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Thanksgiving for two
Last Thanksgiving my brother was working so wasn't able to have Thanksgiving dinner with us. His job had him working 7 days in south Louisiana then 7 days home. I may have mentioned that he died before Christmas last year. Then my sister died in August and my mother in October. It was just Daddy and me this year. My nieces were cooking and invited us over or wanted to bring us plates but I wasn't sure how Daddy would handle too many people in unfamiliar environments so I decided to just cook a small meal for us. The day went by quite well; I was really pleased.
Well, today it's Saturday and Daddy's sundowners really hit him hard and fast. He wasn't feeling well this morning and just wasn't himself (wasn't even Daddy Elf). He started treating me like a guest or visitor; kept offering me cake, pie, cookies, coffee. Took some bowls out of the refrigerator and wanted me to get something to eat. Kept telling me not to go hungry, that there was plenty of food but he didn't know what it was. It was our leftover Thanksgiving food.
This evening he set the table like he usually does but set it for four of us. I reminded him that it was only the two of us. When I was putting the food on the table he asked "Isn't she eating with us"? I don't know who 'she' was and he couldn't say, he'd forgotten the name. While we were eating he asked if my sister was feeling okay. I told him she was. He'd forgotten she had died almost 4 months ago.
It was really getting me worried. He was acting different than he was yesterday. I can't explain it, just something I can't put my finger on. But something was different.
And he asked me when I had to be back at work. I've been retired for about 8 years. When he got ready to go to bed he had forgotten I lived here and was worried that I didn't have anywhere to sleep and it took several tries to convince him that I had a bed in the front bedroom before he finally went to bed. I had originally told him I had a bed in my bedroom but then he started trying to convince me to not drive home by myself because it was dark.
I don't know if he's moving into another stage of alzheimer's or if he was just overly tired tonight but it still has me concerned. Hope tomorrow he's more rested and calm but I really expected this reaction on Thanksgiving day or even yesterday.
My mom went in and out of stages like this. She lived in a cottage about 80 yards from our home. When she got to the stage where cooking-is-dangerous, I would make plans with her every day for lunch and supper, prepare the food, deliver it and eat with her. Sometimes I would cook at her place, but I didn't do that often because I didn't want her to see the stove being used, then try to do it herself. Sometimes when I arrived with a meal for two, she would have her entire set of dishes set out, all the silverware, cups and tray tables set up all over her tiny cottage. She would excitedly ask how many people would arrive for the party. It would just break my heart in two when I had to report that everyone had to cancel for the party today, but the two of us would have a great time anyway. Then she would ask about having more furniture brought in so there would be room for everyone to sit during future parties. (sigh). It was so obvious (to me) that there was not one square inch of extra space for more furniture. She didn't see that aspect.
Since she married in 1952, mom was a stay-at-home-mom (which was great for us kids). But, a few times during dementia she would be very concerned because she was late for work and thought she would be fired. I told her that her boss had called and the company is closed today because of a water leak. What a relief that was for her.
When I would see my mom's happy face waiting for all those people to show up, or see the concern in her eyes when she thought she would be fired - that's when I knew that fiblets are a good and necessary thing.
New and different things popped up every day. She would wait for my deceased father to pick her up for church, or her college-era friends to arrive, etc.... Then she would be nearly normal for a day or two. But eventually the normal days went away and never came back. I always tried to follow her lead with my responses so she wouldn't be upset over being challenged.
You simply have to go with the moving target of dementia. As long as there is no medical reason for the mental fluctuations (UTI), then this will become the new normal that you must deal with. I wish you the best of luck.
Sooo sorry. It's hard to watch this deterioration of someone you love, especially as you've lost so much of your family recently.
My mom is in and out. She talks about me in 3rd person a lot. Last night she asked me when I was coming home. Tough to take sometimes.