I am not who she thinks I am

Sometimes mom acts like I’m a stranger.

Like today. We drove past a favorite restaurant and she asked, “Have you ever eaten there with us?”

I played along, because that’s what we’re told to do. I asked, “What do you like to eat there?”

She told me all about the food. She could remember that. How come she couldn’t remember that I’m the daughter that lives with her and eats there with her a couple times a month?

She was just up from a nap. I think sleep affects her memory. It’s like it wipes it clean. Or makes her more confused. Or clears up her confusion. Sometimes more than one of those things, and probably things I’m not aware of.

I was thinking about something Sanjay Gupta said in his book, Keep Sharp. He said that people with Alzheimer’s disease can still learn. I don’t think that’s true of my mom. She can’t remember anything for more than a few seconds. Ten seconds. I think ten seconds is the longest recorded instance of her remembering anything at all. How can she learn anything new when she can’t remember anything for as long as ten seconds?

Which is not entirely true. She got a new watch before our recent vacation. After a few times of not remembering she’d got one she now has it ingrained that she does indeed have a new watch. So, I mean, I guess she can learn new things. But holy hell it’s a struggle.

She went to bed early tonight. I was relieved. But then the big debate started: do I work or do I take advantage of the opportunity to watch a movie? Self-care vs. getting things done that are easier done when she’s otherwise occupied, like sleeping? Isn’t work self-care? But what about watching this movie? When will I get a chance again to watch it? Who knows when will be the next time that she’s asleep and I’m not so dead tired that I can’t stay awake? I have a real opportunity here that nearly never comes around. Also, a good time to get some work done because again, when again will I get a chance to do things when she’s sleeping and I’m awake?

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