We made the difficult decision this week to move my mother-in-law into a Memory Care unit. None of us are happy about it. But when someone insists on going to bed in a room that isn’t hers and starts storing her socks in the freezer, it’s pretty clear that independent living no longer suits her.
At least it’s clear to the supposed “experts.” I’m not so sure.
The thing is, my mother-in-law discovered, several years ago, a curling iron that I had put in the freezer. So, I feel like I’m one bed hop away from my own memory care incarceration and I certainly don’t have room to judge. However, the place where she is living administered a quiz to my mother-in-law that apparently assesses one’s need for more assistance and it, surprisingly, did not include any questions about the proper place to store your socks or your hair appliances.
“What did they ask her?” I asked my husband.
“The date. She didn’t know.”
Oh geez. Half the time I don’t know the date either. I have to ask my students or the lady at the dry cleaners when I’m writing a check at 4:00 in the afternoon.
“What city she lives in. She knew the state, but not the city.”
Well, I do know that. But I’ve lived here for 25 years (she’s only been here 2 years). And if you ask my Kindergartners what city they live in, they will tell you anything from Canada to Paris. I don’t see any of them getting stuck in a memory care unit.
“They asked her to fold a piece of paper a certain way and she did that perfectly.”
Oh. My. God. I’ve watched videos on how to fold a fitted bed sheet 10000 times and I still can’t do it right. And now they want me to do origami?
That’s 2 out of 3 questions I would have bombed. So, basically, I would have scored the same on the quiz as my mother-in-law.
Please don’t tell these people I lost my wedding rings last week, then found them on the floor by my feet, or that I punched the play button on our home answering machine this afternoon and did not recognize my own voice leaving a message that I thought I was leaving on my husband’s cell phone voice mail until I replayed the stupid thing twice.
As long as I refuse to answer any questions and stay out of the freezer, I think I’m good for another couple of years.
But I’m going to learn how to fold a fitted bed sheet if it’s the last thing I do before my dementia diagnosis. And I know exactly the person who can teach me…
I do not have a good track record with doctors. So, I tend to avoid them if at all possible. I prefer to use the internet for my diagnoses.
MILlie, an elderly friend of the family, needs to go to the dermatologist. The only one she likes is in a different town that is about two hours away. Because I have had experience with trying to convince MILlie to try a new doctor in our town, I know better than to try that again. So, I agreed to take her. Which, in case you were not paying attention to my first paragraph, is a major sacrifice on my part. I am not telling you this merely because I want you to admire my heroism, but also because I want you to truly understand the irony of the last line of this post.
I called MILlie to make sure I had the right contact information so I could make the appointment.
“Well, let me get out the phone book,” MILlie said. “Okay. Here’s the address.”
“That’s okay. All I really need is the phone number for now,” I said.
“Well, it’s right across from the hospital. It’s in a big building. Across from the hospital. And, it’s in a suite. S-T-E.”
“No problem. If you can just give me the phone number, I’ll get the directions from the internet later, and then you can point out the building to me when we get there,” I said.
“Oh. Am I going to be with you?”
Now that I have officially announced my Presidential Candidacy, and I have been Officially Endorsed by my friend, The Hobbler, I feel that it is my obligation to inform you that I may or may not possess all of my faculties. The following anecdote will help you make an informed decision about my ability to perform my job – or any job, for that matter.
My husband, the long suffering Cap’n Firepants, asked the other day, “Hey, did you notice the corn in the Tupperware dish on the counter?”
“Yeah, why did you leave that on the counter?”
“I wanted to remind myself to tell you where I found it.”
Neither one of us remembers putting the leftover corn in the pantry (otherwise known as the unrefrigerated closet that does not preserve food) with the clean Tupperware.
To his credit, he never said it was me.
But I know he thinks it.
And I think it, too.
Today will be a relatively short post due to major goings on in the Firepants household. Dimples has a Synchronized Swimming water show today, and it’s an all-day affair. My Dorfenbergerthalamus is being stretched to its limits between getting to rehearsals, knoxing/makeup applications, and performances on time. Here’s a glimpse into the frustration of being the Mother of Dimples, a fourth-grader (note the current grade level, as it will help you to appreciate this conversation):
“Mom, when we go shopping tomorrow, can you get me some long-sleeved shirts?”
