Saturday, May 16, 2009

the return of initiative

Little by little, Mom is recovering more of her old self. As I've mentioned before, she's shown an increased interest in meal prep over the past week. This morning, she apparently went into the kitchen, dug around the garbage disposal, and pulled out a fetid mass of vegetables that the disposal had failed to grind up. I'm assuming she recognized the causal connection between the sink water's slow draining, the disposal's having been used, and the unseen veggies. (Dad's the one who told me about Mom's exploits.) Again, this might seem like a mundane action, pulling gunk out of the sink, but it has to be balanced with the fact that Mom is starting to take even more interest in her surroundings, and is making causal connections.

Later in the day, before my brother David had to leave for work (David stayed overnight), Mom offered to give David a back rub. The poor guy often works seven days a week, and is constantly tired. The fact that Mom felt an imperative to do something for him-- not just verbally offer sympathy-- shows us another area in which she appears to be improving.

Mom is, however, still somewhat stressed by the notion of people visiting her. One of our next-door neighbors caught me while I was mowing the lawn the other day, and told me about how life was after her husband (who'd passed away in 2003) had a major stroke. He'd become depressed and was, for a long time, unwilling to leave the house or see any relatives. According to my neighbor (who is 82 and going strong), his feeling was that he wanted people to remember him as he was, not see him in his current state. My neighbor said she'd probably feel the same way, and I told her that my own sentiments were similar.

The imperative to "remember me as I was" is partly motivated by pride, but there's also an unselfish component there: people, like Mom, who have spent so much of their time being helpful to others want to continue to be helpful-- in this case, by not being a burden to others. One way to accomplish this is by ensuring that the circle of caregivers remains small. Mom doesn't mind that her kids come over to the house and help with chores; if she's unhappy about the prospect of visits from other people, it's not because she suddenly dislikes them: it's because she doesn't want to impose. Most potential visitors recognize this and are sensitive to Mom's current state. (And thanks to all those who take the time to call in advance. Your sensitivity is appreciated.)

In any case, I'm happy to report that Mom continues to improve. Her therapy starts this coming week on the 21st; on Monday, we'll be visited by relatives from Texas, so we're prepping the house this weekend. I just heard, however, that Mom has expressed a sudden desire to go out and about, so we're dropping everything-- right this moment (2:10PM)-- to take a nice jaunt out to Skyline Drive. That's right: Mom's the one who wanted to do this. How could we say no?



desertchick said...

Your heart is beautiful Kevin.
You are so sensitive to the things your Mom needs or wants.
You always notice the little things about people.
That's one of the qualities that make us love you so much.

Glad to hear your Mom is becoming more active in everyday life.

We're thinking of you here in Oregon, and continue to pray for you and your family.
Hugs, Chuck & Lori

Kevin said...

Thanks to you both for your constant support. Lori, I appreciate your kind words. Chuck, Dad thanks you for your recent advice re: lawn care. We'll be hitting the hardware store soon to get the proper products.

I hope the weather out west is just how you like it. Here in northern Virginia, the weather's having a hard time deciding between being cool and dry or being hot and humid. Yesterday was hot and humid; today (Sunday) is cool, dry, and breezy. Go figure.