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Something up my..sleeve

SurpriseDear Diary,

Nothing like a good surprise now and again, to shake things up. Life can be so droll and predictable when you live at Happy Daze Assisted Living. I know Ruth’s routine on the Dementia floor (ROAM) by heart. Today she’ll get up. Get “thrown” in the shower (her words) and dress. Ruth getting dressing is really the most happenstance part of her day. If she awakens feeling her inner Madonna, I will bet you that I’m going to see her dressed in a green striped tank layered nicely over her cotton turtleneck sweater and a pair of Capri’s over her knit pajama pants “leggings”. I have no problem with Ruth expressing herself through fashion. She has always been on the cutting edge. An interesting observation on this subject..Most of the girls on the ROAM floor are very bold when it comes to taking chances with their wardrobes. I see a lot of different fabrications used in unusual ways. Have you ever thought that a terry cloth hand towel wrapped elegantly around ones neck could serve as a shawl? It can.

Ruth drinks her prune juice, demolishes a bowl of Raisin Bran, maybe an egg or two or three depending on the time lapse from the start of breakfast to egg service (anything over 15 min. and it’s as if it never happened). To complete the meal she has her daily banana from her secret stash (nothing wrong with clipping a few of those from the downstairs free fruit and cookies area) and begins her somewhat predictable day.  Until I show up.

Today Ruth asked me specifically to write a note to Happy Daze excusing her from exercise/Happy Hands class because she has a sore “bird finger” and there is no way she will be able to perform all necessary elements in “Happy Hands”. She is emphatic about the fact that when it comes to finger circles and thrusts she experiences huge “finger fatigue” and is quite unable to point her bird finger in the necessary direction. I’m totally fine with this because I have much better plans anyway that I’ve been keeping secret. Today Ruth is going downstairs to meet up with an old girlfriend that she hasn’t seen for a year..Which on Ruth time might as well be a millennium. Before we go, I’ll need to go through my prepping procedure. This is how it works:

1.    Take Ruth to her room and change her out of Madonna Hooch look into Martha Stewart Prudish Gardener chic.
2.    Repeat name of visitor.
3.    Repeat name of visitor
4.    Repeat name of visitor
5.    Re-apply Lipstick
6.    Repeat name of visitor
7.    Visit little girls room
8.    Repeat name of visitor

Ruth at this point is so surprised that she has company downstairs and beside herself with excitement. Before we even GET in the elevator to go down to meet, “what’s her name again?” Ruth is ready for a nap. This is why I don’t tell her anything before hand. Ugh. I have had to learn the hard way so I’m going to spare YOU My Sandwich Generation sister’s. Never tell your seniors (Alzheimer’s or no Alzheimer’s) about any upcoming event. They will obsess about it for days. They will ask you e-v-e-r-y single hour for the twenty-four leading up to the big DAY, “Is it time to go yet? What will I wear? What will I say? How will I walk to her home in my UGGS?”

RUTH: How will I walk to her home in my UGGS?

ME: We’re NOT going to walk to her home. Dee Dee is coming HERE. We’re going to meet her in the “free bananas and cookies” room.

RUTH: OHHHHHH. Is Dee Dee’s husband coming too? Let’s see..his name was Joey.

ME (all excited and giddy that spouses name was remembered): No. I don’t think he’s coming. Dee didn’t mention he was. Maybe you’d better not say anything about him..we don’t know. Things HAAAAPPEN. Ya know..THINGS.

RUTH: Do you think he’s dead?

ME: Who knows. I didn’t ASK. Don’t YOU ask.

RUTH: Oh no. I would never ask such a thing. What did you say her name is?

Down we go and it’s SHOWTIME

RUTH (giving hugs and big kisses): “Hi—? (looks at me for hint)

ME (singing softly): A, B, C..

RUTH: Dee! DEE..How’s your husband? Where is he? (Looking around wildly)

Blech! Feh! GA!

She had a great time with her gal pal. Forty minutes in and I decided to call the game because Ruth was showing signs of wear and tear.

“I’m ninety-two years old NOT eighty-two. I know it because Selma and I were talking about it and she said SHE was ninety-two and I said I am too and she agreed. So I’M. NINETY. TWO.”

O.K. be ninety-two Ruth. In fact be one hundred and two. We’re out of here PRONTO.

The elevator ride is a great time for the “wrap up” I find. Ruth says she had a great time with Dee Dee and Joey. What a great surprise. Good. That’s all that matters. That and getting Ruth into her room before the melt down begins.

Good thing I entered her room first. Surprise! An industrial strength fifty pound, 30×30 FAN is sitting right in the middle of her floor. Nice going, facility maintenance, dudes. Because you wouldn’t want Ruth to slip on the wet carpet, thus splitting her head open. Better to leave the fan in her room knowing she has ZERO vision so she could TRIP over it. Yup! Never a dull nano second over at the “happiest place on earth.” Oh Happy Daze are here again.

Unpredictably yours,


Posted in Uncategorized 14 years ago at 10:28 pm.

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