On Wednesday I drove down to Jackson (Mississippi) where I was meeting my oldest son, Jonathan. He had driven up from Savannah on his way to spend the holidays in Memphis. We had a lovely lunch with my nieces, Aubrey Leigh and Chelsea, at Bon Ami. I don’t think Jon had seen his cousins in about four years. (These are my brother’s daughters.) Aubrey Leigh has a son and another child on the way. She’s an attorney. Chelsea has an MBA. They both live and work in Jackson. It was great visiting with them. I couldn’t help but think about how much Chelsea looks like my mother when she was young. They are all three beautiful women. And my brother, Mike, was a handsome guy.
After lunch Jon and I headed over to Lakeland Nursing Home. He hadn’t seen Granny Effie in four years, either. In 2008, all of my children went with us to visit her. She still pretty much knew who everyone was, although it was her first time to meet Jason’s wife, See, who was pregnant with Grace.
The annual Christmas Party was happening, and I took Mom a new sweater, slippers, and a Christmas necklace and bracelet. I warned Jon that Mom wouldn’t know him, but that she was usually cheerful and happy to see anyone.
But when Jon and I arrived, Mom was asleep, sitting up in her wheelchair, in her room. In her nightgown. Her lunch tray was in front of her, and her fingers were stuck in her mashed potatoes. She’s almost always dressed and somewhere out in the hall when I arrive. It was about 1:30 p.m.
I called the nurse to come into the room with me, and we couldn’t wake Mom up. The nurse had tried to feed her a few minutes earlier. Now she wouldn’t open her eyes. She would respond verbally, briefly, and then fall back asleep. I cleaned the potatoes off her fingers and rolled her away from the lunch tray. I put her new slippers on her feet, and put her Christmas jewelry on her. She still wouldn’t open her eyes.
So, I stroked her hair and kissed her and held her hand. Jon gave her a kiss and told her Merry Christmas. She never saw him, which makes my heart sad. It’s not that she would have remembered that he was there, but I wish they had at least made eye contact.
The nurse said Mom was on meds for flu-like symptoms, as well as pain meds for back pain. She had a fall a couple of weeks ago, and is scheduled for an MRI next week. (The x-rays after her fall didn’t show anything broken, but this is to follow up.) She’s also on Haldol for agitation, which happens often with Alzheimer’s.
UPDATE: On Thursday, a nurse called to say that Mom had “flu-like symptoms” and it would be best if no one visited her for the next 14 days due to the possibility of spreading the flu. I told her we had already visited on Wednesday (kissed her, etc.) so it was too late…. *sigh*
It was sad to see her like this, but at least she’s not in pain. Mom always made Christmas a special time at our house, and I wish I could have made our visit special this week. All I can do is pray that the plaques and tangles in her brain aren’t making her sad, and that her back isn’t seriously injured from her fall.
Merry Christmas, Mom. I love you.
[NOTE: I’m having technical difficulties and WordPress won’t let me add photos to this post, so I’ll post them on Facebook…. If it gets fixed, I’ll add them here later.]