What To Do When Mom Behaves Like A Nutcase
Now that I have made the same choice, I understand better. It is not filial devotion. No. It has more to do with providing an alternative to society's choice for the elderly, nursing home care.
Caring for a bedridden parent who behaves like a well-mannered child is one thing. What do you do when mom becomes a nutcase? These are the options:
1.) Hold your breath, count to three, and try whatever you did/said again.
2.) Caress her brow to express affection and empathy.
3.) Keep your distance.
I tried (1) and (2) and they didn’t work. Bea shooed me away, so Keep Your Distance, the cowardly choice, is mine today.
Once I wrote in this blog that the worst days were when Bea was depressed and wouldn’t talk. I guess I was wrong. Far worse is her being depressed and talking.
This morning, at 3 am, Bea declares she is hungry. I provide a banana. Apparently our diva is fed up with bananas, because she announces in a haughty voice, “I don’t want your banana. You can keep your banana. Do you want me to shove it in your face? I want something else. I’m hungry.”
Hmmm. The day is starting well.
Bea calls out again at 4:30, and then at 6, when I finally decide to fix a real breakfast.
Later in the morning, Bea sees me in her room and demands, “Who are you?”
O-o-o-o-o-o-o, I don’t like the tone. This is going to be a bad-mood day, without a doubt.
“Are you my mother?”
I explain who I am for the zillionth time.
Bea ponders this information a few moments, than asks, “How old am I?”
“96 ½,” I reply.
“How did I get so old?”
No answer to that. I just stare at her emaciated face.
“I guess I’m going to die soon. I better get a plot in the cemetery.”
I could explain that she made other arrangements years ago, but am feeling sleep-deprived – with reason – and say nothing.
“Where’s my husband?”
“He’s dead. Died a long time ago. Seven years.”
“He was a sweet man. Why did he die?”
“He was old. 97.”
“I shouldn’t have married such an old man!”
On this, I take my leave. Bea chats softly to herself for several hours. When I stick my head in the door, she sticks out her tongue.
“I want the flavor of your arm.”
“My arm has no flavor,” I respond icily.
“Who are you?”
Before I can respond, she says, “Oh, you’re my daughter. What a job to have me for a mother!”
Once again, Bea has pretty much summed it up …