Sunday, September 18, 2011

"I Want It Now!"

So we know that dementia leads to increased impatience and irritability. Yesterday Grandma used those characteristics to do a pretty impressive Veruca Salt impression.

"We don't have any ginger ale?"
"No, we ran out."
"I want ginger ale."
"We don't have any. Dad's bringing some by tomorrow."
"I don't want it tomorrow, I want it now!"

Luckily I was able to placate Veruca with some ginger iced tea.

Things Aunt Dee Has Stolen:
Remote Control

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Here's a disturbing new trend (aside from a resurgence of foil in the microwave), Grandma has gotten it into her head that she's having company.

"Am I having company?"
"No. No one is coming over."
"Isn't Andy coming over?"

This is her step-brother. He was always the life of the party, so I'd love to have him visit. The problem with that plan is that he passed away two years ago. I remind Grandma of this. But, she never admits to being wrong.

"Oh, it must have been Eddie that called. He's coming over. At 9 o'clock. Can you believe it? Who comes over then?"
"He lives in Texas. He's not coming over."

This has been going on for weeks, and she's said it three times in the past hour alone.

So I repeat, "No one is coming over. You keep saying that, but no one is coming."
"Well I didn't make it up! We'll see what happens at 9 o'clock!"
"You wanna bet?"
"Yeah! He called! I'll show you!"

And then she starts muttering and cursing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Head Trauma

I got Grandma to call Little Bro for his birthday. I hear him ask about me, "Is she giving you a hard time, Grandma?"
"Oh no, but if she does I'll hit her over the head with something!"

Probably with my own frying pan. Gulp.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Afternoon Delights

Grandma's having a pretty good afternoon! Aunt Dee was able to convince her to get her hair done, so she no longer looks like a Gremlin. We introduced her to some fancy new flavors from Dunkin Donuts, like apple pie and strawberry shortcake. My dad found something that might have put her afternoon over the top!

"You wanna watch Walker Texas Ranger?"
"Oh yeah!!!"

I haven't seen her that excited in weeks!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dog Days 2

Today when I came home, Grandma was at the door.
"I don't know where the dog is."
"She went home yesterday. Dad took her back."
"She didn't get out?"
"No, she is fine. She's with Dad."
"Oh. Ok."

I went back out to my car and ran into Grandma's friend Alice, who was talking to another neighbor, "Did you find the dog?"

Apparently Grandma had sent out a search party. So, little Puppy won Grandma over in her short time with us.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dog Days

Little Bro and I have a longstanding joke about Grandma and dogs. For a while, Little Bro's living situation was a bit tumultuous. He was debating moving to the city and asked if I'd be able to take his dog in that situation. His dog is a 65 pound all legs hound mix who still jumps up occasionally. I told Little Bro, "I don't think Grandma could handle him. Plus, she probably wouldn't remember where he came from. She'd probably shoo him out of the house going, 'I don't know whose dog this is!'" So now at any mention of Grandma and/or dogs we like to say, "Is this your dog?", "I don't know where this dog came from!", or "Whose dog is this?"

Cut to this week. Grandma and I are dogsitting for my dad. He has our beloved old family pet, Puppy (that's her in the photo). Puppy is a small pit bull. In her hey day she was a little tank of muscle. Her favorite activity was perching on the couch, looking out the front window, and barking at anyone or anything that dared to pass our house.

Now Puppy is about 14 or 15, and she and Grandma have a lot in common. Both are nonagenarians, arthritic, and hard of hearing. Puppy, however, has a much friendlier disposition. Grandma "just wants to be left alone," Puppy wants to follow you everywhere. While Grandma "just don't feel like eating," Puppy will eat whatever she can. Puppy happily ambles along while Grandma knocks into her with her walker muttering, "Get outta the way!"

And not even 10 minutes after my dad left, Grandma starts eying Puppy with suspicion. "Whose dog is that?"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Good Morning, Sunshine!

We all know that Grandma does not like to be woken up, and now her new aide is learning quickly, too!

She walked in this morning and Grandma was still lounging in bed, where she had stayed for the majority of the weekend.
"Good morning, how do you feel today?"
"I don't need you! Who sent you?"

