Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yesterday, my momma turned 74 years old. Celebrating a birthday with someone who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease is, well, different. The first thing in the morning, we wish her happy birthday, "today's your birthday momma!" Then when the next person comes downstairs and wishes her a happy birthday, she acts all surprised, and says "I didn't know today was my birthday!" That goes on a couple more times. When we do the cake and ice cream, pictures and gifts, she is again, surprised because she did not know today was her birthday. When she opens the gifts, and she is told who this one is from, who this one is from, she responds with thank you and hugs and puts them to the side, and moves on to the next one. She holds the cake, blows out the candles while we take pictures, and we serve everyone. Then later, she sees the gifts and asks where they came from and who they belong to. This past weekend, momma and I took a road trip to hear my brother preach in West Plains, MO at the Brandsville Church of God, 10 miles outside of West Plains. All the way there, three hours of curvy roads, she tells me "we have been here before, at this point, we were here, today". No mom, we are traveling south, and we are not there yet, but we are not going in circles, I promise you. We get to the motel, get settled in, and momma says she does not want to get back in the car. Mike was preaching Saturday night as well as Sunday morning. We were going to go to both, but momma decided we could just hear him in the morning, that would be fine. Tonight, the people would probably want to talk to just him and we would be interfering. Ok, so she suggested I just go and get something to eat and bring it back to the room to eat. Are you sure mom? You will be ok with me running out to get some pizza or whatever I can find? Sure, I will be fine. Ok, I leave and I find a pizza place, wait the 15 or so minutes and head back to the room. When I get to the room, and open the door, I know there has been a "problem". I see the "laundry" in the sink and I smell an unpleasant aroma, and ask momma about it. She denies there has been an accident and says she has "worn these jeans for several days and thought they needed to be rinsed out". I serve momma up some pizza and make her a drink, then go to work on the "laundry". I am suddenly not very hungry. The aroma in the room is not conducive to eating. It doesn't seem to bother momma at all. After spending at least 45 minutes rinsing and cleaning up, momma asked me if I was done with my laundry. I was wishing I had brought some Febreeze. I don't think I slept very well that night. The next morning, we got to the church early enough to visit with Mike and Judy. Momma walks in the door, hugs Mike, then turns to Judy and hugs her, then turns back to Mike and says, "did I walk right past you? Give me a hug!" After church, there was a luncheon downstairs in the church basement/fellowship hall. Momma tells one guy that he looks like my daughter Kelly's boyfriend, at least 5 times. He was a young guy that wears the shaved head look, LOL. Once momma asked one of the men if they ever hear from "Bob". He looked confused, and looked at me for help. I had no clue who Bob was, or where mom thought she was so I said, momma this is Church of God, so I don't think you would know their former pastor. Momma just laughed and said, "Oh! I forgot where we were! For some reason I was thinking we were somewhere else!" We eventually go to the point where it was time for us to leave, as they were going to go give Mike and Judy a tour of the parsonage. We left for Little Rock, to visit Martha Barnes. The trip to Little Rock was 3 hours. We got to Little Rock before dark, and in time to attend evening services with her at her church there in Otter Creek. When we got to Martha's, momma had another "accident". She left the evidence in the sink. I went and cleaned it all up, and got momma cleaned up in time to get in the car and go to church. The last time momma had this many accidents of this kind, was when we went to Colorado during Thanksgiving break. Apparently, road trips of any kind really mess with momma. We have been home now since Tuesday night and she has been fine, no accidents of that kind, thank God. I think we have taken our last road trip for a very long time. It actually makes me grateful for the "normal" accidents she has. God is good that way. When I begin to feel sorry for myself, for how hard life is these days, He shows me how it could be worse, and I gain a new perspective and a new appreciation for the way life is these days! I know this is not exactly the upbeat, good news message I have been putting on here, but sometimes I just am too tired to write, but feel the need to document all that is happening on a day to day basis as I walk this path.