Thursday, April 16, 2009

Story to go with last post's pictures

You know how you are around someone everyday, and how you don't see the changes in a person until something happens? Luckily, this time it was just a couple of car trips and not something drastic.

I admit it. I'm was being petty and childish. I was irritated to the point of wanting to bang my head and hers against a brick wall. Now I feel bad that I was so annoyed.

I will explain that this person has always talked a lot and not always listened to the answers to the questions she asked. Lately, she has become a little hard of hearing, but this was different...

It all started like this:

For weeks our elderly neighbor, K, had been telling H (another friend) and me that she wanted to go shopping - just to go wander around the stores. There wasn't anything urgent that she needed, so just sometime would do. We told her that one or both of us would take her IF her son couldn't and IF we could take her car. (She has a nice Honda.) Well, we were busy. The weather had been crappy (sorry, but it had), and the roads had not been in the best driving condition. And, our shopping center is 80 miles away - one way.

Suddenly, about 3 weeks ago, this shopping trip became of utmost importance. K needed to go now!

Please realize that friend H works 5 to 6 days a week plus shares her car with her high-schooler who has a job after school and on weekends. H's other "car" is a big pickup which her husband needs for his jobs. I drive a big pickup, and my husband's jobs take him places that our big truck can't get into. K has difficultly getting around so taking any pickup was out of the question. K told both H and me that her son couldn't take her. That made sense. All "our" men are self-employed, and they all work 6 to 7 days a week. So, I could take her if I had a car to drive.

When we asked about taking her car, she said she'd drive it. She didn't want anyone else to drive her car. (No way was I going to ride with her. That's a whole "nother" story.)

So on Sunday almost 3 weeks ago, H told our elderly friend that she'd made arrangements to take a day off, and they'd go shopping on Thursday (2 weeks ago today). Between Tuesday's reminding phone call and Thursday, K made all kinds of other plans for Thursday - totally blew H off. (I didn't know this until several days later.)

The next day (Friday) K told me that no one would take her shopping, and she really needed some things. My husband needed some parts (he could have ordered them), but the clincher was that our daughter was going to be in "town". He hadn't seen her for a few weeks, so we told K we'd take her with us. She could go to any store she wanted, but that we were meeting our daughter for lunch. Suddenly, that was too much running around, and K didn't want to go. (Weird since K has always treated our daughter like her own grandchild.) We had to talk like a son of a gun to get K to agree to go with us.

Saturday morning we go to get K. Her son was just coming up the walk, and we got to talking. He didn't even know his mother was going anywhere. And, his mother had never mentioned to him that she wanted to go shopping. He said could have taken her that very day if she had asked.

We chat all the way to town, and everything is pretty okay until we turn to go to Costco. We go in the "back way" which is a 55 mile an hour road (vs. 25-35 mph through town). It misses all the stop lights, cuts off some mileage, and on a busy day can save 15 to 20 minutes. K just had a fit. Where are we going? Why are we going this way? I've never been this way before. Where are we? I would have been there by now. Husband did get in a word to say we would miss all the stop lights this way. I never have to stop for the lights. (Now, that is just plain scary.) And on and on it went. She wouldn't listen to anything anyone said.

We got to Costco. Oh, no. We can't park in the handicap parking spaces. We should have brought the permit. No, the permit goes with your car. That doesn't matter. No one will check. Park in the handicap place. My husband drove around a little and was able to park in a space right next to a handicap spot. This isn't a handicap spot. I can't walk that far. We got her a cart and got her into the store and K said, "I'll meet you up front when I'm done" and took off like a teenager in a clothing store. Husband and I went different directions, too. We both saw some friends and stopped to visit with them. We both used the restroom, caught up with each other and did all of our shopping and checked out. No K. I finally went back into the store part of the building. She had been wandering all over looking for us. No, she hadn't been up front. Why did I need to do that? I got her up to the check out stand. She handed her card to the cashier. The card had expired. Why had it expired? K stood there and argued. Oh, I told my daughter-in-law I didn't need it anymore. I guess she took my word for it and didn't renew it. No, I don't need a day pass; I have a card. She still stood and argued. She wouldn't let me pay. People were lining up behind us. I finally just turned my back on her, handed the cashier my card, and wrote the check. (Thank goodness I had enough money in my checking account!) Then she had a fit about bill total. I basically just pushed her out of the store.

