Yesterday, she checked off today. And this is the reason, I have to hide her medicines. When I would come home to find them on the wrong days, I knew this method wasn’t working.
So, we come in with this cane and my son was over the top, when he saw it glowing. I had to pry off the bottom cap to place a small tripod on the bottom. Hoping this wouldn’t detract from the appearance too much. “Ok,” I told him. “You’re job is to now, sell this, to your grandma.”
We walked into the room, as I exclaimed, “Mom, we wanted to give you an early gift. It’s something that your grandson picked out and he really thinks you’ll like it.” He came running in and pretending to dance with this cane. At first, she started laughing, and then he said, “Grandma, it’s for you.” “Oh no! I don’t need that!” She said. “Mom, you’re grasping at walls, and need my arm, to walk across the room.” “I don’t need your arm, and I’m not an invalid.” She says. “Well, what will you do, when I am not here to walk you?” “I don’t need your arm!” She yells out. “Ok, I’ll leave it right here for when you may want to use it.”
Her response? “What’s the date today?” I lost my patience all together, and said, “Mom! It’s still the 21st. You’ve asked me so many times, it’s driving me crazy!”
Yes, I know, it’s not the correct response. I turned around to see my son cracking up. “Let’s go to the grocery store.” I say to him. “I’m just at a loss about how to help her.” Then he says, “Well I know what you can get grandma for Christmas? A floating arm!” Then we both start laughing at the thought. I said, “Hey, they should design a floating arm, on a contraption, like a zip-line.” He starts laughing so hard, as we are just imagining my mom, grabbing hold to ‘the arm,’ careening across the kitchen, into her designated place.
Then he says, “Hey, she’s probably asking Kevin, what the date is. Did you hear her when you didn’t answer her?” “No,” I said. “What did she say?” “Oh,” he said. “It was funny She looked at Kevin, and said, “Geesh! Well, I’ll get the answer from someone else.”
“Oh, my gosh, can you see them together?” At this thought, we both started laughing even harder. “My mom, questioning my mentally challenged brother, all day, about what the date is. I can see him grabbing his calendar, which he has by his side as well. He keeps track of all the Packer’s games, on his calendar.
“He probably gets sick of it too!” my son says. “He probably says, “Stop it!” Which is my brother’s favorite expression, when he’s fed up. He’ll put his hand up, in a stop symbol, and says, “Stop it!” Oh, this is just hilarious, to even imagine.
I tell my son, “we should get her a Planner.” “Oh, I can already see what would be written in it.” He says. “First, get out of bed. Check off the date. Wait for Carrie to leave the room. Sneak some chocolate. Wait til she comes back. Ask her what date it is. Check off the date.” Now I can’t stop cracking up at him. I said, “Come on, that’s not nice. “Mom, it’s our humor that keeps us going.” “You know what? That’s true.” I said.
Now my son says, I’d love to put a hidden camera in the room to watch them. It’s probably so funny.” He has a point. I’ve walked into the room to hear my mom, just talking away with my brother. It’s not as if it’s odd to talk to him, but she’ll actually talk to him as if, he is fully functioning. He doesn’t have a clue about some of the things she’s saying. And she’s even gotten into arguments with him. This is a complete mystery to me. As I have to remind my son, he is not at your level, so don’t argue with him.
The good thing about her lack of memory, is that she forgets as soon as she has an argument. She’s told me, “well losing short term memory isn’t all bad. There’s some things people don’t want to remember.” How true this is. If only we could pick and choose.
Now my son is dancing in front of the television with the cane, and he’s singing into it like a microphone. My mother is getting a big kick out of this. She tells him, “Well I’m glad you like it! You can keep it!”
So, the ‘cane argument’ has blown over and I walk into the room. “Hey! She says, “What’s the date?”