Grandma also seems to be channeling Greta Garbo. "I just want to be left alone" is her new catchphrase.

Things Aunt Dee Steals:
A walker (that Grandma never actually had)
Stuff (You know, just in general. Grandma said she came and took "stuff")

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Development

I came home from the gym tonight to find Grandma watching a show about parkour. Maybe that's how she injured herself?

Big Day

Yesterday was a long day for Grandma, full of shenanigans.

I was away last week so my dad stayed over to keep an eye on her. Grandma's still limping, but now it's on her left side. We suspect that she was overcompensating from when she hurt the right side, and now she's pulled something on the left. Grandma, however, is sticking to her story that she swung on the gate and fell.

We took her to the doctor to get this checked out. I know she's hurting because she is actually using her cane. She has had the cane for nearly a year. Whenever I told her to use it she'd say, "I don't need it. I won't fall. I can just lean on the wall." She also keeps saying, "Oh golly!" and holding her back. Grandma is not one to complain, unless it is about someone using too much electricity.

So, Aunt Ellie and I take her to her doctor. The nurse practitioner reads her the riot act about how she doesn't eat enough and is messing up her medications. Grandma seems puzzled by this. "I lost that much weight? Oh, you're right. I need to eat more." When I tell her the same things? "Yeah, yeah, I know!"

The nurse has Grandma walk and thinks that nothing is broken because she can put weight on her feet. But, she and the doctor call in x-rays just to be sure. And here is maybe the highlight of our day. The doctor stops in to the examination room to say hello. Grandma starts giggling!
"Oh, hi Dr. R."
"How are you feeling?"
"Oh, my back is bothering me." (I think she's blushing!)
"You need to eat more, you're wasting away!"
"Oh, yeah, you're right." (more giggles!)

I think Grandma has a crush on her doctor! She doesn't giggle when I tell her to eat! Her response to me and my dad is usually along the lines of rolling her eyes or, "I don't like people telling me what to do!" If she's feeling extra feisty she might try to kick us. Definitely no giggles.

The x-ray results are supposed to be called into Dr. R. this afternoon and then he is going to call us. I hope he calls personally so I can watch Grandma blush and giggle some more.

Things Aunt Dee has Stolen:
Fitted sheets. All of them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

Grandma's been on her sleeping all day kick again. The other day I was talking to Aunt Dee around noon.
"What's Grandma up to?"
"She's still sleeping."
"No! You gotta get her up. Go wake her up. Or make a lot of noise. She needs to eat something and take her pills."

So, I go to wake her up. "Grandma, it's noon. You need to get up." How do you think she responded? Oh, I had no idea it was so late? You should have woken me up before? Nope. Not Grandma.

Actual response, "Get out of here before I hit you!"

I don't like being woken up either.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Watch the Landing

The other day Grandma developed a limp. She says that her right hip is bothering her. I first noticed this when she was heading to bed. She had no recollection of what happened, I didn't see anything happen, and there is no bruising. My guess is that she pulled something.

However, her story keeps changing. First she said that she was going down the front steps and fell at the bottom and landed on her hip. The next day she said she was going down the front steps and lost her balance. She grabbed the fence to steady herself, but it was unlatched, so she swung forward on the fence, then it swung back and she fell on the steps. This is physically impossible with the way the fence latches, but I do like how her story is getting more outlandish. I'm hoping that over the next few days it will expand to include a back flip where she just couldn't stick the landing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Body Snatcher?

During the recent heat wave I was sitting in the living room with Grandma for a little bit before heading out. I'd convinced her that the air conditioner was necessary because it was nearly 100 degrees out. She sat in her usual spot and said, "Why don't you turn the light on over there?"
"I'm fine. I'm going out in a couple of minutes."
"Put the light on."
"It's fine. I'm leaving soon."

(Muttering to herself and shuffling over to the lamp)"I don't want to sit in the dark. I'll turn it on myself."

Grandma is allowing the air conditioner and two light bulbs to be on? At the same time???
Who is this woman with such blatant disregard for the Con Edison bill? I kinda like her.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

That's a Wrap

My dad brought over some McDonald's, including a snack wrap. Grandma has been eying it with suspicion since.

