Mom started another class session of Opening Minds Through Art last week. Yay! Of course I was running late when I picked her up at Thelma's Place for transport to OMA. Zori, one of Thelma's everyday angels, helped me hustle Mom to the van and informed me Mom had just gone to the bathroom to boot. Great, now we won't have that 10-minute tinkle-tank delay! With one eye on the clock, I drove in my usual bat-out-hell style to OMA. (Have I ever mentioned that older, nondescript color Dodge mini-vans with handicap plaques swinging wildly from the rearview mirror are apparently akin to Wonder Woman's plane? Completely invisible to the boys in blue. I highly recommend you get yourself the same set-up if you're prone to zoom-zooming.)
At Rose Villa, I delivered her into the arms of Jan, Mom's wonderful OMA volunteer, just as class was getting started. Half-way through class I snuck back to the art room to see if I could covertly film the creative magic that Jan always extracts from Mom. But neither Mom nor Jan were seated at their art table.
Rather, Mom was pacing around the tables of the other artists and their volunteers, happily creating their creations, with a flummoxed Jan in tow.
"She hasn't been able to settle down," the class coordinator whispered to me. "Perhaps if I hang out with her and Jan, maybe she'll want to sit and paint?" I offered. So into the art room I went. Jan and I managed to seat Mom for a brief moment before she was up and moving again, agitation pulsing through her body loud and clear.
My heart sank. Maybe Mom's dementia had finally taken this pleasure from her too.
As Jan and I conferred about what to try next to get our girl engaged, Mom walked out into the hallway and began undoing her pants.
"Oh jeez, Jan! She has to go potty!" I hustled out to divert her from completing what would have been a highly entertaining, but completely inappropriate, pee-soaked performance piece in the hallway, and with Jan in the lead, we hustled her down two looooong hallways to the nearest restroom - Mom resisting all efforts to move forward while simultaneously fighting to get her pants off the entire time.
Finally we reached the bathroom. Finally I got her into the handicapped stall. Finally she stopped trying to pull her pants down in the one spot she's suppose to pull her pants down. So, I fake peed first. That worked. She began undoing her pants as I stood next to her hoping against hope that we had made it to the bathroom without her having already unleashed her bladder.
You know, when you help your mother pull down her pull-ups there's a couple things you reckon you might see: a urine soaked pad, a nugget or two of poop, but what doesn't even come close to crossing your mind...
... is a pair of never-before-seen reading glasses wedged firmly in your mother's butt crack.
For a split second I was actually bewildered trying to work out how Mom had managed to poop out a pair of glasses. Then I simply lost my mind laughing before I could even think to extract them from their rather snug position. When we exited the stall, I showed the offending item to Jan, then she lost her mind laughing. Mom, not completely understanding the source of our mirth, joined in the merriment too. We got back to the classroom just in time to sing the closing song, share a giggle or two more, and head for home with Mom comfortably seated in her van.
As I dropped her off at Thelma's the next day, I asked Zori if anyone was missing a pair of reading glasses. "Yes!" she replied, "I am!" I produced the scandalous spectacles, now sparkling clean, and let her know where we had found them. How they went from Zori's face to Mom's backside is still a mystery to me, but Zori roared with amusement, and was glad to have them back.
So, when it comes to eyewear, pull-ups truly are leak proof. Honestly, I can't wait to see what she's packing in her underwear next.
I'm hoping for a pony.
P.S. Opening Minds through Art is an amazing art program specifically designed for dementia people. It's available throughout Canada and the United States, and I've written about here, here, and here. I highly recommend seeing if it's available in your area.