Rock Star

“Tracey, can you please talk to your mom?’

Oh God, what now? Mom had called an hour ago, and she was irrational and angry. She had hung up on me in disgust, unable to express the cause of her distress. I’d hoped I’d be able to get to my Monday night yoga class as planned.

“She got outside. She’s trying to get out the fence. She’s yelling ‘Help!’ at people on the street. She’s got the phone and she won’t give it back. She’s picking up rocks and throwing them at me!”

Earlier, Karina* had attempted to give Mom a tranquilizer, but Mom threw the offered juice in her face. I don’t know how she managed to get out the front door, but she’d clearly been agitated for a while.

From the number on my caller ID, I could see that this latest call was from Karina’s own phone (since my mother had grabbed the house phone).

“Can you turn on the speakerphone so she can hear me?”

“Yes.” I could now hear the altercation from both sides. Mom was shrieking wildly.

“Mom. PLEASE. PUT. THE ROCKS. DOWN. PLEASE MOM. PLEASE PUT THEM DOWN.” I kept my voice calm but firm.

She put the rocks down. She went back in the house. She held onto the phone.

Dressed in my yoga clothes, I had been preparing to go to my class, but Bob and I went to Ramsey instead. I was warned that 911 might be called and I didn’t want to have to deal with police or emergency rooms. Bob was afraid Mom might try throwing rocks (or worse) at me, so he went along.

When we arrived, Mom was seated in the main dining area, calm as could be. The phone had been liberated from her clutches. She was glad to see us, if a little sheepish. She realized she’d been over-reacting to something and that her temper needed to be reigned in.

“I guess I have my father’s temper.” She had told me about my grandfather’s dark side (although I’d never seen it).

“Sometimes I think you’re channeling Herby” referring to my late father, whose temper was legendary.

“I keep losing him, that rat.” Uh oh. He’s only been dead for eight years now.

“You see him here?”

“Yeah, he comes for a while and then he just disappears. There’s never any intimacy. What’s his name again?”

“Herby?”

Mom grinned and shook her head at herself. Not only did she keep losing him, now she was losing her ability to recall his name.

“It’s OK Mom.”

She was getting tired. It was after 8 pm and she’d worn herself out. Karina caught my eye and lifted Mom’s evening pill cup toward me to see if I’d dispense her meds. I nodded. She poured some juice as well and I took both cups to Mom.

She took them easily, throwing back the pills and drinking down the juice.

As we were getting ready to leave, Karina confided that as Mom was throwing the rocks, she commanded her to “Dance!” We all had to laugh at this.

Our job was done for the evening. Mom, the staff and the phone were all safe inside. The rocks were safe outside. And Bob and I returned to our home, where I did a much-needed solo yoga practice and wound down for the evening.

That was one rock show I could have done without. Thankfully, the set was short and sweet.

*Not her real name.

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About traceysl

Digital Artist, creative technologist, problem-solving lover of life. Having cared for my mother, who died on April 14, 2015 after a long fight with dementia, I have refocused professionally to helping others through my experience. I have started a company called Grand Family Planning to provide unique Family Support Services. In this way, I share my knowledge and give meaning to the tragic turn of my parents' journey through the misery of dementia.
This entry was posted in aging, assisted living, caregiving, delusions, dementia, Family, life changes, psychosis, yoga. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rock Star

  1. You handled that very well. I do not have my mother in an Alzheimer’s unit yet, just assisted living. Some days I am sure we are going to get a call that she has been kicked out. I hear more ‘drama’ that happens in her dining room than I ever did in high school. 🙂

    • traceysl says:

      Thanks, Trish. We all have to learn to adapt. We all change. In my mother’s case, she continues to throw me curveballs, but fortunately, she still trusts me and knows who I am. I am grateful. I wish you luck with your mother.

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