Dad had a colonoscopy on Tuesday
Mom and Dad are going to Dad's mother's on Christmas day through Jan 4
Sister L's family is taking a eleven day vacation in Hawaii, leaving Dec 20.
The third shouldn't have been a surprise, but no one in L's family brought it up over Thanksgiving, and i think i hadn't heard about it since my sister "retired."
I am taking off more time this holiday than i ever have voluntarily. I am sad that there is no overlap with L's kids vacation, and so on.
Meanwhile, Dad was thrashing on his coordination for the colonoscopy. If i didn't know that Mom-care had him at capacity, i would be irritated. So after a number of discussions where it was clear he hadn't read all the instructions (of which i have a copy since i'm scheduled for mine in early January), we finally settled on L staying with Mom and i taking Dad and waiting the four hours. I figured i'd get something done.
So i expected that i would be rushing out the door Tuesday morning to get to my parents to work from there until 11:30, then take Dad to his colonoscopy.
7 am, Sister L writes, "...I am really sick. What should we do? Do you think it’s enough for me to wear the mask and stuff? I just don’t want to get mom and dad sick. It feels irresponsible but I don’t know what else to do. Help!"
I replied she could take Dad, i'd stay with Mom. And then i realized that if i was with Mom for a long time, i shouldn't work. She'd definitely not ask me to help her to the bathroom if i was working. (In the end, she didn't ask me and said no whenever i asked her. Maybe i should have pressed. Oy.)
L also wrote
Oh, just an FYI mom got out all these old pictures of her parents. She was quite upset because she was overwhelmed at not knowing all the information about the pictures and then feeling the responsibility of “doing” something with them. What I told her was that even before the stroke there were some she couldn’t recognize (because they were her parents’ and not her photos). I also told her that her brother and sister had seen them but that she was the owner. They didn’t want them. Basically I tried to release her from having to do something with them. I said they were there to make her happy. And they were fine in a box or we could put them in an album to organize but that they weren’t a problem. She thanked me and said that helped clear things up but I have a feeling it will come up again.
So, i packed makings for divinity or pralines and a tiny scanner.
In the morning i was able to help a little more since Dad was just on the edge of coping, what with the effects of the prep. When Mom was ready for the day, we sat down at the kitchen table and i got the scanner configured for my laptop and relearned how to use it. (I bought it before i moved to reduce papers i wanted to keep. Not sure i made as much headway as would pay for the scanner.)
I think of each photo as a clue to the past and want to sort through them all. Mom's organization is not as methodological as mine though, and they are her photos. And when will i really have time to analyze them. So i scanned some in haphazardly and eventually i'll go through and inventory them.
We had a light lunch - Mom finished her hearty breakfast (potatoes with cheese and bell peppers still on her plate) and i shared the pickles, cheese, and olives that were part of the lunch i'd packed for the waiting room. We had coffee and a Lazzaroni Amaretti cookie each from the box i bought for her in New Orleans. She stashed these as special treats that she never brought out when i was growing up. She enjoyed the cheeses, pickles and sweet -- all outside of Dad's repertoire. He cooks with cheese but probably not the sharp cheddar and certainly not smoked gouda. Ice cream is his sweet of choice - no "evil" white flour. And i suspect he balks at the unnecessary expense of pickles and olives.
Then "we" made pralines. I, at least, narrated what i was doing. I found two candy thermometers while looking for a quarter cup measuring cup but forgot to take one home with me. I really want her stand mixer to make divinity. The pralines came out beautifully without totally wrecking the kitchen. I will make again with reduced nuts.
I made tea and set Mom down for an episode of Father Brown and ended up joining her: the tea and praline were delicious and we enjoyed watching... and then we watched another. I tried poking on the computer a little bit - ordered a photo album for the photos. It's probably not acid free or archival, but Mom will be able to use it.
Dad came home, wolfed down a baked potato and went for a "short" nap, which lasted a good while. Christine arrived with pizza (pepperoni for Dad and Mom) and salad (to share) and we finished the episode we were watching. Dad was stirring and we all sat down for dinner. I checked with Dad multiple times and he seemed happy to take care of Mom's evening. (Although he probably cursed the pants i helped her put on.) Christine left to pick up our dinner (veggie lasagna, same restaurant) and i left shortly, with Mom almost pushing me out of the house (probably ready to demand Dad get her to a bathroom, sigh).
It looks like Monday will be rainy: maybe i'll return for a more candy making and photos that day.
Mom is not wanting to go to Florida, but i reminded her that we'd been on a road trip this fall and she did OK. She shares that she's not normal, and there was a brief conversation where she shared she is "ignorant."
Her cognitive issues are so different from Alzheimer's, which seems to have a significant factor of "fantasy" where the person is living in some other reality. Mom's in a shared reality, it's just that so much of the reality is gone. I'm trying hard to stop saying "remember" when talking to her. We can remember for her.