Thursday, October 11, 2007

newspapers and magazines. what are they good for?

for years the newspaper has been mom's way of knowing what day it is and not much more than that. like most of us use clocks, or the sun, the paper to her is basically a timekeeper. check the day of the week. that's about it.

but lately the newspaper has been a source of conversation. she'll stare at a headline or read a few sentences and say, "i don't know what any of this means."

so, i'll take it from her and explain it and she might say, "well, now that makes sense."

i went by this morning to take her to get her flu shot. she was reading a Time magazine. i could swear that subscription was canceled long ago, but somehow they still continue to pile up, unread, on her ottoman week after week, so imagine my surprise when i realized she'd actually read and comprehended a few paragraphs.

here's what she read aloud to me from an article (on the 2nd PAGE, mind you) about breast cancer: "Every three minutes an Egyptian woman is informed that she has the illness, and one of her first fears is that her husband will leave her."

i was barely listening, thinking she was gonna say she didn't understand a word of it and then i'd look it over, etc... but you know what she said next?

she said, "now why would he leave her? (pause) because he's a Bastard!”
and then she laughed out loud!
slack-jawwed, i laughed, too.

if you wanta read about the rest of our day,

i told the aides we were going downstairs to get her flu shot and then were gonna leave the premises for awhile. carolyn, one of the aides, asked, "so where are y'all going? just out and about?"

"yeah, don't you wish you could get out of this place for a while?"
at that, mom said, "if i had a car, i'd get out more often."
so i asked her in front of several people if she thought she could find her way back. she said she... wasn't... sure.
i said if you wanta take the car it's ok with me, mom, but if you can't find your way back i'm really gonna miss you.

mom laughed. the aides laughed. and mom said, “if i got lost i'd really miss you, too. why don't you drive?”
and we all smiled.

by the time we finished our business downstairs it was time for her lunch so i left and came back later in the afternoon to take her on our little outing. i drove. we didn’t do all that much. Just Out and About, ya know?
at least we didn’t get lost, though.

oh, and one more thing.

we noticed that at 7:00 that evening there would be a program downstairs that looked interesting to us both.
some crazy dude was going to be there pretending to be Stephen F. Austin. Austin was a 19th century Republic of Texas hero.

a kitschy and interesting presentation for me.

and for mom, she recognized the name because i remind her almost daily that my kids go/went to school at stephen f. austin university and that they both work at the s.fa. library creating a digital history website there that she and i gawk at together on-line at least once a week and that she never quite *gets.*

but she sure as hell knew the name.

now who are your kids?
sean and josephine, mom.

you know that picture sean drew of the camel is my favorite picture. i look at it every day and just look at the expression on that camel's face...

then i show her a photo or a video of josephine.
that's josephine!? she's so big!... that can't really be josephine?

no. we didn't end up going to the program.

i don't have a clue how the real caretakers do what they do. i'm just a part-timer. 3-4 hours today was about all i wanted.

truth be told, she was probably worn out, too.


dann walsh said...


i really enjoy the stories of your adventures with your mom: endearing, enlightening, saddening, maddening... it's really cool. my mom passed away six years ago, and while we were never very close, i kinda vicariously spend time with her again with her through your posts.

my dad is now in late stage four/early stage five parkinson's
and isn't close enough to visit with any real frequency. He was a pisser in his day!



dann walsh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cornbread hell said...

interesting. my dad had parkinson's. late stages of that disease are just horrible. best wishes for you and your dad.

Chris said...

Rick, I love the way you interact with your mom. You are both blessed to be in each others lives.
I am cetain your keen sense of humor sees her through this journey.

Doesn't matter how much time you spend caregiving. It's always the quality and not the quantity in my opinion. You do hat you can, when you can and as long as you are doing it with 100% love and respect, it's all good.
Take care my friend.

peg said...

" ditto", from chris's comment.

flintysooner said...

You are ever bit a real caregiver.

It is a wonderful thing you are doing for your mom.

My mother had Parkinson's.

cornbread hell said...

thanks, y'all. the kind words are much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

i really enjoy reading about you and your mom, do you visit her most days?

cornbread hell said...

unless i play hooky i visit every day. lately even twice.

she's an a-ok old broad. and besides...i don't really have a life.

Sue said...

Oh, you have a life, you have a life. Don't ever think what you're living isn't a life.

~Betsy said...

Enjoy your blog, Rick. Mind if I link you?

cornbread hell said...

mind? i'd be honored.