Mom’s friend from church called me on Saturday morning. She was visiting mom at Woodland Terrace and wanted to see if she could get mom to talk to me for a minute. She handed mom the phone and I could clearly hear her say, “David?”
We “talked” for about five minutes. It was mostly me asking, “Hello? Can you hear me? Are you there?” Aside from my name, the only other things she said which I could hear or understand were, “How are you?” which she asked as soon as she seemed to comprehend that it was me, and then a minute or so later, something about a “committee”, which made no sense to me. I told her that we were all trying to help her get better, and she mustered the strength to say, “Keep trying.”
That was about it. After that I had about a ten-minute conversation with her friend from church. She said that it “seemed like a really different day for your mom.” She said the nursing assistant Joy who was with mom in the morning was “shocked” because it was the first time she’d seen mom so animated.
When mom’s friend from church walked into the facility, she saw mom sitting in a wheelchair in the common room watching the Olympics with three or four other residents, and that she actually, “said a few words,” when she talked to her. For example, she said, she asked mom, “How are you doing?” and mom replied, “Not so hot,” which has been sort of a running joke between the two of them for the past few years. But her friend from church was very excited about the fact that she said something instead of simply making the high-pitched, whimpering cry that’s been her standard for weeks now.
She said mom was fidgeting with her wheelchair handle, but seemed almost serene compared to the state of overwhelming anxiety and agitation that has seemed to consume her for the last few months. She also said that she wanted to reassure me that the nurses there are quite good, and that without mom speaking they still do a very good job of knowing what she wants and how to “calm her down.” She said that when she got there she pulled up a chair and started watching the swimming events with mom and it was nice.
She said that she felt badly because she could tell that I couldn’t hear mom talking to me on the phone, because she was speaking so softly, but sitting right next to mom she could hear her saying words to me.
Apparently at one point that morning, Joy was startled when mom’s roommate coughed (or something) and mom asked her, “Is she going to be okay?” That was the first time Joy had heard mom talk in the two-plus weeks she’s been there.
We talked a little bit about the confusion of Thursday; she wasn’t really aware of what had happened, though she did say my uncle called her and said that they were taking mom to the hospital because she seemed extra agitated.
Pulling on things — anything — seems to be what she does constantly. Mom’s friend from church said that usually when she goes to visit her, she is in a wheelchair at the nurses station, pulling on anything she can find, like wires, cables, threads, etc. (Mom apparently pulled down the big curtain between her and her roommate in her room.)
She said she wanted to call me because just the idea that she could sit and calmly watch TV for a bit was “something positive”. I thanked her profusely.
She also said that I could call and talk to the nurses to see if they were doing anything differently lately which could have gotten mom to calm down a bit. She said that Joy was “johnny on the spot” and “if she soils herself, she takes care of her.” She also told me that she was going to visit tomorrow (Sunday) and would let me know if there was anything different to report.