This afternoon I went outside to the coop to check on Delilah and to gather a few eggs. Delilah is my Black Australorp recovering from an injury.
This is what I found…one of my vivacious and friendly Barred Rocks perched on a stump right beside her cage in the run. Delilah was obviously enjoying the company. While all the other chickens were outside free ranging…little Miss Poppy was taking time to visit with Delilah.
In May of this year it will be three years since my mom came to live in our home. I thought that she and my dad were having trouble taking care of themselves but never in my wildest dreams did I realize this was a far cry from the truth.
In fact, they were totally incapable of living alone and had many more problems than I had anticipated or realized with daily life. Even though I spoke with my mom almost every night on the phone it was almost beyond my comprehension the reality of their situation.
My dad had to go to live at the local nursing home and I brought my mom to my home. Daddy had undiagnosed medical issues that had lingered for many months and he was in the nursing home for about 2 weeks and then in the hospital for a couple of weeks before his death.
My mother has dementia and it has changed her life. It can be very depressing if you only see the negative issues. Her life is bizarre and frustrating for all of us but she just has different needs. She is still my mom although she forgets that I am her daughter.
Living with a person with dementia is not easy. It is much like raising a small child. They need your help and constant reminders for almost every function while you need lots of patience and understanding to respect their condition. It really helps if you have a sense of humor and tolerance of their forgetful minds and unusual behavior.
In the beginning I was very aggravated with her circumstances and it drove me crazy that she packed her belongings every day to go back home. She would go outside and walk around looking for her car. She spent hours in her room just rearranging her clothes…packing and unpacking. Finally, I made the decision to take away her suitcases. I was amazed at what I found unpacking her bags. My pie plate…a custard cup…jar lids and torn bits of any kind of paper cluttered the clothes that were haphazardly stuffed in her luggage.
This past year I had to remove all her clothes from her room after she had taken them all outside several times. You can’t leave anything in her room…a friend gave her a pretty red candle in a glass container. I watched her through a crack in the door as she attempted to use her fingernail to scrape the wax and put it on her face like makeup. She read the same book for two years…sometimes holding it upside down. She shreds any kind of paper all over the house. There have been many more exasperating and strange incidents but I have come to terms with her dementia.
I am learning to just laugh at her predicaments and expect the unusual circumstances. It was particularly funny this morning when I walked in her room to find her wearing a red shirt with her purple pajama top pulled down around her waist.
“Mother, what in the world are you doing?
She replied, “I just thought I would dress nicer today and wear a little skirt.”
Life goes on with the crazy people.