1800's Farmhouse where I grew up

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Alzheimer's and Eggs

Today was one of those days, that despite the pull at my heartstrings, I was unable to "make" myself go see Mom at the nursing home. I don't mean that in a bad way, just that some days are harder than others, especially when my daily visits cause me to stare death in the face on a regular basis.  Sometimes being in the presence of the elderly can make you feel young, vibrant, and so full of energy. At other times, it is more like looking into a crystal ball, of what could be an inevitable future, that I don't want to face.  And then I remember my sense of humor....God's humor in predicaments and difficult situations, that can inspire and rejuvinate.
When Mom first entered the home almost 5 years ago, she was still mobile, talkative, and had such a zest for life.  We sang, danced, and bowled.... using the third floor hallways as a bowling alley.  "Field trips" outside on nice days were welcomed, and hot games of parachute and chair kickball were the norm.  The clientele has changed quite a bit over the years, however. Many have passed away, or like Mom, have progressed to a more advanced stage of the disease.  It is trying. It is heartbreaking. But sometimes, it is just funny.
On one occasion I arrived on the 3rd floor in time to see a male resident, decked out in only a white dress shirt, boxers, and socks, running down the hall with arms outstretched, his entire wardrobe on hangers flapping in the breeze as he ran.  He had decided to move out (of a locked unit).  Now he was quite determined and ever so serious about making the great escape, but I couldn't help the laughter that bubbled up, exploding forth when I met eyes with one of the aides, who was standing there just shaking her head in disbelief.
All the clients have a knack for redecorating, from pulling wallpaper from the walls, to rearranging furniture at night. This was Mom's specialty. She has been found carrying portable TV's, and pushing chairs across rooms, to using her hip to methodically inch the television armoire into another position. In some ways this surprised me, as my childhood home never changed. Once furniture was arranged, it stayed that way for decades. Another gentleman found inspiration in hanging his shoes on the venetian blinds at the end of the hallway, admiring his work, and then walking away as if it was the most normal and beautiful thing he could have done.  The day I found a sneaker in the shades was priceless.
There is a joke that pokes fun at the inability of the aging mind to remember much of anything on a short term basis. The trick, so I have heard, to having fun when Alzheimer's has descended upon a family is to let them hide their own Easter eggs....they won't remember where they hid them, and it is double the fun... hiding AND finding the eggs! 
So I say, let them have eggs.
A warm country hug to all,
Lisa <3
To my friend Barbara, YES I did make the snowmen!


  1. Lisa, this is such an emotional post..I literally went from almost crying to laughing out loud! You are at a very difficult stage with your mom now. I pray you keep this amazing strength and attitude...you may not feel it all the time, but it is there.
    Imagine my utter surprise when talking to a lovely friend, she turns out to be your sister. I know and love Kerry dearly and can't believe how small a world it is that I find your blog, and you mine!

  2. I recently asked Ker if she knew you since she also follows your blog...and was surprised to hear she was on her way to a neighborhood event and expected to see you! haha DEF a small world!
    Thank you for your heartwarming comments! :-)