Friday, August 20, 2010


In a rush to get out the door, I grabbed a baggy and dropped mother's medication in it for the day. Just as I walk passed the telephone, it rings and mother is on the other end. I have to say, this is the first time mother has actually called me this early in the morning. It's usually sometime during the day or late at night.

"What are you doing?" she asks. "Getting ready to come down to your house, why?" I answer. "Well, I want to know who in the world has dropped me off at this house!" she replies angrily. This whole picture is getting clearer and this isn't the first time this event has happened, so I sorta knew where all this was going.

This time, mother had not been to the "Lake House," as in previous posts, but she had been "sleepwalking" and someone had found her on the road, picked her up and brought her back to this house, so she thinks.

Once I had received a phone call from her, asking me "how in the world did she get up to this 'hole' in Saluda?" Another time, she had supposedly been walking on the road and someone came along and took her to a house where a little old lady lived. Mother had been invited in to spend the night with this woman who she had never laid eyes on before, then when morning came, someone had brought her back home. In reality, mother had not been anywhere but asleep.

Another trait of Dementia is a "deceiver." I have tried to discuss this with mother and assure her that she has not actually been "sleepwalking" but "dreaming." As usual, she will not be convinced and only agitated at the thought that I think she's crazy.

Many of mother's dementia events have to do with her or someone being lost. She has always had a heart for helping those who were lost; spiritually or physically.

I recall an occasion when I still lived at home. Mother was busy cooking a meal for a Saturday family gathering when a knock came to our door. It was a lady who was looking for a pretty well to do housing development approximately some 10 miles from where we lived. I was familiar with this elite place, only because my sister and I sold Girl Scout cookies there years before this. Mother had asked the lady all the information she needed to know in order to look the people up in the book, give them a call and have them give her instructions to their house so she could direct this poor lost lady. Even though mother was overwhelmed with the chore of baking, she gladly obliged this lost soul. I could hear mother telling her that she would stay on the phone with the person at the intended destination till she arrived, so she would know that she had made it safely. Mother must have stood there on the phone for ten minutes talking to someone she had never met. I suddenly saw a smile flash over mother's face as she could hear in the background of the phone, the two women greeting each other, reassuring mother that she had given the right instructions. The woman came back to the phone and hung up without one kind word of "thank you" or "what a good neighbor you have been." Not that mother wanted that, but I could see in her eyes, the hurt of being dismissed without a mere word of appreciation.

As I arrive at mother's house, she is waiting for me, standing in front of her garage, anxiously awaiting an explanation for her trip.

Not long ago, she had greeted me in front of the garage carrying her pocketbook. She had been sitting on the front porch since sometime early in the morning, thinking that she had been dropped off at someone else's house, and nothing she could see looked familiar. I had to take her inside and tell her stories of people and things that had happened in her house so that she would believe it was really her home.

This morning, I was able to convince her that she had not sleepwalked anywhere, but that she had been a victim of an overactive dream. She remarked that "she sure was glad that it was a dream, cause she didn't know what she would have fed all those people who were in her house when she got back home."

As I head off to work, I think about the good person that mother used to be.

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