Where have we been?

I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve updated the blog. Where have we been?

At home. Mostly.

Probably the thing we’ve been doing most is going to the pool. Back in late April we joined a club/gym. There’s a weight and exercise machine room and two pools, one indoor and one outdoor. There’s also a basketball and a tennis court. They offer yoga, Silver Sneaker classes, running programs off-site, what’s that one with the bicycles? Anyway, all the sort of common fitness classes, plus swimming pools and weights/machines. A gym. But it’s called a club.

We go on Monday and Friday mornings. We do two water-based exercise classes in a row, an hour each. They’re not water aerobics per se, but I do break a sweat, so they provide a decent aerobic experience almost accidentally. One of them is a joint/balance/stretching type class and one is Silver Sneakers (the gym lets me attend too even though I’m not old enough; I need to assist mom, so maybe that’s why the don’t mind me being there). They’re lots of fun. Mom does her best though she isn’t always able to keep up. She doesn’t understand some of the instruction, and in one class we use pool noodles to challenge our balance and mom can’t do that at all. I keep telling her to do the exercise without the noodle but she wants to do what everyone else is doing. Eyeroll.

We’ve been going to more farmers markets of late. They were a real lifesaver during the pandemic because they were the one sort of safe activity we could do without risking our lives. We wore masks then, but now we go maskless because we’re vaccinated. They still feel safe because they’re outside. It took us a while this year to get into the farmer’s markets because local vegetables need some time to grow in this climate. Things are starting to come in though and this week we had our first good ears of corn. If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that we had corn a bunch in the last few weeks but it wasn’t any good. It was too early. Finally, however, local corn is in and it is delicious. We also had our first local tomatoes and they were good, too.

Mom has had good days and bad. Most days I have to tell her which direction to turn to get to and from the locker room at the pool, but some days she’s right on the ball and remembers exactly where to go. She’s game for going to the outdoor pool after class and seems to really enjoy people watching those that are just there for fun recreation in the hot summer sun. Some days she asks who is here, where people went, and where her bedroom is, and most other days (of late) she does not.

One super annoying coping mechanism she has is to ask loads of questions when she’s feeling insecure. Where are we going? Why are we going there? What’s going on when we get there? Over and over and over. They are specific questions. Is this a regular appointment or are we going for a reason? Or, what are we going (to the store) to get? But they’re they same questions over and over again. I’ve begun joking with her that I’m going to staple a note with the answers to her questions to her eyeball and that usually shuts her up, but I recognize that’s probably not the best answer. I answer a dozen times or so and then I lose my patience. I can’t help it if she doesn’t remember the answer and I can’t make her remember. I recognize I’m fortunate that she’s relatively easy to care for right now and things could be so much worse, but I still get annoyed at her constantly repeated questions.

One thing I want to mention that I’ve noticed in the last weeks is my reactions to things. I roll my eyes A LOT. I inwardly groan A LOT. I “grrrr” to myself A LOT. And that makes things worse for myself.

I think it’s a natural reaction to lose patience with repeated questions. I think it’s easy to get frustrated when she asks where the pitcher of iced tea goes. (It goes in the fridge; where else would it go???????????) My smart, capable, competent mom no longer knows where the bowls go in the kitchen cupboard. It makes me crazy.

Which is what I have to work on. Rolling my eyes, groaning inwardly, wanting to throttle her after a hundred repeated questions only makes things worse for me. She’s completely unaware of my frustration but I know all about how crazy it all makes me. When I approach things with compassion and understanding I actually feel good about our interactions. She’s forgotten how to do laundry but still thinks she can do it. When I finally figured out she’d forgotten how, when I finally realized it was her disease and not willful obstinance making her stuff the clothes in the machine and unable to find the laundry detergent in front of her face I became more compassionate toward her plight. She’s forgotten how to do laundry. Simple as that. I now, like it or not, have to walk her through the steps of getting her clothes in the washing machine. Unfortunately I’m slow on the uptake. It takes me way too long to know the difference between laziness and loss of ability. I assume she can do everything instead of realizing immediately she can do nothing. So I groan and roll my eyes and want to scream my head off when she “can’t” do things she’s always been able to do. I make my life worse by doing that. I should approach things always as if she’s lost the ability and not that she’s trying to make my life miserable.

So that’s it for now. Just a quick update. I have some things to work on. That’s usual. Mom isn’t getting better or worse. She’s healthy, well, and going through life oblivious of most everything. Same old same old.

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