Friday, February 8, 2008

Adult Child of an Ancient One

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 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,



I ran across your blog because of MORE magazine! I love it. My ancient one lives out of state and you never know who you're going to get when you talk with her. You see she is enjoying every minute of her dementia, the rest of us are suffering with it!

I talked with her yesterday and she told me that Daddy had fixed her chicken lizzards for supper. I know my dad, and he wouldn't have anything to do with a chicken lizzard, much less a gizzard. That elicited an "oh really?" from me.

Bless her heart, she doesn't really know who she's talking to, my name has changed to "the oldest one", my sister has become "that whore", but you know the baby Jesus, (our baby brother); she always remembers his name. Go figure, she's had 50 years of practice using my name, and it's the first one she forgot! Keep on bloggin' you make me laugh!

By the way, I'm in San Antonio...

scotte said...

Girls, I know that it can be taxing, but you can never replace the time with you ancient one. Janie(SoundingForth) and I have lost both of ours in the last 5 years. We both wish we had more time, there are so many things I still need to ask!! Remember now girls, this is the right thing. Although an occasional liquor cabinet raid is usually required.
You two continue to crack me up- awaiting a new video -I'll keep checking back.
Keep the faith,

Midlife Gals said...

OMG! I love the pinkqueen's comment about the baby jesus. We got another comment on a blog about a set of siblings who call their brother, "the chosen one." They can't stand him and he does nothing to help. why do those boys get all the LOVE???

Janie said...

Hey, girls...this is Janie of soundingforth...

Y'all make me laugh, I swear, I've not read anything this funny in a while...

BTW, Scott E was the "favored son" at our house - well, especially after we lost the "excellent" child, our big brother. (I'm hoping Scott E reads this!;)) Not that I would stir up any s*** or anything like that...

Janie said...

PS - Scott's right - keep the faith, girls...we miss our mom so much.

I'm glad y'all are keeping it real, and finding the humor!

(whipped cream on a basset hound - you almost made me wet my pants from laughing so hard!)

Midlife Gals said...

Jamie and Scott,
You're right, we're definitely blessed to still have the old bag, but I've been tempted to cut the brakes on her jazzy scooter! She's an alien inhabiting the body of the woman who used to be our mother!

Midlife Gals said...

I meant to say Janie, not Jamie!!

Mental P Mama said...

You girls are becoming my brother was the prince. He didn't do squat when my mother was dying either! Too, too funny this daughter/caregiver time of life. And thank goodness you have each other!

Elaine said...

I don't know how you do it. Perhaps through blogging? If so, I'm very glad. (oh, and the vodka) My ancient one still powers her own life and I'm so proud of her. We've talked about everything and I can't imagine what has been left out to miss when she moves on. Me and the sibs are celebrating her birthday Saturday. She does look forward to my brother's phone calls, but then he calls her on a regular schedule. Not like me. I have no schedule. Perhaps I should make one and have as many conversations as I can while she's still here.