On my weekly visits with my mom I’m never sure what I’m going to get. It is never anything bad, just varying degrees of awareness. Sometimes shes (trying) to play bingo, having a snack with the larger group, or enjoying the live music/sing alongs the facility arranges. Sometimes, like today, she’s napping in a recliner; these are the days I don’t expect much in the way of a conversation. Usually when she’s napping in the recliner she can be hard to roust, and when I do I don’t thinks she’s really awake because her comments don’t fully make sense or seem to only partially relate to what I’m saying or she appears to forget what I said two seconds ago; like her brain resets (think Ten Second Tom from ’50 First Dates’).
So, today she was in the recliner and I was expecting the usual but…
“Mama?” I said as I nudged her shoulder.
She awoke surprisingly fast and with her characteristic smile said, “Oh…there you are! Hi!”
“Hi, I brought you some fresh flowers.”
“Oh, well isn’t that nice; they’re lovely.” She replied grinning from ear to ear.
“Yep; I picked these because there was a rose right there in the middle, and I know how much you love roses.”
“Yep. That’s true, I do. Oh, is that your doggie? How is he?”
“He’s HOT, it’s been over 100 all week this week.”
“Oh gee, that is hot.”
“Yeah, and it doesn’t help that he’s got all that fur.”
<giggle> “No, I guess you’re right about that.”
“Well, I’m going to put these in some water in your room to brighten it up a bit.”
“Oh, ok…maybe we should put them where they’ll get some sunlight too.” What did she say?! To those unfamiliar with dementia and Alzheimer’s her statement might seem a minor thing but, at least to me, it was huge. The level of awareness and engagement was unexpected and really felt like we were talking.
Small step? I’ll take it.