May 26, 2009
Today is transport day for mother to go to my brother’s in San Jose. I walk her to the gate through security at the airport after checking her bag. No carry on. It will end up in Dallas or Toledo. Southwest makes it easy to get an escort pass. Not all airlines do. The last thing they want is for her to wander in her absent peaceful bliss wondering why she is at the airport. But she says enjoys the flight.
Packing is an adventure. My brother and I came to the conclusion a few months back not to give her more than 24 hour’s notice. Preparation for travel had always made her uneasy. The Alzy just amplifies it. If I gave her 3 days to pack, it will take her 3 long agonizing, confusing days. For one small suitcase. And her Meds, two prescriptions. So we wait till the day before she flies. I’ll tell her to pack 5 shirts, 3 pants, 7 panties, some bras, for example. Her condition requires that these instructions are given separately. So I’ll start with the pants. I tell her to choose 3 and excuse myself. When I return she usually has completed the task and sometimes even packed the undergarments and socks.
But the shirts are always another matter. I repeat the instruction for her to choose 5 from her closet and tell her I’ll be back shortly. It doesn’t really matter if I’m away 5 minutes or an hour, when I return there are no shirts in the suitcase. She can count just fine. She just can’t choose shirts. She says she want to make sure they match her pants. I say fine, if you need more to match that’s ok too. But it’s not about numbers, it’s about choosing. It won’t happen. So rather than waiting for hell’s icicles, I choose for her and she dutifully folds and packs them away. The temptation is to just do it all but I think she needs the stimulation.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just torturing her. Health care professionals and Alzy experts say that routine is the key. Non routine does a disservice.
But the merry-go-round visitation cycles are for us, me, my wife, my brother and his wife. Our own mental health and marriages are at stake here.
One solution would be to put her in an assisted living facility. But I think that she functions just highly enough that it would serve only to break her heart. My wife just shakes her head, and my brother, and his wife I think. They have hearts too.
What possible explanation can I provide when Eileen reminds me that we too have a finite lifespan. So much living yet to do in such a short time. And she’s right. We are pushing our 60’s and are we being fair to ourselves not to live as we choose?
There’s that word again, choose. I guess I take after my mom. I hate the word.
I wrote a haiku about this called “attempting to respond.” It’s in my poetry section. I thought I wrote for my wife. Now it looks like I wrote it for me.
In the meantime we have a few weeks to decompress and reassess, and maybe choose.