Tuesday, August 23, 2011

narrow it down

I feel like there is so much going on (mostly in my brain, not in reality---fun times), that I don't even know where to start tonight, so I'm going to narrow it down to just one topic.

Today I went and visited James at the convalescent hospital. It had been a looooong time, thanks to everything that blew up over the summer around here, but we'd be chatting by phone. Nice visit.


When I pulled up into the parking lot, I heard someone banging on the window of their room. I looked up and realized it was Martha (click here and scroll down to see who I'm referring to). She was talking to me through the glass and waving that there shawl at me, and I had no friggin' idea what she was saying.

I stopped by her room on the way to bring James his lunch and visit, and she said, "Not only am I moving away, I am getting married!"

Maybe I should mention that I've known Martha for about 5 years now, and every once in awhile she says she is well enough to move out to a senior apartment and be on her own. But she never goes anywhere.

The first time she told me she was moving, I thought it made total sense. She really isn't all that ill, from what I can see. She seems more like the type of lady that needs a little bit of help bathing and running errands but maybe doesn't have family around to do that. She's always on top of current events and politics, and she has very interesting stories to tell about life in the area her in the good ol' days.

But like I said, she never moved. And then came some complaints that someone had taken all of her money out of her accounts and she couldn't move out (which, considering that James has had money stolen out of his room that resulted in police activity, it was hard to not wonder if she was telling the truth). But then came the day where she started saying the devil was in her room (which, well....have you ever been in an icky convalescent hospital at night?? who knows what she could be seeing, honestly).

But today she said she was getting married. She wanted to give me back the shawl so it wouldn't get lost in the move, but I showed her that I had knit another pink shawl recently so I was okay on that front. She had folded up all of her personal blankets into a neat stack and had a fully packed travel bag next to them on the bed. The staff came in to bring her lunch and she refused it because her fiance was going to take her out once he got her.

I asked Martha if I could go deliver James the lunch I had brought him while it was still hot and come back, and she said she might be gone by then.

I half believed her.
As usual.

When I came back, she was eating her lunch off a tray, and was angry because her fiance hadn't come to get her and she thought she knew him so well, but apparently she had not been a good judge of character. I was almost speechless. But I made sure she had my contact info in her address book so she could call me if she moved, so I'd know where to find her.

I once asked the staff if they could fill me in a bit about Martha's condition, but of course they cant tell me a thing with confidentiality laws and all that, so who knows. Maybe the only reason Martha is really there is due to dementia. When times are good, I only see her for a short visit once a week....maybe this stuff is happening all the time and I'm just not there for it.


On the way out to my car, I stopped and had a long, very one-sided chat about it with my good friend who IS completely coherent but can only say, "No," or "I know." I've written about her before, and I have no idea where the post is to link to it, but she sits outside smoking cigarettes most of the day just watching the world go by....and she says (by way of twenty questions) that Martha only gets the one visitor...and elderly female friend that takes her to the post office every two weeks or so. That's it. No family. And definitely no fiance. I actually thought MyLadyOfTheNo-I-Knows was going to pass out from laughing when I told her that Martha said she was leaving today and said she was getting married. You could tell she was dying to pass that gossip along and would never be able to LOL.

It has me a bit curious about how best to support Martha.

I don't know much about dementia (if that's even what's going on).

Time to research.


not supergirl said...

That's a hard one. I know when my MIL was hospitalized, she had drug-induced delirium. We were told to continue orienting her to the correct time and place and correcting her misconceptions. However, I don't know how much good that did her, and I KNOW it frustrated my MIG and his dad. But then again, once she was off the meds, she was pretty much OK in that respect, so it's very different from what you're trying to help Martha with. Hang in there. She's better off for your friendship, even if you're not sure how to support her yet.