I know there are groups for people like us...ACAO's, but I'm not sure I would want to be an 'official' member of that club. I can just see the cookies, coffee urn and folding chairs in a circle. I would approach and everyone would say hello. I would then stand and say, "Hello, I'm KK and I'm the adult child of an ancient one. Everyone would say hello back to me. As each person stands up to tell a story about how horrible it is to be in this situation, I would feel guilty and quietly crawl away. I would feel guilty because our Ancient One is still in relatively good stead, owns a beautiful home where SalGal and I live, can still beat our asses at Scrabble and remembers her own name.
Humor is such a vital tool in the care and handling of an Ancient One. Let's face it, they know how to push every friggin button we have, and they've been doing it since we were born. You can't give them meal choices or they'll have you back'n forthing to the store three times a day. You just have to tell them what 'your' blue plate special is for that day and leave it at that. But, if they want salt, butter and chocolate in excess, you have to give it to them. Since they don't have much else left to feel giddy about, let 'em go out the way they want to...with chocolate all around their mouthes and a stick of butter in each hand. You can rest easy knowing that their exit was probably divine and they're floating up in the corner of the ceiling watching with a smile on their faces as you explain to the EMS guys why your mother is holding a stick of butter in each hand with a brown death smile on her face.
Does your Ancient One know how to apologize? Here's how our Ancient One does it, "Oh, well, you just misunderstood what I said...and I'm sorry that you didn't hear me correctly." Deep breathing is an essential exercise here accompanied with the 'fuming-walk-out.' If you have a loved one with whom you can then scream, "Is the woman INSANE? Did you hear what she just SAID?" That person's job is to then make you laugh. It's the only way to stop you from walking toward the scissor drawer. If you don't have a loved one nearby, I'm advising you to get the dog and go for an immediate walk! Fresh air brings the same kind of healing that a good guffaw can accomplish.
Alcohol may be necessary, but watch out here, because if you consume too much, you might then mistake the Ancient One for the dog, put a leash on her and drag her down the block while you get your fresh air. And, you'd probably forget the plastic bag for sure, so lock up the booze when you get upset...call a humor hotline or a total stranger and tell them a joke on the phone...anything to release the stress.
SalGal and I have our magic room where we can get away and find solace, humor and creativity, but we still would like to grease the tennis balls on the back of her walker every now and then!!!
I find that the 'fuming-walk-out' straight to the liquor cabinet works great. I take my cocktail to our magic room, turn on the radio to the country music channel and fantasize my marriage to Dr. Phil.
Actually, KK and I are usually grateful that our Ancient One is pretty easy to take care of and doesn't poop on the floor. I can deal with the fact that she doesn't want to put her teeth in her mouth, wash her hair or wear underwear as long as she behaves herself and lets us watch Survivor in the living room.
gotta go more later...
Okay it's the next day and I'm back. I had to take the Ancient One to the hair dresser. This is an all-day effort. In the end it's no more appealing that putting a huge dollup of whipped cream on a fourteen year old Basset Hound. I'm not sure why our mother even wants to go to the hair dresser since nobody sees her anyway. I think it's because our guy, Sal talks to her, the salon is walker-accessable and she can clepto the hundred dollar bottles of wrinkle cream. I know she does this because I found 20 bottles of the stuff in her tweezer drawer.
We do take her to brunch on Sundays sometimes. She usually looks kind of cute. I imagine people at the country club think she is darling and charming which she is with them. Little do they know that when we get home the teeth come out and the complaining starts. The Ancient One hates Sally Field. Whenever a Boniva commercial comes on she tries to mute the sound of Sally Fields' voice. However, since she moves like a sloth she can rarely get the mute button punched in time. She also hates Bush, any kind of soup that isn't Campbell's chicken noodle and Oprah.
Gotta go again as the Ancient One needs her daily pitcher of ice water, stolen hospital socks and Dragon's Breath room spray.
God knows we love em,