Saturday, August 25, 2012

Humour in an Awkard Seniors Moment

So happy to pick up The Boy at the airport this morning!!  To see him doing better in life than he was a year ago is a thrill even at his adult age; that upward movement and life changing circumstance is always a joy to a parent.

And speaking of parents we had a lot of fun with my husband's mother when we visited her in hospital this morning.  I say "fun" meaning we were able to help her mind relax on a day when she is very much engaged mentally on whatever weird and wonderful planet she sometimes inhabits.  I have done elder care for years and so one thing I am able to do is roll with whatever imaginary scenario seems to real to these beloved seniors when their minds can no longer keep up with the reality most of the rest of us inhabit.

It is possible that she had another small stroke last night that has effected her mind for the worse once again, but her humour, the bold humour we remember, asserted itself delightfully.  We got talking about how both her children and grandchild learned so much from her many abilities and talents and how those things are making their lives better as a result.  Her response was definitely "the old Mom":  "Well!", she said.  "I am a pretty smart woman then, aren't I?"  (this accompanied by a little smirk)  Mom never could accept a compliment without making a bit of fun of herself in the process and today, even on Planet Wherever", was no different.

I am not sure my husband coped well with her response to the arrival of her grandson by commercial airplane.  She was very concerned because she wasn't sure about the location of anywhere he would be able to wash the plane after his flight.  But our son and I thought it was very cute that she was concerned about "his plane".  There was no point in trying to point out the error in her thinking, far better to just say that someone else was taking care of washing the plane so she could relax and stop worrying about it.

She and I had a lovely conversation about an imaginary sweater she thought was hanging on the wall of her hospital room, one with a long woolen thread hanging off the bottom, so a good discussion ensued about the best way to get that piece of wool re-threaded so that it would not unravel.  Mom was completely lucid for the discussion, other than the fact that there was no sweater and no thread. 

Right now my husband is over at the hospital just sitting with her, my son has gone out to do some shopping, and I am reflecting on the joys of working with the elderly and the wonderful chances I have had to understand their lapses of memory and the alternate realities they have to deal with sometimes.  A former client used to hallucinate in the night hours that there were fires burning around him.  Once I learned that the  best way to calm him and help him get back to sleep was to pretend he and I each had hoses to blast water on the flames and put them out, life became easier for us both.  He was able to go back to an untroubled sleep and it certainly didn't hurt me to just go along with him.

Before too many more years it may be my turn to enter the realm of alternate reality experienced by so many seniors. I hope and pray my family can just permit me to be where I am if I am experiencing any joy or peace in the midst of it.  I hope they don't mind pretending that what I am saying is just fine if it gives me peace and rest in my mind.

It is hell to get old, in so many ways.  I can only pray that I will find myself at that difficult to nearly impossible stage of life surrounded by those who understand and just let me find peace wherever my mind wanders.

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