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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Mind Is A Terrible Thing.




My mom, co-star of "Bad Mommy"comics, is 90 and a half, yeah 90 going on 91.  I'm pretty sure there's no rule prohibiting one from using the "half year method" after a certain age.  You can pretty much use it until you die.  If you believe in the afterlife, however, you might have to figure out what you're going to do after  "dead-and-a-half."  Dead +1 is one option I suppose.  

Anyway, she's old and she is in a home because when asked, she will tell you that it's 1861.  (hey, whatever.  Some days I would love it to be 1861 instead of 2003.)  Now while she regularly asks people to "pick her up at the station," her seasoned skill of manipulation is still working like a hot damn.  She informed my sister a few days ago that the nurses said that she is doing so well with the walker, that she is now ready to go back home with her.  She neglected to mention the other reasons she may not be ready, the wandering the house in the middle of the night without her walker, stealing random things from my sister, hoarding chocolate and snacks in her room so she can eat them at midnight, attempting to steal a woman's purse at a second hand store, falling repeatedly, letting her home be overrun with mice, getting into way too many car accidents resulting in revocation of her license,  searching constantly for her purse at all hours of the day and night,  and wondering why her husband who has been dead for 17 years, isn't home from work yet.  And get this - she remembers that he's due home at 6:00 pm, but she forgot that he's dead.  Sometimes, I think that dementia is super awesome.

I mean, really.   Wouldn't it be great to forget a whole lifetime of unfortunate, embarrassing, tragic, messy, traumatizing, insane situations, but never forget where the candy bars are?  Seriously.  There is a God.  There has to be.

I haven't been in contact with my mom for a while, and I could say its because she doesn't really know who I am understand what's going on anyway.  But that's not the only reason. For most of my life with my mom, I did all the calling and the visiting.  Now I am ok with this because I understand.  Look, I had kids ok?   And I know now that my mother was a "Hamster Mommy"  FULL STORY HERE.  and I'm sure that there is some reason(s) why a person becomes a hamster mommy, but I was determined  to be a better mommy, a better daughter, hell, a BETTER PERSON!  and so, I would call her regularly and have the mandatory one sided conversation.  (I'm sorry, but "hmmmm" isn't a word.)  and I'd take her shopping with me - ok, ok, with the Three Crazy Kids and me, but you know, sometimes I'm evil.  And sometimes, when I was driving by, I'd swing in unexpectedly, and we'd have a nice visit in front of the never-turned-off-television, in which I would talk over the never-ending-television-dialog and wait for her response which was usually something like this:

"Mmmm."

Since Dementia, however, she's been talking a lot and what a storyteller she is!!  You never know what time period you will find yourself in,   (Just remember to say yes and nod affirmatively if she says "remember?") You may even find yourself with a new name!  I mean, for years my cousin called me the wrong name but I never said anything about it because, even then I knew she was not really that smart.  She called me Juleen, if you must know.  Yeah it's kind of a white trash name but if you met my cousin or even saw a photo, you'd understand.  I mean, it is rather unfortunate actually, nothing within her control.  But really, I wish she could have at least worked at getting my name straight. I mean, we are first cousins.  And why didn't anyone correct her?  Oh, yeah, a lot of gene pools are pretty polluted. Nothing you can do about that. Not a dang thing.

I found a letter the other day, one my mom wrote a while back while in the early stages of her "condition", and at the top she wrote "Hi to Dave!!!"  Ok.  first of all, I'm not convinced my mother wrote this, although the scratchy, once beautiful Catholic School penmanship was still slightly evident, but the !!!!!!! ??  My mother was never once !!!!!  No, not a !!!!!!!! day in her life.  And it was strange that she would remember to ask about someone else, but then  - it is Dave and he's a guy and my mom always made sure to cozy up to the men because she knew someday she might need them, you know, when her own slave husband wasn't around anymore. I mean, she was cozying up to my ex before we were even divorced. (she lives by the "you snooze-you lose" motto - obviously.) Unfortunately for her, his own mother had put dibs on him first.  (seriously, though, the thought of two women, no matter how old and how many secret motives were involved, wanting to spend even one moment with this guy just blows my mind, I say after 20 years of marriage to him, so who am I kidding here?  )  Anyway, I'm going to give his mother a pass, though, as he is her offspring and she isn't a Hamster Mom.  But after writing that I can't help but think that this is all starting to sound just a little bit creepy and maybe just a bit insane.  Let's move on.

So, IN CONCLUSION, and as it turns out, my mother, who was never very entertaining, has now become quite the cut-up, sort of like the way she'd be, long ago in the 60's when  she would hostess this thing called a "cocktail party," and she would have one glass of wine or one whiskey sour, something she didn't do very much at all, which is why I used to try to figure out how I might spike something of hers on a regular basis, something that she liked and  that tasted strong on it's own and she wouldn't notice, like coffee or chewing gum.   And I think that, for my mom, Dementia is like a never ending Whiskey Sour  slow IV drip, or the pills the doctor would have ordered if she had ever realized that some of the things she did (all illustrated in the Bad Mommy comic) were not particularly normal, and actually sought some medical attention. But that was the past.  Let's move forward - Let's party like it's 1861.

And holy shit!!  No telling what she'll give out at Halloween now!! *see author's note.



*author's note:  She once gave out potatoes. Raw potatoes.  They made a big thud in the halloween bag so you had to place them in gently and then close the door fast  - before the halloweeners  looked in and saw what we gave them.  When all the kids figured out what happened and came back carrying torches, you'd just close and lock the door and shut off the light.

Good times, man.  Good times.

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