"What's this?"
"A chicken sandwich."
"Chicken? But it's all wrapped up. I never saw such a thing!"

Multiply this conversation by five.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back in Action

I haven't had much to post lately because Grandma went through an extended bout of "I'm so weak" and was basically sleeping non-stop for 2-3 weeks. But, by forcing her to take her thyroid medication, she seems to have bounced back and is up to her usual shenanigans.

Here are a couple of examples.

I spent some time dogsitting for a friend and was staying at that apartment. It wasn't too far from home, so I'd stop by the house to check on Grandma most days.

"Ok, Grandma, I'm going back to dogsit."
"I'm going dogsitting."
"I can't hear you."
"I'm Going Dogsitting."
"I didn't make that out."
"You're talking too loud. I can't understand you."

The other day I went out with a friend for Indian food. I brought home leftovers of chicken tikka in an arugula salad. Usually if I have food I want to keep to myself, I hide it in one of the refrigerator drawers. This time I left it on the shelves. Grandma looks at any lettuce beyond iceberg with suspicion and I thought the coral spicing on the chicken would totally signal this as something too ethnic for her. Wrong! About an hour later I spot a plastic lid with a scrap of arugula on the counter.
"Did you eat my salad?"
"My leftover salad in the refrigerator, did you eat it?"
"No, I didn't eat anything."
"Well where is it? I left it in the refrigerator and now it's gone."
"It's must have been your father. He's been hanging around."
"I brought it home an hour ago. He hasn't been here. You're the only other one here."
"Well, I don't recall eating it. It must have been your father."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trash Talk

Could I have just one day where we don't have to discuss the garbage or recycling pick-ups?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Little Bro's Bake Shop

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope all Catholics brought out their best shark tooth chains for the holiday!

Grandma had another bout of "Woe is me, I'm so weak..." over the weekend, but she seems to have snapped out of it. Tonight I got her to eat a chicken salad sandwich and some of Little Bro's banana bread.

"Do you want to try the banana bread? It's from Little Bro."
"Where'd he get it?"
"He made it."
"He made it? He likes cooking? Oh, that's wonderful. He must not have anything to do, so he took up cooking."
"Is it good?"
"Oh, yeah. Isn't it nice he took up baking."
"Tell him to make you some more! Call him and place an order."

This sets her into a fit of giggles. "Good idea!"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wake Up Call

This morning my phone woke me up. I checked the time, 6:39am. It's Grandma. In the other room.

"Someone needs to come pick me up!" (Again, I am just two rooms away from her).
"Why are you up so early?"
"What? It's nighttime. I have a doctor's appointment! Someone needs to take me!"
"It's Sunday, and it's 6:30 in the morning. Your appointment is tomorrow."
"It's Sunday and it's morning. Go back to bed."
"Oh. Well. I don't know what I was thinking then. Isn't that funny. Sorry to bother you."

It turns out Grandma had a busy morning. She called Aunt Ellie with the same questions at 6:15am. And then called her again 20 minutes later. And then called me. She does have an appointment tomorrow with her neurologist. So I guess it's good that she remembered that? We'll certainly have a lot to talk about with him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm Lovin' It!

Lately Grandma has been extra lackadaisical. She'll go through 3-4 day stretches where she barely gets out of bed. I try to get her moving or at least make sure she eats something.

"Grandma, are you gonna get up?"
"I just don't feel well. I feel very weak."
"Well, you need to eat something. You don't eat enough, that's why you feel weak. Do you want some toast?"
"I just don't have the appetite."
"What about some soup? Or tea?"
"No, I just feel like I'm gonna throw up."
"Do you want some McDonald's?"
"Oh, that could be nice..."

And this is how I know there is nothing seriously wrong with her. If she had a true stomach ailment McDonald's would be the last thing she wanted to eat. But she just can't resist it! She loves that salty food and will eat it at anytime of day or night.

After one bout of this self-imposed bed rest, Grandma actually stumbled out of her room. I was on the phone with my dad and said, "Oh look, Lazybones finally got out of bed!" Freshness is a surefire way to perk up Grandma's energy.
"Don't be fresh!"
"What, it's three o'clock and you've been in bed for days. You are a lazybones."
"I'm gonna come over there and smack you! Oh, but, I'm too weak. I just don't have the energy."

