Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Forever Nathaniel

Yesterday was one of my favorite days.  Meems was in rare form.  Most days, she's really drowsy and offers quiet one word answers.  "Good."  "Fine."  Then, there are the days when she's wide-eyed, smiling, and yackety-yack-yacking.  When I see those bright blue eyes shining at me, I know we're in for a joy ride of crazy-talking and laughter.  

Unfortunately, this gaiety comes with a price.  It usually signals the presence of some sort of infection in her body or a tiny blip in electrical activity in her brain.  So, I mustn't neglect the fact that somethin' ain't right.  Once infections are ruled out, fingers point towards her progressing dementia - "good days and bad days."

So, yesterday.  I walked into the rehab facility where Mom is trying to master her healing broken hip and saw her sitting alone in her wheelchair at one of the dining tables.  She was ready for lunch.  It was 11:10.  Lunch is at noon.

I walked up and gave her my usual greeting, "Hey!"  Her face lit up with a smile that was nothing short of radiant.  Her gray-blue eyes sparkled as she returned my "Hey!"  

Me:  You look ready for lunch!

Meems:  I am, but I'm not going to eat much because if I open my mouth too wide, I might throw up.

Me:  That doesn't sound good...

Meems:  It's not.  I have to be very careful.  Where did YOU sleep last night?

Me:  At home.  In bed.  With Alan.  My husband.  What about YOU?  Where did YOU sleep last night?

Meems:  In my bed.  Did anybody sleep with me?

Me:  Lord, I hope not.  

Mom [pointing at a nearby CNA]:  What's his name?  He's really sweet to me!

I had to repeat his name several times because she just couldn't quite pronounce it.  

Me:  Demus.  DEEEE MUS.  D-E-M-U-S.

Mom:  Oh!  Like NicoDEMUS.

Me:  Yes.  But. It's just DEMUS.

Mom:  Where did he sleep last night?

One day when I was there during a time of bright-eyed confusion, she suddenly went from smiling to an unseen somber place.  She leaned over towards me and in a low voice asked, "Are things better at home?"  I asked her what she meant.  "You know.  The 'situation.'"  I probed her a bit to see what situation she might be thinking of.  I couldn't for the life of me think of a concerning situation in my household.  She grinned slightly and said, "I think you know what I mean."  Then, leaning closer she whispered, "Has Alan cried yet?"  She spent the rest of the afternoon probing into my "situation."  "Do the boys know?"  "Have you told anybody else?"  I still get cold chills thinking about it.  And, I still have no idea.

Yesterday was great.  No cryptic questions or knowing glances.  She was just wanted to know where everyone had slept the night before.  For some reason, she was really fascinated with the CNA, Demus.  I had to repeat his name to her 142 times.  "What's his name?  I already forgot."  She told me that she likes Demus because he's big and strong and never drops her (when transferring her from wheelchair to bed...).  He's a big ol' boy, and she has grown to trust him.  

She has renamed him "Nathaniel."  I think that she went to "NicoDEMUS" and took a left turn wandering towards the "N-A" baby names or something.  She never forgets his name now.  For she has dubbed him Nathaniel and forever Nathaniel it will be.


Mom's orthopedic surgeon is pleased with the way her hip is healing.  For the first time in 5 weeks, she can begin to bear 50% weight on it.  She should be out of rehab in the next week or so.


Meems had a very special visitor this weekend.  Our friend, Laura Ard, flew down from DC to spend time with her.  Laura lived next door t...