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Sleeping at 10:30 am after pulling an all nighter.

Dear Diary,

Something is not quite right over at Happy Daze Assisted Living. It’s just to drat silent and I’m starting to be unnerved by the strains of NOTHING filling the air up on ROAM (dementia floor). I walk through the faux bookcase and not ONE person is perched behind the door for me to smash. There is ALWAYS an escapee waiting patiently for some unsuspecting UPS dude to walk onto ROAM.. clueless that it’s an Alzheimer’s floor. Ga. They are so polite in holding the door open for any con (Shirley..But I’m not pointing fingers) to politely nod and pretend to be fully functioning. Then hastily dash out towards the elevators and try to ascertain which button is down.

Not. Today.

There is no one hunched over in the hallway pointing at my butt and shouting “maybe you should do our exercise class.” Or people sitting on the bench across from the fish tank asking every passer by, “When’s the bus ride? Are YOU taking us on a bus ride?” Wait. What’s this? It looks like one of the mean girls JoJo and her pissy posse..Marie, Marie L. and Greta 2.. all chillin’ around the service elevator door.

“Hi girls. Sup?”

JOJO: Hi sweetheart (leaning in for a kiss). Well..are you looking for your MIL? She’s on the couch sound asleep.

ME: (trying my best to avoid kiss because of overwhelming Adidas Fruity Rhythm perfume application that will adhere to me like wax to an eyebrow hair.) It’s 10:30.. what were you doing all night?

I swear I caught Marie give Marie L. a look like.. “Shut up and say N-O-T-H-I-N-G. She’ll squeal and we’ll be forced to beat her up with our walkers.”

GRETA 2: We heard through the grapevine..that your Ruth was up all night giving guided tours of other residents’ bedrooms.

ME: Was it by appointment or was she just going in un-announced?

JOJO: You know I’m not allowed to answer that. It breaks the code. But, if you want to text me..

ME: Forget the texting Jo. Let’s go primitive and I’ll CALL you from Ruth’s room. Will you spill then?

I went over to Ruth’s room to call up Jo and the line was busy. No doubt the whole FLOOR was in on a conference call. Time to go direct.

Usually at this time of the morning there is an exciting stretching class going on. Ruth loves the class because they always serve some nice refreshments..muffins, cinnamon rolls or some other such nourishing fare to fuel a body that is burning through fat storages like nobody’s business. One hand holding a Maple bar.. the other doing wrist circles. Noooo WONDER my MIL’s last season knit pants are now being used as compression hose. This morning I do not hear the all too familiar strains of Frank Sinatra singing “Luck be a lady” and I sure as heck DON’T hear the workout CD I put together..which is SO much better. Really. If you want to get the old heart rate up may I suggest Madonna, Lady Gaga, LL Cool J—Hearing THAT..I can almost forget where I am (like the rest of them).

As I rounded the corner into the dining room..I found myself gazing into the eyes of no less then twenty-two residents doing..ABSOLUTLY NOTHING. Yup. You heard correctly. Sitting in chairs all set up in a semi-circle..completely engrossed in just one thing. The couch. Now..I can ask you.. “What’s so interesting about a couch?” But, I won’t because..duh. This is a dementia floor and this is what’s FUN.. looking at a piece of furniture. Even more fun when my MIL Ruth is snoring on it. Plus, right now the most fascinating thing is to watch Ruth shout out from the couch in her sleep, “I don’t care that I already had breakfast. I don’t remember it. I want another.” Sorry folks..time to wake up your pastime.

“Don’t wake her up..we want to see what happens next.”

John..may I suggest a game of cards with Faye? She has NO ONE to cheat out of lunchtime Jell-O delight. Run along now.

“Ru..rise and shine. Time to wake up. You don’t want to miss all the excitement do you?”

RUTH (opening eyes and looking MORE confused): Oh hi there. What are YOU doing here so late? Excitement? Like what?

ME: Well..ummm.

I notice that all the “audience” is leaning forward in their wheel chairs trying to make out the conversation without being completely obvious about it. Like Greta 1. Who just slyly cranked up her hearing aid so she wouldn’t miss a word.

ME: Don’t you have a Happy Hands class or story time or SOMETHING this morning?

Just then I hear Janet shout at Faye..

“Would you hold down that racket? I missed the last part..”

ME: For those of you that were talking to your NEIGHBOR and didn’t h-e-a-r me..

RUTH: Ugh. I had SUCH a night last night. I remember that I was wiped out from the bus ride and I walked into my room to jump into bed. And you’ll never guess who was in there already. Lucy.

AUDIENCE: (collectively) Gasp.

RUTH: That’s right. She was in my nice 500 thread count, pima cotton sheets— drooling all over my nice foam pillow. You know the one?

ME: (nothing to say..just nodding..because I know the pillow from the 25 years of use.)

RUTH: I don’t know HOW she got in there and she had me all confused because I wasn’t even sure that WAS my room. Then I had to go find my real room or another one because I was beat.


AUDIENCE (in unison): Pipe down Faye.

RUTH: I wondered around the streets (hall) for awhile until I got to Selma’s room. I wanted to see if she had any room for me in her bed.

ALBERT: That wasn’t SELMAS room.

RUTH: No. I guess not. At this point we were all why not go take a stroll in the court yard? I organized a walking group.

ME: Did you go out?

RUTH: No..I don’t think so. Where would I go?

ME: On a walk.

RUTH: Oh. Yeah. (Long pause) How did you know I went for a walk. Jo? We have a code. Well..anyway, I got very nervous because I noticed I was being followed. It’s scary what goes on around here at night..

I glanced up to see one half of my attentive audience passed out in their seats. The other half were turned to witness John getting his bootie kicked by Faye who was screaming, “I win. I win. Loser. No Jell-O for YOU.” Looking at Ruth..I knew it was nap time. Mine.

My Sandwich Generation— one never knows with whom one will be sleeping with.. on any given night over at your OWN local Happy Daze Assisted facility. You can try to mark your seniors door area with all sorts of colorful memorabilia (bows, tennis balls, pictures of me, NORDSTORM charge cards) but please don’t be surprised if a “guest” shows up for a bit of a nap in the wrong bed. Prepare yourself and your senior for the unforeseen. Screaming loudly only has a tendency to wake up the neighbors and make matters worse. And I won’t do it again.

Sweet dreams.


Copyright © 2009 My Sandwich Generation. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized 12 years, 5 months ago at 11:21 pm.

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