The business manager (also a degreed caregiver) stopped by with equal success. Attending the funeral was problematic. “She may have been over stimulated at the family gathering yesterday evening in the (unrefinished) Hearth Room”. (A group of 15 lasting 3 hours from which she left in her usual way about half way, “Time to go.”)
Now several other caregivers considered a calming pill. By now even drawers from my old clothes chest were resting on the sleep number bed next to the bathroom. This has never happened before.
I continued without forcing her to get changed or to leave things in place. I did put many things back only to have them migrate again. And then at 9:30 she sat down to rest. No order, of removing or dressing, one would normally use had worked.
“We need to get dressed to go to church.” “Oh!”, in that soft voice of recognition and understanding. The calming pill was ordered. I held out her pants. She put them on. “Lets wait on the pill.” Socks. Shoes. She put them on. The worry spell was over.
There was no taking off her nightgown. No putting on her brassier. I next held out her blouse. Off came the nightgown. On went the brassier followed by the blouse. I have to get things in the right order in her world.
When we stood to sing a hymn, she saw two of the picture books her younger brother and his wife have made of Bob’s life, in the pew before us. One has a high school picture and the other a collage picture on the cover. She again showed for a few seconds the same reaction as when I was finally able to tell her that Bob was gone.
I showed her Bob’s picture on the TV that was posted on Facebook yesterday, by a family member, and then asked her if she knew who that was. “Yes, Bob”. “Now read what is beside the picture.” Obituary . . . .
The service seemed uneventful for her. The slide show afterword did connect. Between about the third and fifth showing she watched intently and responded to many of the slides that are in the family reunion picture books that have been made for us. (These picture books tell a story as will as bind a collection of pictures that appear to be able to withstand a lot of use by her and for sharing with all the residents.) [They are perfect for memory care.]
She responded well to a large number of people we knew well. I have been told several times that this may just be an act. It may be, in part, but she never asked to leave the service.
The dinner after the service was a second crowd. We stood still looking for seating. A complete plate was placed on the table in front of us and my wife was directed to that chair. And this time, it happened by some one other than our caregiver from Home Instead (who attended the funeral). My wife never asked to leave.
We ate supper in memory care while other family members visited restaurants. She was content visiting with our two sons afterwards and with their departure for the airport. Everyone seemed in good spirits.
This is then another time in which my wife has gone from “highly agitated and over stimulated” to normal behavior solely in response to not forcing her to perform by the clock. At no time did she jump up, “It’s time to go”, or forcefully signed, “No. I am not doing that. Out.”
|Good Morning - Welcome Home|
This was a most unusual day made possible by a number of family, friends, and caregivers. A thank you to each one.
This day presented the interplay between caregivers at all levels and my wife’s behavior at any one time. A significant time period can be as little as two seconds. The same behavior can support many stories; all of which may be wrong and all of which may be true for a moment.
What is she telling us? This last balloon, from the 3rd of January, that I found tethered in the bathroom this Sunday morning, can no longer fly even with the ribbon clipped. Maggie is still with us. What is your story?
|The Last Flight|