A few more Happy Meals and she'll be back in smacking shape in no time.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Zac Attack

I was sitting at the table flipping through the current issue of People. It includes a two page spread of Zac Efron pictures, most of which feature him shirtless (Side note, thank you People!). Grandma catches sight of this and goes, "Oooh, nice man." Then she continues, "He must be a Catholic."


"He's wearing a chain."


"Most Catholics wear chains. He must be Catholic." (I'm Catholic, this is news to me. I better go get some chains).

Grandma examines the magazine (or Zac's abs?) and is convinced. "Yup. The chain's in all the pictures. He's a Catholic." She gives a firm nod to rest her case.

Look closely though. Zac's necklace is not a cross, it's a shark tooth! Either Grandma's eyesight is going or she has a very skewed understanding of Catholicism.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dang Quesadilla

Tonight I made myself a quesadilla for dinner. Obviously this falls smack dab into "Never heard of it!" territory.

"What's that?"
"A quesadilla. It's cheese and tortillas."

All these "illas" are way too ethnic for Grandma. But, she does love her some cheese, so she is holding back on her "Never heard of it!" pronouncement. Anything with cheese is definitely worth hearing of! I've been making sure to always have a block of cheddar in the house because cheese and crackers is probably the one thing I can rely on Grandma eating regularly and not forgetting about. She continues eyeing the mysterious quesadilla as I cut it and start to eat. "What is that, some kind of pancake?"

"Sure, kind of."

Grandma already made chicken noodle soup for herself, so I eat in the living room. When I come back to the kitchen, there is Grandma, hovering at the microwave and making her own little grilled cheese, no doubt inspired by the dang quesadilla!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ok, Friendo?

When I left this afternoon Grandma was watching "No Country for Old Men." She's always liked action movies like "Die Hard." Of course Harrison Ford is her favorite actor, and she even went through a Jean Claude Van Damme phase. Still, even with her penchant for rough and tough movies, I don't know if she is ready for the brutality of Anton Chigurh.

(True story, I knew this movie would terrify me, so the first time I watched it I made sure my apartment was bolted and that no one was hiding in my bathroom or closet before I put on the DVD. Crazy, I know, but as I watched the movie I was very happy to be certain there were no psychotic killers lurking in my tiny studio).

I'm sure that basic cable cleaned up a lot of the movie, but I wonder what Grandma thought of it.

"How was the movie you watched this afternoon?"

"Gee, I forgot what it was."

And maybe that is for the best, friendo.

Aunt Dee's Recent Thefts:
Plastic rain kerchief (Obviously Aunt Dee had to be prepared for the torrential rains)
McDonald's Gift Certificates (A gift from Aunt Dee)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Waiting by the Phone

Grandma's sense of time has gotten even worse and now she seems to be ever more confused. I made her a nice, color chart of the pills she needs to take in a day, including pictures of all of them and special directions like which ones should be taken with food. Even with the visual reminder, she is still taking barely half of her prescriptions.

Today she had a doctor's appointment, so I reminded her last night to at least attempt getting the info into her brain. "Oh, no. I can't go. I have company coming tomorrow! Two of the girls I grew up with are coming to visit. I can't miss them!"


"Julia and Helen, they lived at #8 and I lived at #12 and they're coming over at 10am. I can't go to the doctor and miss them."

I'm a little skeptical of this plan and Aunt Dee is too. We wonder where she came up with this and if these two women are even still alive. On the bright side, as we guessed, Grandma forgot about her friends by morning and let Aunt Ellie take her to her doctor's appointment as planned. (Even though she has no recollection of going out. An hour after Aunt Ellie brought her home she called her back, "Do I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow?")

But, Julia and Helen are stuck in her brain now. At 5:30pm, "Where are they? They were supposed to be here 3 hours ago. You think they'd call."

At 8:40pm, "They called and were supposed to be here a half an hour ago. I don't know what's taking so long." (Nobody called).

It's kind of heartbreaking how she's so excited for this visit from her old friends and it's not going to happen. I try to soften the blow. "It's pouring out and they said the roads are flooded. They'll probably call tomorrow and arrange to come on a day with nicer weather."

