Parental Journal 52 from Planet Elderly – A Full Moon Episode

Thursday, April 21, 2016 – evening

How to Make the Appointment Mom Doesn’t Want

Woke up early this morning wondering how I would call the Thomson Memory Center to make Mom’s appointment.  There is no privacy here…and she does not want this appointment.

While I had 4:30 a.m. coffee, I went online and found that under “contact us” I could request an appointment online.  So I did and received a call later this morning.  Mom will have her appointment next Thursday at 10 a.m.   Her follow-up report visit will be at 2 p.m. Monday, May 9th…the same day we have a morning conference on Dad’s care.  I’m glad we don’t have to wait six or eight weeks.

Mom learned who called me because I needed her insurance card information.  Once she knew, she had a mini tizzy fit.  I didn’t respond.  We were sitting with Dad; he was quite alert and making comments now and then.  At one point she asked who she could call to cancel.

“We’re not canceling, Mom.  Dr. Gupta wants you to have this appointment in order to finish up everything for your annual exam.”

“Well, I’m fine.  I don’t have any aches or pains.  I don’t want any more testing.”

I didn’t respond and we drifted our attention back to Dad.

She didn’t mention it the rest of the day.  Probably forgot about it.

I printed out a pre-interview questionnaire emailed to me from the center.  It’s 12 pages long.  Fortunately, there is a place to indicate who filled out the questionnaire if the patient did not.  I filled it out, figuring Mom would not be cooperative if we sat down and tried to do it together.


Full Moon Episode

I saw a rather full moon when I woke up early and opened the drapes before dawn.  Kinda thought something might happen.  It did.

I had planned to make some chocolate chip cookies late this afternoon.  Thought we would give some to Judy as a thank you for sending us home with leftover lasagna…and also bring a plateful for staff in Dad’s wing.

While assembling ingredients, I groaned that I didn’t think to get fresh brown sugar when we went to the store earlier today.  I tried working with what Mom had, but it was impossible…kind of like granite.

I got frustrated.  Mom got frustrated.  She offered to go to the store and I said, “No.  I’ll work with it.”  That made her mad.  When I gave up and said I would go to the store to get new brown sugar, she got even madder.

Then she exploded…telling me she couldn’t take it anymore.  “What do you mean by “it?” I asked.

“You!” she yelled.  Then she went off on a tangent, one I’ve heard before.  Stress and frustration build and then she vents.  I know it’s not easy having me around.  She has to work hard at trying to be okay and of course she feels I am watching everything she does.

“Well, I’m going out, too.  I’m getting in the car and getting away!”  Then she ran upstairs to cry.

I left to join drive time traffic, made my way to Jewel, got the brown sugar, and returned to Mom’s to find the garage door open but the car still in the garage.

I started in on the cookies and Mom came downstairs crying.  She felt so terrible at getting so angry and saying what she said.  “You don’t deserve that,” she said.

I walked over and gave her a hug.  I told her I understood that everything she is going through is becoming more and more difficult…that I know she loves me…that I understand that sometimes we all explode and I’m sure some cookies will make it all better.

We were sitting at the dining table, and then Mom began talking about Dad…how she can’t trust him anymore, how he sneaks in and takes money, how he doesn’t give her any money, how he takes and takes and takes and never gives anything in return.  “Why doesn’t he just divorce me?”

I have heard this before, so I just sat and listened.  I didn’t try to reason with her.  I just let her talk about how unhappy she is, how she wished she was dead, how she has sometimes thought about how she could kill herself (“And don’t think I didn’t think that because I did!”)…how she didn’t go anywhere in the car earlier because she was afraid she would kill herself…how she did drive a bit but came back because it’s not good to drive when she’s upset…how she wants a checking account with just her money….how she’s going to take all the money out of the bank so Dad can’t get to it.  At one point I did mention that perhaps the money would be safer in the bank and that I didn’t think Dad’s name was on her account.  She paused and then said, “You better get back to making those cookies.”  And I did.

While I started making cookies, Mom found her bank books and studied them. Then she said she would close her checking account.  I told a fib.  “That’s where the social security checks are deposited.  I don’t think the government allows that.”   Then she decided that she needed to go to the bank to tell them not to give Dad any money if he tries to get some.

“Sure,” I said.  “We can go to the bank.  If Dad’s name is not on an account, then he has no access to it, so maybe you will want to make sure all the accounts are as you want them to be.”  She continued studying her bank books and then went upstairs.  A bit later she came downstairs with her hair in rollers and in her nighttime attire.

“I’ve decided I’m going to be good,” she said.

“You’re going to be good?”

“Yes, I shouldn’t get so worked up.  Life is too short.”

“Okay,” I said.  “Here.  Have a cookie.”    full moon chocolat chip cookis 042115

About jjmummert

This blog was originally titled "Drifting Toward Planet Elderly," and it shared a journey I had with my elderly parents as they both finished their lives battling the complexities of dementia. After both passed on, I changed the title to "Living on Planet Elderly." I am a retiree who is reluctantly adjusting to the reality that she is now elderly. In July of 2021, I relocated to Middleton WI after living in Columbia MO for over 40 years. I decided that I want to experience a new and vibrant location in a cooler climate with lakes...a bucket list item of mine. I have a first cousin who lives in Madison. We have nice childhood memories, and I thought it would be wonderful to spend some time together as elders. It was. AND March 2023, I returned to Columbia. I had a wonderful time experiencing the Madison area of Wisconsin, spending time with my cousin, and making some wonderful friends. No regrets.
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2 Responses to Parental Journal 52 from Planet Elderly – A Full Moon Episode

  1. Deg Farrelly says:

    what an adventure you’re having!

    And you can soften hard brown sugar with a short burst in the microwave



    Sent from my iPad


  2. jjmummert says:

    Yep…quite an adventure. I tried the microwave thing the last time I was here. I didn’t work for some reason. Maybe because the microwave is ancient and barely functioning. 🙂


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