For those who suffer with Dementia, change can be a little overwhelming. Just one thing out of the ordinary in their life and it will set off a landslide of emotions. I had been notified by the Pest Control,that mother would have to be out of the house no less than two hours while they sprayed. That morning, mother seemed her usual,questions and answers, a couple of interesting remarks, but nothing out of the ordinary.
I went off to work and returned around 12:10 pm. I had asked the pest control office if it would be possible for them to come at 12:00 noon so I could take mother for lunch and to buy her groceries during the two hours.
As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed the pest control man heading up the drive. I continued on as he waited in his truck. Pulling in, the garage door opened to see an irate Mother. Eyes infuriated, she said "what's going on here?" You see, this was not the first time something like this had happened. Back in May during a Mother's Day gathering, it was discovered that the air conditioner wasn't working properly. We decided to call the repair man and let him take a look. That Monday, I called my cousin Judy whose husband just happens to operate a heating and air business in town. I arranged to meet someone out at mother's the next morning at a specific time. It just so happened that we arrived precisely at the same time. I have to admit, it looked a little concocted as two white looking vans drove up her driveway. If I ever imagined someone coming to "take me away" I probably would envision white vans coming. As we got out, mother slung open the garage door and said "Where are you taking me," "I'm not going anywhere!" In her mind, she thought we had made a plan to take her away. I explained to her that this was her niece's husband and he was there to fix her air conditioner. Before Dementia, mother would have recognized him as she knew him very well. After some fast talking, she seemed to understand it all and I was able to get her settled down.
So,once again Mother has imagined this same scenario of someone coming to take her away. She continued to make remarks to me and the pest control guy, so without a chance to do some last minute grooming, I got her in the car and took off. There she was, no lipstick, a huge part in the back of her hair, which we call "the great divide" clothes a little tattered and no turning back. As we traveled onto our destination, mother started her angry antics again with the poor guys out picking up garbage along side the highway. She wanted to know what in the world were these people doing, throwing out orange garbage bags everywhere. Now mother had seen these bags before and understood that it was the state picking up garbage and putting it in these bags. But today, since she was ravaged with anger, she could not understand. She said somebody needs to call the law on them and if she had a stick she'd knock them to somewhere the "sun don't shine. The next victims were two guys weedeating on the median. One was weedeating, the other had stopped and had his machine standing straight up adjusting the line. Mother turned to me and said, "You need to be more aware!" I said aware of what, she said "that man could have a hook on that pole and hooked our car!" I tried to assure her that it was just someone cutting weeds, but she wouldn't listen. Driving on, a car zoomed around us that had a Clemson Tiger's Sticker on the bumper. She started saying for me to just look what someone had put on those people's car while they weren't looking. "People will do anything for advertisement this day and time," she said.
Arriving at the restaurant, I was ready to turn around and go home and so was she. She started ranting and telling me that she wouldn't eat here if it was the last place on earth. I told her to please be quiet and try to behave. I thought that if I started talking about God and how we need to be more thankful for any kind of food we eat, it might make her realize how impossible she was being.
My mother was one of the best Christian examples a child could ever have as a role model. She taught Sunday School all her life up until her early sixties. She not only taught the Bible, she lived it. Even with her Dementia, I still see her Bible lying beside her bed where she reads every night.
When I was growing up, Mother would keep candy in the kitchen drawers adjacent from the sink. I would sometimes sneak in the kitchen and swipe a piece without her permission. One day she was washing dishes. I really wanted a piece of candy but I didn't think she'd let me have one. I decided to crawl on my stomach all the way to the drawer, reach up, pull the drawer open and get me a piece, all without her being the wiser. I made it, but just as I headed for the finish line, she began singing one of her hymns, such as "Amazing Grace" or "Wonderful Words of Life." Now, this was a clear sign that I had been busted. Not a word was said, but Oh, those convicting hymns! She knew just how to get you.
As we walked up to pay for our food, I suggested that she go into the dining room and see if there was a clean booth. On most occasions, if there isn't one, the waitresses will make sure she gets one anyway. I saw mother talking to a certain waitress that she knows. As I passed by, I heard her say "well, foot fire I don't like a table!" I went back and apologized to the waitress and ask mother to come with me. We found a table and she plopped down with disgust. Mother was critical of everything from the tea to the silverware and voiced it rather loudly. I was ready to get out of there as fast as possible. I could feel piercing eyes on my back as we sacheted out the door.
My plans were to stop and get mother's groceries while we were out in order to use up the two hours we were toldto be away. My plans suddenly changed. I began driving around to places I thought mother would be interested in. My son was moving into our area in the near future and had rented a house that mother had never seen. I drove by and pointed it out. She seemed to be a little more receptive. Again, we drove by her old in-law's home place. As we talked about old times and familiar days, mother seemed to return to the mother I once knew. The anger was gone for now.