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BASKET CASE

Ruth Folding My LaundryDear Diary,

I don’t know what possessed me. Usually I’m very careful to make sure that before my Mother-in-law comes within twenty feet of our house— the place has been properly fumigated, sterilized and every last bit of debris disposed of or at least hidden well from the “prying” eyes of Ruth (club dementia). Being the procrastinator that I am.. I tend to put off  “Operation SH- Hovel” until the last possible second. Upon MIL’s impending arrival I hastily cram anything left over into an inconspicuous plastic storage bin PERMA-marked in GIGANTIC letters “Stay-Free Maxi Pads”. It had to say something that would dissuade one as overly curious as Granny from further inquiry into drawer contents. Pretty much what I’m banking on is that she will recognize the words “Pads” and think they’re DEPENDS..no thrill there.

I question the judiciousness of my actions NOW..but at the time I thought it was a fab idea to take Ruth up on HER offer to come over and help me with “any chores around the house”. I just take a moment here to fill you in on the fact that Ruth l-o-v-e-s to help. Take for instance the time that Frank did I face plant from his walker over on ROAM (Alzheimer’s floor). As the story goes 6’2 tall Frank (190 Lbs) was cruising down the hallway at warp speed when he leaned a little too much to the right and..POW. The next thing you know our good ole boy was kissing the ground at Ruth’s feet UGGS. What does she do? Why— what any good Samaritan worth their salt would do. Feeling that it was nothing she couldn’t handle ALONE.. she began trying to hoist him up by his belt..

Puuullllinnnnggg..ughhhhhhh. Tuuuggggggging..arghhhhhh.

Wouldn’t budge.

Poor Frank was going to suffer MORE before this rescue was complete.

Finally..the Happy Days Assisted staff “stumbled” upon them when they heard poor Franks calls out for help. Seems that Ruth, unsuccessful at her attempts in belt pulling switched to “other” methodologies. The guy couldn’t walk for a week..and NOT because of “back” soreness.

Ruth is always asking me if she can help ME out in anyway. When she lived with us I always felt it was important for her to participate in tasks so as to feel that she was a needed and contributing member of our family. With dementia, it’s important to find activities that meet the following criteria:

Easy
Dull (no cutlery polishing please)
Stain-resistant
Inexpensive
Redo-able
Seated (to avoid walking while engaged in “job” hence tripping over unseen LEGOS on floor)

Keep in mind that this list is a loose compilation and may not work for everyone i.e. anal-retentive. Please let’s NOT get me started on THAT issue..again.

My children felt that THEY had much more appropriate chores for granny to do than the ones I had issued. AlienDude and SmartAlec “employed” granny to play “NERF PELLET” pick up. A little like the game 52 Card Pick-up..or that’s what they told her. They’d fire off a few rounds of NERF ammo at each other and then have their adoring devoted GRANDMOTHER run around and gather them all up. Tried the same stunt with the LEGOS all over the toy room floor..until their highly suspicious Mother stumbled upon their NERF ammo stacked neatly in the refrigerator and knew just who to scold.

Given the guidelines..the ideal job for Ruth is LAUNDRY FOLDING..maybe some vacuuming– but that’s a well-supervised task that requires proper accessories (ear-plugs) a cord holding assistant and no furniture whatsoever in the vicinity.. so that was a problem.

This time..banking on the fact that her eyesight is virtually nonexistent (except when an adorable Dude is spotted..hence AHBAD) it wouldn’t be necessary to put Operation Sh- Hovel into effect. I could bring Ruth over to our place without any prep work  to “help” with the laundry thus accomplishing three things..

Ruth feeling needed

Ruth getting out of Happy Daze

Ruth making a dent in five-foot high laundry pile

Even as I write this I am slapping myself upside the head.

I have Ruth seated in “her” comfy chair and I go to retrieve the basket from the..hallway. Ummm. I had NO choice. I had to. It filled up the entire laundry room and was spilling into the kitchen. Plus, I thought if I moved it into the hall “someone” would get the HINT. “Someone” used it as a recliner to watch SPONGE BOB on the living room TV. “SOMEONE” else laid his damp towels across the top so “they would dry.”

No. Such. Luck.

I drag in the basket part of the way..empty out a good 1/3 and continue on. Picking it up and carrying it to granny. Unfortunately when I dropped it down..it landed on her foot. Nothing like a sixty pound, full up, laundry basket landing on your foot to illicit a yelp of pain. OOPS.

“HOW many Y-E-A-R-S have you been saving up for ME? Adrienne..how could you let it go this long? Give me the phone. We need to call Marnie and tell HER to get her scooter over here and help..NOW.”

Unbelievable. When did she decide to become COGNIZENT? In the car ride over here?

She wants me to call my GRANDMOTHER (electric scooter girl). I’m not calling Marnie..that’s like sticking my own neck into the noose. Granny Marnie will have it advertised all over KillJoy Inc. and beyond.. in under an hour guaranteed. I’ll never be able to walk into her place without all the old girls sniggering at me and pointing..

(Pointing) “There goes the girl who made her poor MIL and granny do six hours of laundry. Can you imagine Fran? I ask you..What kind of PERSON neglects her laundry like that? I’ll TELL you what kind—it’s elder abuse.”

Honestly. I only had Ruth work on it for thirty minutes tops. I kept sneaking out armfuls and throwing it in the back bedroom because I couldn’t stop the trash talking to save MY LIFE:

RUTH: I have n-e-v-e-r. In MY day we did OUR laundry. What do you DO all day? Sit around and read OPRAH (should have hid that magazine)..

ME: Well did you see the bathroom? The bathroom’s clean.

RUTH: How can I see the bathroom when I can’t get up?

I told Ruth we’re done and she looks at me and says all snarky like..”WE’RE? I should get paid for this..next time.”

Ruth..I want you to forget this EVER happened..OK? OK? feh…feh.feh.feh.

MSG BFF’s.. Sometimes you just can’t do it all. Then it boils down to a coin toss..pure and simple. It’s important to involve your senior family members in your home life activities and to make them feel needed. Maybe you might consider doing a FEW of the dishes in the sink prior to their arrival, but other than that, the few harsh words you may have hurled your way are NOTHING compared to their gains of feeling needed and useful in your life..and theirs.

I fold.

A

Copyright © 2009 My Sandwich Generation. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized 8 years ago at 11:22 pm.

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