“Well, maybe one or two. I don’t want to spend a lot because you never want to wear them.”
“Are you kidding me? Every time it gets cold and I try to get you to wear warm clothes, you act like I’m abusing you. You insist on wearing a short sleeved shirt and a sweater. It can be a thirty degree day, and when I pick you up from school your sweater is stuffed in your backpack and your jeans are rolled up to your knees.”
“I don’t think so.”
“I remember there was a time in second grade I wore one.”
I forgot to wear my bra.
Periodically, as I attempt different fashion combinations inside my closet early in the morning, I throw things on without the bra b/c the final topper will determine the foundation, as most women know.
Every once in awhile, I am so flustered and running late, that I head out for the day without that somewhat necessary piece of equipment. I say “somewhat” because, unfortunately, some might look at that general area of my body and wonder why I even bother. However, in certain outfits, and in certain types of weather (such as really cold), trust me, it’s necessary.
The necessity can be compounded by the fact that I am a teacher, and spending an entire day in the classroom with certain pieces of clothing missing is generally frowned upon by anyone other than teenage boys. I don’t teach teenage boys.
I keep a sweater at school for just such emergencies. People tend to question you, however, when it is 107 outside, and you are wearing a sweater in a school whose antiquated air conditioning system can’t even come close to keeping up. “I’m cold, ” does not seem to be a satisfactory answer when your co-workers are fanning themselves with everything from clipboards to old book covers.
Now, if you happen to be one of said co-workers reading this post, let me assure you that I often am cold. I don’t really forget to don my bra that many days per year.
As you may have learned from my other posts, however, I have a tendency toward forgetfulness, which I blame on terrorists or the internet, and which sometimes manifests itself in my periodically incomplete or mismatched wardrobe.
So, I was sitting yesterday at my daughter’s synchronized swimming practice, when the horrible thought sent a chill down my spine. I forgot to put on a bra. That’s why that New Parent at the other end of the table eyed me so strangely!
I waited until I could surreptitiously and nonchalantly walk to the bathroom to try to create some sort of makeshift MacGyver bra. When I closed the door and lifted up my shirt, however, lo and behold, I discovered I actually had remembered after all.
Of course, after the relief wore off, I had to deal with the discomfort of two more tantalizing questions – how could I not know I was wearing a bra? And what else could have made New Parent look at me as though I had walked into the room with toilet paper hanging from the back of my shorts?
Oh, wait a second…
I got scooped by Stephen Colbert.
Pondering my recent blog post regarding terrorists poisoning our food so that we would lose our memory, I thought I should try to come up with at least one other alternative explanation.
In the meantime, our bulldog was channelling Stevie Wonder
which made me wonder (no pun intended) if the famous singer was still alive. I honestly can’t keep track of the lives of celebrities, much less their deaths, so I decided to Google it. And then it hit me – our brains are shrinking because of Google. (BTW, in case you are worried and haven’t left this post already to satisfy your own curiosity, Stevie Wonder is apparently still alive, according to Wikipedia.)
“Of course!” I thought, “Our brains have stopped retaining information because they know that all we need to do is hit a few keystrokes, and there it is.” This led me to wonder (there’s that word again!) if, in the near future, our brains will have search boxes inside – a perfectly Darwinian result of our technological evolution.
All prepared to blog about this great discovery and what I thought to be a quite astute prediction, I settled down to watch an episode of The Colbert Report on The Comedy Channel (the only place I like to get my news), and there was Stephen doing “The Word”. It was “Head in the Cloud” (more than one word, but so what?). And he proceeded to cite research that supported my hypothesis of memory loss due to Google. Furthermore, he surmised that all of our memory, including personal, will eventually be stored in that virtual cloud that we hear so much about. He then showed how beneficial this would be to all of us – as long as we have wi-fi access, that is. I highly recommend you watch it. It’s quite realistically horrifying when you think about it.
So, within the span of a few moments, I was able to connect my bulldog, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Colbert, and Darwin. Memory, Schmemory. Who needs it? Like a Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon game, I can pretty much find a connection between anything and anyone (as long as I have wi-fi or 3G). And, here’s the kicker: I Googled “Stevie Wonder and Stephen Colbert” so I could try to find a nice little way to tie this whole post together.
They have the same birthday.