Don't worry about Mom, kids, while I'm flailing about in dementia wreckage of my own making, The Other Girl and MotherMinder are enjoying a dementia winning streak to rival this guy's:
The Other Girl kicked off her caregiver victory lap on the Fourth of July. For three years in a row Mom and I have headed to my sister's Oregon coast town for an evening of illegal fireworks and small town camaraderie (read: epic levels of drunkenness). This year MotherMinder asked if she could tag along for fun and I was happy to have her company.
But after a Momzilla, anger-fueled, 2-hour trek to get to the coast I was fed up with Mom. The woman whose one consistent pleasure is long rides in her van, the outcome of which will be to spend the night with her favorite daughter, was an obnoxious bundle of "No!" and "Take me home!"
If MotherMinder hadn't been our traveling companion I would have turned the vehicle around and skipped the whole damn thing. (Gee, not too much of my mother's daughter here.)
By the time we got to The Other Girl's house, I was twitching with barely concealed rage. After a glass of cheap champagne I was calmer, but still avoiding Mom (which really isn't much of an accomplishment when The Other Girl is around; Mom is a moth to her statuesque flame). Feeling even better after my second glass of bubbles, we headed down to the beach for fireworks.
I commandeered the best parking spot for Mom's mobility convenience, bustled around determining which chair to put her in so she'd reap the warmth of the fire pit without battling the smoke of the flames, and began rummaging around the back of the van for the stack of blankets and hats I had packed to keep her snug.
In the meantime, ignorant of my over-planning zeal, Mom had fallen fast asleep in the van. My attempts to rouse her for fireside inclusion were met with irritation, and finally angry refusal. The Other Girl stepped in, tucked a blanket around Mom's lap, cracked the window, shut the van door, and left it at that.
"Caregiver 101," she teased as she walked away.
Befuddled that all my planning was being tossed by the wayside, I looked around stupidly until I realized... Mom was fine, The Other Girl was laughing with friends, MotherMinder was having a grand time, and I was the only one standing amidst the revelry as if struck dumb. I was also the only one without a libation in hand, so I quickly redirected my caregiver energy to "self-care", leaving Mom in peace.
Later that week, my sister went on to achieve an even more impressive feat of care-givery by showering Mom without a single instance of screaming, crying, biting, punching, or kicking! From either of them! Granted, the bathroom looked like a tornado had cycled through it, but Mom was clean and calm. I am on a two-month losing streak for this particular task, but I don't begrudge The Other Girl this victory, even though she was pretty insufferable with the self-congratulations afterwards.
MotherMinder has been racking up wins of her own lately, including a fairly calm shower this week with only a little bit of hollering from Mom while washing up the hoo-ha.
A trip to the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival proved to be very engaging for Mom. MM couldn't get Mom to smile for a picture, but assured me that Mom was pleased with the outing. Judging by her frame of mind that evening, I knew she had had a good day.
And Mom and MotherMinder found a cure for dementia at their Oregon Garden adventure:
Put a hat on it!
Mom plopped this big floppy hat on her head in the gift shop, spent the next couple of minutes trying to find away out of it, then she and MM laughed and laughed until MM's mirth abated enough to snap this picture.
I'll toss that in the (temporary) Dementia Cure column for the win!
While dementia life ain't easy around here, I am grateful, and in awe, of the job my two caregiving co-workers are doing. Booyah! Mic drop! They are...