The assisted living where Mama and Bill live is full of confused old people.
I know it is because she told me so.
They offered her a job out there. I asked what it was and she, “Well, running the place, of course.”
She wasn’t sure she’d take it, though, because she just can’t be away from her regular job that much. But she does feel that if she can help those confused old people, she ought to.
I’m unclear on the pay and benefits, but she has accepted their offer.
She called me a few weeks ago to tell me to call my brother and tell him to tell the man who was coming to fix the teevee that she was going to be out of the office for an hour or so. I asked where she was going, and she said, in a most patronizing manner, “These office supplies don’t buy themselves, Susan.”
She has reached a point in her Alzheimer’s where she can make a plan, but she can’t work through the possible speed bumps and how she will circumvent them.
Last week, she waited until about 6 one night and then called for an EMT to take Bill to the VA for a rash and because his hands were on fire. And he fell and hit his head. (None of this was true).
They went in the ambulance to the VA, where I imagine she expected to stay overnight, and then when it was daylight again, she’d call for my Aunt Betty and the get-away car.
She did not count on the place calling my brother or me and letting us know, nor on one of us calling the VA and letting them know she might be plotting, so they should proceed with extreme caution in getting them back where they belong.
The next morning, when I called to ask if they were back, I was told they were in the dining room having breakfast, yukking it up like nothing had happened.
A day or so after that, she butt dialed me and I heard her fiddling around and saying that she was going to get that phone number, dammit.
I listened for about three minutes and hung up. She called me about five minutes later and when I answered, she very professionally said, “Yes, I need a phone number for Jim Hilburn, please. He’s an attorney.”
It became very clear to me that she thought she was talking to information, and I thought it might be best to see how it all played out. I asked what kind of cases did he take and she said, “All kinds.” I asked who she was suing and she said she didn’t know, and then launched into a spiel about how “they have us in this place where nobody does their job and they’re rude to me,” and how they had said they’d turn them out and put them in some old run-down house, and she was NOT HAVING IT.
I understand that they don’t want to be there. I don’t want them to be there. What I want is my mama back like she was: smart and funny and creative and talented and resourceful. I’m not going to be getting that.
I have to remind myself when these things happen that that’s not my mama. That’s a pale shadow of my mama and Bill and we’re paying for her care.
Mostly I find the humor in it, especially when she tells me about those confused old people she’s surrounded by. Sometimes, though, it pinches my heart, harder than my mother ever pinched my upper arm to get me to behave.
I would not wish this on anyone.