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(Original Post from January 20, 2016)
Good Morning Friends!
Well, it’s a rainy Wednesday and I am at home today answering all of my emails from yesterday and teaching online (which I love by the way… American College of Education in Indiana… check them out teachers!). I had an eventful day yesterday so I thought I would try to brighten your day and at the same time take the opportunity to get us all to think about “another dreaded monster” so to speak as I referred to cancer in my last post! Many of you who know me and my family well know that my dad was an only child (spoiled I might say as well LOL), nevertheless, he passed away two years ago in February from… you guessed it… cancer! Nevertheless, that means that my sisters and I make sure that our grandmother, his mom, has what she needs. Well, our grandmother has always been the most independent person I have ever known. She has told us all of our lives what she thought we needed to do, and didn’t mind one bit interjecting her opinion whether it was asked for or not LOL one of those situations where what you see is what you get take it or leave it and that was okay with her. I find that I am natured a lot like her… sometimes, I know that’s a hindrance (no filter– to abrupt, etc.) but then sometimes it can serve one well– sort of like a survival mechanism in this sometimes harsh world we live in… nevertheless, all of that to say, in the last several months, our grandmother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and man oh man, this has been very difficult to say the least. So, take Alzheimer’s Disease and add a gallon of independence, a quart of stubbornness, and the fact that she is convinced that “nothing is wrong with her… she’s not crazy… we are the ones who are crazy LOL… that very well may be true on any given day, and this recipe can cook up a very interesting situation which brings me back to yesterday. I had the opportunity yesterday to move my grandmother from one rehabilitation/nursing home in Meridian to Jasper General in Bay Springs (closer to home), and I contemplated whether I needed to carry her or get transportation services to carry her. You see this ought to be a “no-brainer” because ordinarily we could enjoy the ride and visit with one another but now that is simply not the case. She gets very confused and I would not want her to try to open the car door and try to get out while we are moving. But, also I began to think that she might get scared being transported by people she did not know so I decided that I needed to do this, and WOW what a treat it was. Now, any of you that have dealt with this horrible disease know that you have to make a conscious effort to CHOOSE to either laugh or cry at this stage of the disease that she is in if that makes sense. Well, yesterday I had to make a choice many times. Also, it’s important to know that another choice that needs to be made is whether to argue or simply “go along” to some degree with what is being said. You must understand, as with many, many other situations, this is about a simple decision and choice on YOUR part… and so I wanted to share the adventures of our travels yesterday– please understand NO ONE could make this stuff up… I hope when you read that you make the CHOICE to laugh and have an awesome Wednesday! As we left the facility yesterday morning, my grandmother had to tell all of the ladies how to clean the dining tables in that apparently she had been taking upon herself to do this– what seems like 100 years ago, she worked at Bell’s Cafe in Sandersville — I think this is where Big K is right now! So, I am glad grandma thinks she has had the opportunity to go back to work at Bell’s Cafe. So, after she got that straight, we were on our way! She asked me several times to call her doctor and he would tell me to just take her on to her house if I would just listen and not be “so darn stubborn…” As we were riding on some highway from Meridian to Bay Springs, all of the sudden, she said, “Look Terri, look at all of that oil spewing over there…” I look all around me and don’t see a thing but pasture, and she says it again and is really getting agitated with me… I make a CHOICE! “Yes, grandma, I see it right there!” She says, “Well, it’s about d_____ time… I’ve been trying to show you for five minutes. I want you to know that I bought that 80 acres of land and that oil that is spewing is mine, and I want you, Andrea, and Lindy to go get you a car after I get home today.” I said, “Grandma, when did you buy that land, and who did you buy it from?” She said, “Well, I do declare, you don’t have to be so nosey about things. Can’t you just be happy that I did get it and that it has oil on it (oh the irony… she’s out of touch with the struggles in the oil industry right now I guess). So, I apologize for asking and on we go. She makes me promise to tell Andrea and Lindy and then she’s satisfied and we continue to travel. Again, she asks me to “Call that doctor, and tell him we are headed home, and I don’t care what he says.” I try to explain to her that I can’t go against what the doctors and nurses have told me to do and that is to take her to Bay Springs, and my goodness she gets aggravated with me again and lo and behold, I begin to hear her laughing and I ask her what is she laughing about. She says, “Well, you dummy the doctor just called me and I told him I was going home… then she said, “Wait, he’s back on the phone!” At this point, I just listen, and she is having an entire conversation with her doctor (no phone in hand — nothing) and then all of a sudden she says, “Now, you better be quieter talking to me… your wife is going to hear you….!!!!!!” LOL, where did that come from??? I CHOOSE to laugh… and she looks at me and says, “What are you laughing at?” I said, “Oh, I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to laugh… grandma, are you doing something that you shouldn’t be doing?” She looks at me and says, “That is none of your business, and you can carry your happy a___ back to Carthage!” I told her I was so sorry, and we kept on driving! Well, we finally arrived to the parking lot in Bay Springs, and I knew I was about to have a situation on my hands in getting her to get out of the car. See, you must understand that my grandma is more mobile than most of us are on a daily basis which is both great and then when under these circumstances not so great! I told her that it was time to get out of the car and we needed to go on in that they were waiting on us. She said, “I have already told you that I am going home, I don’t know why you have stopped here– call the doctor!” Well, I quickly texted Alan and said, “HELP! Call us!” Alan calls, and I answer as if he is the doctor. He wants to speak to grandma and I put her on the phone. Alan tells her that she’s got to get out out of the car and go in and she’s not budging, and he continues to work with her and tells her over and over again. In just a minute, she tells him, “You don’t sound like MY doctor!” He tells her that he has a cold and she laughs and says, “Well then, I do too and I am not getting out!” Well, after about 20 minutes I coax her in the building because she can get a hair cut and a permanent here… and off we go! We make it in and everyone just showers her with love and she is happy but she tells all of them that she is only staying for two days because she has things that she needs to take care of. To kinda speed things up, after all paperwork, etc. is complete she heads to get her hair cut and a permanent and we find out that she will get her hair cut right then but then she will get her permanent next week. Well, she looks at me and says, “Well, are you going to bring me back over here next week?” What to say…. I just said, “YES!” She then states, “You just sit yourself down right here and wait on me, and then we will be out of here.” Honestly, everyone, I had to slip out after being there about two hours getting her room set-up, clothes hung up, decorating for Valentine’s Day, etc. and back home I came. I missed her on the way home… I didn’t see any oil spewing, I wasn’t able to offer any advice to her, I wasn’t called any names, I wasn’t told what I had done wrong… among other things… I missed her so bad! So, ALL of that to say, if you haven’t dealt with Alzheimer’s Disease, remember there are many things about this horrible disease that are simply a CHOICE. I know there will come a day when she may not recognize or remember us anymore, and I will treasure the time we have while she still does! Also, I will KNOW that when she calls me names LOL and gets really super agitated with me that there will come a day when she will say nothing, and I don’t look forward to that day! She has her 92nd birthday on February 2nd, and we will go celebrate with her in Bay Springs, and she’s going to tell us that we (me, Andrea, and Lindy) better get over to that bank in Sandersville and get some of that money they are giving away if we have any “smarts” about us, and we will say… we are going too grandma, we promise!
We love you grandma!