"Yeah, that's a good idea. I'm going to bed then."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Fought the Law

Grandma is getting extra feisty again! She came into my room the other night with one of her favorite complaints, "I opened the door and the hallway light is on!"

Here we go again. Frankly, this is one of the most annoying things to deal with, Grandma and her proud membership in the Con Ed Light Bulb Police Squad. She refuses to have more than one light on at a time. If you have the gall to put on two lamps, "Why are all these lights on? You're not reading, you don't need all these lights. You wouldn't want to see my Con Edison bill!"

The tenants are serious offenders in this battle. There is no outdoor light. They have the nerve to leave on the hall light until the husband gets home from work. Can you imagine?? Leaving a single light bulb on? When it's dark? For two or three hours?

So, Grandma is launching into her familiar tirade, and I am just not in the mood for it.

"They left the light on!"
"So? It's dark out."
"Why is the light on?"
"Because no one wants to come home in the dark."
"He can turn it on when he opens the door!"
"It's just one light bulb."
"They don't pay my Con Edison bill! You should see it. Aunt Dee asked why it was so much!"
"No, she didn't. Light bulbs don't drive up the bill. It's things like appliances and the heat."
"It's a 100 watt light bulb!"

This could go on forever. As we know, Grandma does not admit to being wrong and will say anything to get the last word if she's wound up. I'm just trying to read and besides that, I am with the tenants on this one. I say turn on all the lights! (Which would be a total of maybe 8 for our whole apartment?) My reply is, "So turn it off or get over it! What is there to talk about?"

Oh, Grandma is not happy with this display of freshness! She stomps off muttering to herself, "I don't need to listen to this sh-t! Turn off the lights or get your own house!" I'm not sure if that last bit is directed at me or the tenants. Ha!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Teen Angst

Aunt Dee and I often talk about how Grandma seems to have relapsed and dealing with her is frequently like dealing with a child or a grouchy adolescent.

The other day Grandma draped herself in the doorway of my room and goes, "What time is Aunt Dee coming? 3 o'clock?"

This is the first I've heard of this plan, so I say, "What?"

"Aunt Dee comes every Saturday to take me out for pizza and to get my hair done."

It's a simple statement, but Grandma's body language is priceless here. She's rolling her eyes, shaking her head, and showing a solid amount of attitude for a 91 year old. I can tell that her inner monologue is something along the lines of, "Isn't that sooooooo lame??? Pizza's ok, I guess, but why would I want to get my hair done? I could spend the afternoon sleeping and watching Harrison Ford movies and she wants me to get my hair done? Totally, totally lame!"

This was a pretty funny display of swagger from Grandma, except for the fact that it was actually a Sunday and Aunt Dee was out of town.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I'm on vacation this week, so I get to catch up with daytime TV. I watched The Nate Berkus Show the other day and contemplated writing to Nate to get our house made over. Grandma's decor is firmly entrenched in the 1970s. We have pictures of me in her house as a baby and everything is exactly the same!

Wood paneling? Check.
Lots of mustard yellow? Check.
Oversized flower wallpaper? Check.

The kitchen

We are definitely in need of some serious redecorating. But, then I remembered Grandma doesn't do so well with change. She can't even remember where a single item like my frying pan came from. She keeps trying to get rid of her Christmas presents ("I don't know where these pants came from! They're not mine!"). A whole new set of furniture would totally through her off! I wouldn't be surprised if she thought she'd wandered into the wrong house somehow. Then she'd go out to the porch to check the number on the door. "This is my house, but I don't know whose furniture this is. I don't know where it all came from! Aunt Dee must have stolen my furniture and left this!"

I guess my dreams of redecorating will have to be put on hold.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grandma and the Grammy's

Today my friend Jon sent me an email about Arcade Fire's surprise Grammy win and the chorus of people who've responded, "Who are The Arcade Fire?" His first line was, "I think your grandma's a trendsetter!"

And clearly she is! The aftermath of the Grammy's has left a lot of people saying, "Arcade Fire? Never heard of them!" If Grandma watched the Grammy's she would certainly be in that number. I think she'd also have a comment about how she never saw such haircuts.

