What a cross to have after living your life as independently as my mother did. My mother was and remains "a piece of work", that's about as mild as I can put it. She is desperately trying to remain independent. She's not having much success!
Spunky, one doctor called her, until she came into his office one day and accused him of putting a needle in her thigh instead of her knee on her last appointment(not true). She went way beyond being spunky. She was downright rude and nasty, evoking the ire and attention of all 7 or 8 nurses and of course some of the patients. She left the office yelling and cursing that poor doctor.
You see, her memory is mush. She forgets most things, events that occurred both previously and lately. Like the time we were discussing my father, now deceased, who had his leg amputated many years ago due to poor circulation. "Oh you are a liar" she said to me. She went on to say that she visited him regularly at the nursing home and she would know if he had his leg amputated.
Truth is, she did not visit him regularly. She hated my father, divorced him and blamed him for every wrong thing that ever happened to her. But...no use arguing, I'll never win, nor will anyone else. My father was an alcoholic. Unfortunately for him he liked to drink, and while I agree an alcoholic never has an excuse to take a drink, she was the closest thing to an excuse there is. According to my mother I am just like him. Yes,I am also an alcoholic - in recovery. I wish I weren't else I would swear she drove him to drink! Then I could also say she drove me to drink!
She still has her car, sitting outside her apartment building. She refuses to give it up. She is planning to drive again. She is 89. She barely gets around. She falls quite often, she broke her hip 2 years ago. She shuffles her feet terribly. Her knee is shot, she can't bend it and has severe pain trying to just sit down, let alone getting in and out of a car. She has her nights and days mixed up and often suffers from disorientation due to lack of sleep. She won't or can't get a shower due to the fear of falling yet again, can barely put on her shoes and socks, goes around for days without getting out of her nightie. But she is determined to drive.
My mother desperately clings to the semblance of sanity and cognition God has allowed her to have. She still pretty much grasps the meaning of money. In fact she spends lots of her day figuring out how to save it. She goes over her grocery bill w/a fine tooth comb, calling me time after time each week, telling me I spent too much for something or wondering aloud that I must have made a mistake when I checked out (?) I don't check out Mother, the cashier does.
Each month when her telephone bill comes in she is in a manic mode, swearing someone is making calls from her phone or somehow cheating her by getting her number charged for calls she swears she has not made. In fact, every month we call the phone company and the phone numbers she is questioning and sure enough she made the call. She blatantly refuses to admit she made the calls. Someone, she says, is doing this to her purposely.
Try as we do, she refuses to consider moving into Assisted Living. Unfortunately it is impossible for her to move in with any of us. Why? We have all tried it and it did not work out. It is something that is not possible and will not happen. So my sister who lives in North Carolina and I are in a waiting mode...
Begrudgingly, I admire my mother for her perseverance, although I have more often called it stuborness. I see that she is scared. She has her own ideas of nursing homes and assisted living places that is from the old movies where the residents are tortured and locked up in cells. But to her it is fact and she will not budge from it. She wants to keep her independence and if I can allow her to do that I will. But the fact is, it's getting harder and harder. When she lashes out, I beg the Holy Spirit to come to me and hold my tongue. Every day I pray, not for healing for my mother, but for joy for her. Pure joy in her heart so that she is not full of fear, but so that she can enjoy her last days on this earth; because it is something my mother has not had much of all her life.