K needed to go to the shoe store. This is a real shoe store where they still measure your feet, but this is a very little store that caters mostly to ranchers, loggers, and serious athletes. K started in on the store owner (thank goodness it was the owner and not hired help) about the lack of selection. The man carefully measured K's swollen feet and brought out several pairs of shoes that K had picked out. In every color but beige. I want beige; can't you see that I'm wearing khaki colored slacks? He takes the shoes back and brings out beige shoes. But! She doesn't like any of the styles. Finally, she finds a pair of tannish colored shoes that she thinks will work. Yes, they're comfortable. I *watched* as the store owner checked the heel for slippage, the toes to make sure they weren't not too short, not too tight across the top, etc. etc. She seemed to be pleased with her choice.

We actually have a nice lunch. Dad and daughter didn't get to visit much because K talked the whole time. At least we saw daughter, and we were able to give her some groceries, her mail, and (finally) her dancing shoes.

Staples next. Husband goes in to buy what he needs. K needs White Out - the ribbon kind. She described the packaging, but wouldn't get out of the car to go look herself. Of course, Staples doesn't have any in the exact packaging so it can't possibly be the same type I use. She literally threw the package at me. (I now have 2 packages of White Out ribbon tape that I may never use.)

Then K suddenly decided that my husband had a job to do in "town". No matter how much we explained she couldn't understand that the parts were for a job at home. This went on - while we gassed up, while we were in Safeway, until we stopped at Baskin-Robbins - which she said she wanted to do.

Why did we stop here? I don't want any ice cream. You don't need to be eating any of that (to me who was just drinking water because by this time I had a horrible headache and was sick by to my stomach). It's fattening. You're too fat; you need to be watching what you eat. Quit eating so much ice cream and candy. You never use that treadmill you bought...

One more stop so we could use the restrooms. (This Baskin and Robbins doesn't have any for public use.) No. I don't need to use the toilet. I don't know why you always have to use the restroom. I'm fine. I can wait until we get home. On and on and on. (We were gone from home for more than 7 hours, and she never once used the restroom.)

Finally, she thanked my husband for taking time out to go to town. She admitted that she couldn't have done it by herself. It was almost pleasant on the way home. Then we unloaded her groceries. That's when she discovered that she had purchased the "wrong" bathroom cleaner. I told her I had at home a new bottle of the brand she likes. I'd trade. No, I'll do without.

That was just the first trip and doesn't even begin to explain why I posted the pictures.

Good Friday, early morning, K calls and says she's going to town. The shoes are a size 9W. I always wear a 9 1/2 M. They're too short. (Remember, I watched as he fitted those shoes on her. They were not too short or too wide or ___.) I have to take them back. I called. They don't have any others that will fit. Do I want to go with her? No, I really have work to do, but I'd be glad to return the shoes for her when I go with Mom the next time. No, I'm going today by myself. Well, of course, my conscience kicked in big time. I called her back and told her I would go IF I could drive. She agreed, but oooo did I pay for it.

We started out of town. Suddenly she had to go to the bathroom. We turned around. I remembered to ask if she had told her son that she was going to be gone for the day? No, it isn't any of his business. Besides, I called. Neither he nor S (his wife) answered so I hung up. If he can't answer his phone, he doesn't need to know where I am. They have an answering machine, so she either didn't let it ring long enough or decided she didn't want to leave a message. So while she was in the bathroom (clear at the back of her house in her bedroom), I called her son to tell him where we were going. Would you believe it? She heard me!

We started out again. We got to about where the second picture is taken, and she asks, Why aren't there any trees on the Prairie? I just don't understand why there aren't any trees. Where I grew up has lots of trees. I grew up with trees. Did the farmers cut them down? What are those towers? (cell phone) I don't know why everyone has to have cell phones. Why do the trees only grow in the draws? Why is this a Prairie? This went on clear past where the first picture was taken. Pictures 3 and 4 show where basically natural prairie meets where there the snow sticks long enough for there to be moisture for trees to grow.