The article, in New York magazine, is a really thoughtful analysis of taste and communities and how the internet can build both connections and insularity. This paragraph really stood out for me.

"'Never heard of it': This has been the natural and traditional response of all sorts of ordinary American humans to all sorts of phenomena. It’s not really about knowledge or information. It’s an argument, for the most part, and a faintly aggressive one — a way of insisting that what you pay attention to really does define the world. What you’ve heard of is real, and everything else is marginal. The center holds, and you are that center. You are normal and aware, and not just some tiny atomized entity that can only hope to know one tiny corner of the universe."

I wonder if Grandma's frequent bursts of "Never heard of that!" and its sibling, "I never saw such a thing!" are an attempt to cope with her dementia. Maybe she prefers the assertive "Never heard of it!" to the vulnerability of "Oh, I must have forgotten." As the author suggests, maybe she is defining the world and putting herself in the center, even as the dementia is making her world smaller by the day. She is concerned with the garbage pick-up, if her church is being closed to widen the street, what Aunt Dee has stolen lately, and that she lost 18 pounds. Her brain has fixed on these topics and can't really process anything beyond that. If she can write off my over-the-knee boots, tofu, and "giant" frying pan with a dismissive "Never heard of it!" then I am the weird one and she does not need to acknowledge her diminishing awareness of the world at large.

It's hard to say if Grandma is really aware of her condition. She refuses to admit that she is ever wrong or less independent than she used to be. Her doctor wants her to use a cane. "I don't need it." She refused to wear the Life Alert Aunt Dee bought her, "I won't fall." Even when I've caught her losing or forgetting something she'll say, "I'm not senile, you know." I can't tell if "Never heard of it!" is a defense mechanism or simply a sign of the generational divide.

But, Arcade Fire? They're awesome.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Never Heard of It! Volume 6

Until five or six years ago, Grandma still had her car and was able to go out into the world as she pleased. However, with all the things she's never heard of, you'd think she was some kind of Rip Van Winkle abruptly tossed into the 21st century.

Here's the latest round of things she's never heard of:

Grape tomatoes - although they are quickly becoming a favorite snack for her.

Italian Wedding soup - I'm trying to widen her soup repertoire, but this can has been rejected and sits forlornly on the shelf. The only time Grandma pays any attention to it is to say, "Italian wedding soup? Never heard of it!"

Whole grain bread - I bought a loaf at the bakery full of sunflower seeds and other goodness. Grandma was suspicious because it wasn't sliced. "I usually buy sliced bread. It's got seeds? Never heard of it!" After the loaf was gone, with Grandma eating at least 2/3 of it, "We need more bread. Get white bread this time. I didn't care for that last one." What? Then why'd you eat all my bread?! Freshie.

Double wrappings of bread - When Grandma opened the new bag of bread, she found it wrapped inside as well. "A wrapping inside? Never heard of that!"

The Wicked shade of nail polish - I was sitting at the kitchen table touching up my favorite winter shade - Wicked by Essie. "What color is that?"
"Never heard of that!"
"Don't I look like an evil queen with it?" (Which is exactly why I love to wear it so much. It makes me want to drum my nails as if I'm pondering the intricate details of some nefarious plot).
"Well, it sure is dark. I never saw such a color!"

Don't think that all the bad weather has kept Aunt Dee from making her rounds of thieving!

Things Aunt Dee Steals:
Weekly Pill Box

Grandma's medications have been her focus lately. She's been messing up her doses or forgetting them all together. I find untaken pills all over the house. Even with the weekly pill organizer Grandma wouldn't take the proper amounts on the proper days. So, at Aunt Dee and my dad's suggestion, I've hidden the pills and the pill box. I leave out her day's doses in the morning before I go to work, but even this is getting confusing to Grandma. With her vitamins and supplements, she takes nearly a dozen things a day and frequently doesn't finish everything. So, then she finds the leftover pills and the new set and various combinations in between and doesn't know what she's taken or not. She insists that the problem is that Aunt Dee took her pill box, so I let Aunt Dee take the fall.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pest Control by Grandma

Grandma has a bad habit of leaving food out. She eats half a banana with her cereal every morning and leaves the other half on the counter until the next day. She saves the ends of bread loaves to feed the birds and leaves that out for days. Aunt Dee and I have tried to cure her of this habit, but Grandma is not having it.

