Visit to Mom
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I flew to California and had a really nice visit with my family. Mom (94) is losing more of her ability to think clearly; she forgets common words, loses the phone, she forgets who is visiting, and falls asleep in the middle of conversations. But she remembers each of us, her children. I was in the room when they were changing the bandages on her leg; several new open sores have broken out. She was quite nauseated one day, probably related to the infection in her bone. She has no appetite and eats only one or two bites at each meal. She still enjoys drinking ginger ale and that is probably her main calorie source. I bought several treats for mom -- valentine's chocolates in her favorite variety, fresh fruit, food from a favorite deli -- but she still had no appetite.
I hope her final days are peaceful.
(this is an earlier photo of mom because she does not want any photos when she is so ill; this was taken at her 93rd birthday)
My brother and sister both visited, it was great to see them. My sister and I had two very nice hikes with some challenging uphill climbs through the redwoods. I love that she enjoys hiking so much! And she hikes at a much faster pace than I do, so it is a challenge for me.
It is funny though – my sister was very late for our planned hike (we always go during mom’s afternoon nap), and when we got back to mom’s room my brother had already arrived for our family dinner. So I did not back to the hotel to change out of my hiking clothes (jeans and jersey top); I thought it was more important to visit with my brother who drove many miles to visit my sister, mom and me. That TOTALLY energized mom into being critical because I was not more nicely dressed! She had been dozing off and only intermittently paying attention until I told my sister that I would stay to chat with my brother instead of deserting him to drive back to the hotel and change; mom was immediately alert and forceful: “By now you should come prepared to dress in your nice clothes for dinner!”, exactly as though I was 13 years old instead of 62.
Frankly I’m not used to criticism of my appearance (probably one of the few advantages of being single)! But I have to remember that mom doesn’t realize how casually everyone in Silicon Valley dresses, and she is reacting as mom (and treating me like a not very bright child who picked out clashing color rompers!). It did bring back memories of how painful it is to have your appearance criticized when you are an adolescent. I just told mom politely that if I left to change my clothes would take over an hour and I would miss the visit with my brother, and we were both looking forward to our visit. (He was in jeans too, but apparently in mom’s world men are allowed to wear jeans to dinner). Anyway we all had a very nice visit and then we went out to dinner while mom slept. The other diners at the very good restaurant ran the gamut in clothing -- more casual than me (sweat pants and/or shorts) to elegant gowns!
I’m back to a very busy week at work, with lots of travel and deadlines. It’s starting to snow very heavily and I don’t know if I will be able to travel tomorrow (scheduled for a business destination that take 6 hours driving time in GOOD weather)