Then we get to about pictures 5 and 6. Look at this wasted land. It isn't good for anything. Why isn't is good for anything? Can't grow vegetables. Why don't they grow vegetables on the Prairie? This land isn't good for anything. There's only rock here. No topsoil. Wasted. The growing season on the Prairie isn't long enough for vegetables and there isn't enough water. The farmers grow grain, peas, lentils, hay and rape. Well, what good is that? It's not vegetables. The grain is used for flour and cereals. We eat the peas and lentils. Hay feeds the cows, and you eat beef. This is rock and pine trees. Wasted land. Where I lived we grew vegetables. Hmmmph, it's not vegetables.

Shoe store: Owner isn't in. There is a young very pregnant lady "on duty". She brings over some shoes, but they aren't the right kind. She goes in the back and rummages around. She comes out with a pair a beige shoes in a 9 1/2 M. K goes balistic. That man said he didn't have any more shoes in my size (which was a true statement). Doesn't he know what he has? He didn't tell me the truth. Many more statements. K tried on the shoes and decided that because they were marked the size she has worn for the last few years that the shoes fit. The clerk kept showing K how they were too tight across the arch and how they slipped on the heel. But, K had to have those, because they are my size. That girl had a smile on her face, but here were tears in her eyes when we left. I apologized.

Staples for that elusive White Out. K headed for where it used to be. I told her that it was now in a different spot. WRONG. When she finally listened and found the White Out, they didn't have the exact same package as the one she uses.

Lunch: Took K to a restaurant she'd never been to. Thought it would be a treat. This isn't the restaurant I thought you were talking about. Why are we going here? This [dish] isn't what I thought it would be. Doesn't taste anything like I thought it would. Don't leave a tip. This isn't very good. Well, I'm sorry, but I was buying the lunch. If it was bad, why did she eat it all? My lunch was really good. I left a tip. And heard about it. There is a really nice restroom here, do you want to use it before we head home? No, I can wait. I just don't understand why you always need to use the restroom.

Leaving the parking lot: Too much traffic to make a left hand turn across three lanes, so I turned right. Wrong. Where are you going? This is my car. You're supposed to turn left. You can turn on any of the streets. Why aren't you turning? When I tried to explain where I was going it just got worse. I was headed to the by-pass by the levee. Tooks us less than a mile out of our way. The fruit trees, daffodils, and forsythia were in bloom. There were ducks and geese in the ponds, and people out walking on the levee. The sun was shining. It was glorious. She didn't even see it.

Things calmed down and were rather pleasant until we were almost to picture 1 again. (Remember this was Good Friday and there was lots of traffic.) A passing car was coming at us and getting way into my comfort zone. I put on the brakes - firmly, but not hard. Why did you do that? We had lots of room. You didn't needn't to slow down. I don't know why you just wouldn't let me drive. I wouldn't have slowed down.

Just wasted land. No trees. No vegetables.

Home to my house. Now I have to re-adjust all the mirrors and the seat. You should have just let me drive. Why did you bring your coat? It was nice out. I never carry a big purse. You should just carry your wallet. By this time I wasn't nice any longer. I sure my, "See you at church later" was less than civil. I was awful. I'm not sure I even spoke to her at church.

Yesterday, I was telling my mom about our two trips to town (mom had been gone so we hadn't visited for a while). Mom said one word, "Dementia".

Then today, I remembered. When Grandma used to get like that it meant she had a urinary track, bladder, or kidney infection. K wouldn't use the restroom those two days. I wonder... I will be making a phone call to one of her sons tomorrow.


Adrienne said...

Your Mom said it before I could, but it doesn't make the time spent with her any more pleasant. What a nightmare!!

...and you're not a "bad" person for thinking less than kind thoughts. The fact that you didn't smack her upside the head makes you a saint!!

Anonymous said...

Sue, I was thinking the same thing your mom & Adrienne said! Oh my goodness, I'm sure you scored serious points for the afterlife by being so nice to this lady. God love you!

Packrat said...

Adrienne and P- My actions were nice, but my thoughts weren't. So, where does that get me? I feel so bad now, because I'm sure that she isn't well. I just hope it is something that antibiotics can take care of.

The Songster said...

Mom, don't get old!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I don't need to elaborate, except you are a saint! Antonia