"Put that banana away, you're gonna get bugs."

"No, I won't. I put it up high so the bugs can't get it."

I don't even know where to go with this. Has she never seen a bug with wings? Has she not witnessed the amazing crawling abilities of ants? I take a new tactic.

"What about mice? You can't leave food out or you'll get mice."

"So, I'll put it on the stove. It's too hot for mice over there."

Again, speechless.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gossip with Grandma

Grandma loves her tabloids! The other day she was reading one of the gossip pages in the Daily News and loving it! She found Charlie Sheen's latest drama to be hilarious. She was giggling so hard she could barely speak.

"Listen to this! 'Sheen had an epic bender in Las Vegas over the weekend, drinking and partying with three porn stars.' Ha! Can you imagine? That is hot stuff."

She continued, recounting this gem from the fall, "'Sheen's binge with adult film actress Capri Anderson' - never heard of her - 'ended when police hauled him to the hospital.' Isn't that something, ha!"

The paper also featured a quote from Vanilla Ice about his break-up with Madonna in 1992. In this almost 20 year old break up Grandma is solidly on Team Ice. "Oh, she must be some kind of jerk, Madonna. He's a good looking guy, too."

Apparently Grandma loves the bad boys!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Aren't You Fresh?!

Aunt Dee and I often talk about how with Grandma's dementia it's like we've switched places; she's the child while we have to act like her parents. Conditions of dementia include being impulsive, illogical, and irritable. Grandma's favorite things to eat are cheeseburgers, pizza, and donuts. She sleeps at least 12 hours a day and always has the TV on. In other words, she is often like a surly teenager.

Grandma's appetite has been kind of off lately and she weighed in at just 100 pounds at her doctor's appointment. We think she's been forgetting to eat again. Since New Years she's been looking a little peaked and complaining of feeling weak and nauseous. Most of the time she's refused to eat anything more than tea and toast (which I think is the real reason she feels weak, but moving on...). Yesterday I left the house around 5:00pm, so I tried to remind her of dinner.

"I'm going out, Grandma, don't forget to make your dinner."
"There's a slice of pizza and TV dinners and soup."
"So you have plenty to eat."
"Jeez, Jammie, I'm not going to starve." She is actually rolling her eyes at me!
And now I have to utter a classic Grandma line, "Don't be fresh!"

She starts cracking up! She is so pleased with her fresh self! She even tries to swat at me for added emphasis.

It's nice to see some of her old spunk back.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Where Are Your Slippers?" UPDATE

Grandma is loving her new slippers! She got at least three pairs for Christmas, but these are her favorites by far! When she opened them she exclaimed, "Oh, aren't they cute?" She's been wearing them every day since.

After Christmas I asked her how she liked them. She replied, "Aren't they something?! Look at that lining! It goes all the way down, not just around the ankle."

Many thanks to Katie C. and the shipping mishaps at Restoration Hardware!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Breaking News

Unfortunately, Grandma seems to be in worse and worse shape these days. For example, take this conversation we had today.

"How come I don't get the Herald Statesman any more? I bet Aunt Dee didn't pay the bill! I used to get it every day and it hasn't been coming. I can pay my own bills. I paid them on time at least."

Aunt Dee is off the hook this time. The Herald Statesman has not existed for nearly 15 years.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Research

For all of those with relatives who have Alzheimer's and dementia, this article was really interesting and had many practical tips for caregivers.

This one really stood out for me:

"A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that brightening lights in dementia facilities decreased depression, cognitive deterioration and loss of functional abilities. Increased light bolsters circadian rhythms and helps patients see better so they can be more active, said Elizabeth C. Brawley, a dementia care design expert not involved in the study, adding, 'If I could change one thing in these places it would be the lighting.' "

Oh, Journal of the American Medical Association. I am sure your study was sound and your science solid. But how do I apply this knowledge to Grandma, a proud and intrepid member of the Con Ed Light Bulb Police Squad?