Harvest Dinner for the Family
Last Thursday was a week before Thanksgiving, and Featherstone home served a sumptuous meal for residents and family. I picked up our daughter Darlene, who lives not too far away in Denton, TX, and we were joined by our nephews Joe Wright and his son Colt. Colt was especially happy to see Carolyn, as he hadn’t seen her in a long time. He even gave her a card telling her he loved her. I think she really liked it.
The meal was wonderful, if a little much. The was turkey, ham, potato salad, dressing, a deviled egg, and a sweet potato, too. Followed by a choice of pumpkin, pecan or apple pie. Not many cleaned their plate, I’m sure.
About halfway through the meal, Carolyn tried to stand up to leave. I asked her where she was going, and she said home. She has fully accepted that this is her home, and I knew she wanted to go back to her room for some reason, so I asked if she needed to go to the bathroom. She emphatically said no, so I got up also and excused us and led her back to her room.
She sat on the couch and just stared for a while. I asked what she wanted, and told her I would do what ever I could to make her feel happy. I also asked if she wanted me to bring her food back to the room. After a few seconds, she decided she wanted to go back, and we went in and sat down again.
She ate some more of the meal, but I noticed she had a pained look on her face, and soon she wanted to leave again. I have seen this behavior before and recognized it, finally, as a need for solitude and quiet. Even though she loves having visitors, there were just too many that night. So once again I took her back to her room. We were nearing the end of the meal anyway.
Joe and Colt finished their meals and left to go home, and Darlene came to her mother’s room and we unfolded the couch (futon) and she made up her bed for the night. I kissed and hugged Carolyn and told her I’d be back in the morning, and I went back to the house.
After a good night’s sleep, I returned to Carolyn’s room in the morning, and we loaded Darlene’s baggage in the car for the trip back to Denton. When I got her back to her apartment, she asked if I would fix a flat on her bicycle, so I started to put on the new tire and tube, but they were too small. Besides, the chain was rusted up, and the shifter and brake cables were rusty, too. She let me load the bike up in the car, which fit in the trunk after I folded down the rear seats. I can fix it much easier back home.
I got back in time to visit Carolyn, and take her to a special program by a visiting doctor in the front lobby, who they said would talk on cardiovascular health. The talk was wide ranging, with a lot of good advice on many topics, including diet and exercise, and a special emphasis on vaccinations for older folks, as in flu and shingles shots.
I had to smile when they served us cookies with coffee as he told of the perils of carbs.
I got nervous when he got into the subject of dementia and Alzheimer’s, since I wasn’t sure how Carolyn would react, but she took it all in stride, and I don’t know if she related it to herself or not. The progression he described fit Carolyn to a tee.
As her memories moved farther back through the years, she went through objecting to her married last name, and being quite upset about it. I told her she could have any last name she wanted on her front door, and asked if her maiden name of Wright would be OK. No, she didn’t want that name either. So steeling myself a little, I asked she wanted to be Carolyn Morse, her first husband. Nope, not that one either. Her name on her door is just Carolyn Ann for now.
For a few weeks she was a shy teenage girl, who didn’t want me to see her undressed, and made me sit in the front while she went to the bathroom. Having nurses on duty was a welcome relief for me.
Now she doesn’t mind me being there at all, which has made it easier for me to help her clean up and change after a slip up, and she just loves when I rub Aspercreme lotion on the rash on her legs. We think it may be a reaction to the antibiotic she was on for congestion and a cough.
She has become much easier to care for now, and I still delight in making her smile.