Tuesday, August 25, 2009

less verbal

Mom was visited by Pastor Jeri around 2PM today; the minister brought over a nifty "sphere" toy for Mom. It's a light plastic structure that can expand and contract. In its contracted form, it resembles a star or a sea urchin; when you stretch it out, it looks reminiscent of a geodesic dome (see here). Mom wasn't the only person fascinated by the toy; my entire family had a go at it.

Sean dropped by as well. His legs, burned just a few days ago, are starting to peel. He amused us with tales of the weird beads of sweat that form blister-like pouches under the dead skin when he goes running. The sweat forces the old skin away from the new skin, promoting peeling. Overall, Sean's legs look significantly better.

Not long after Pastor Jeri left, Mom went walking at Fort Hunt Park with Dad, Sean, and me. She did her regular distance of several hundred yards, following the tree shade to stay comparatively cool. We walked over to a massive oak in the park; Dad and Sean spotted a newt-- or some sort of newt-like beastie-- on the tree's sturdy trunk. They pointed it out to Mom, who cooed in muted pleasure.

Around 5PM, three of Mom's Korean women's society friends came by: Mrs. Krieger, Mrs. Raho, and Mrs. Parkbarr; they spent an hour or so talking and laughing with Mom, and like so many other visitors, they brought massive amounts of food. Our thanks, ladies, but I'll never lose any weight this way.

Mom's appetite seemed fair today, all in all; she ate her entire lunch and followed that up with plenty of fruit, courtesy of the ladies. Dinner wasn't quite as much of a success; Mom didn't finish her soup or her side dishes. Dessert, on the other hand, went very well: Mom polished off her bowl of sliced fruit and vanilla ice cream with gusto. Sometimes it's hard to tell just what Mom will like or dislike.

Throughout the day, Mom was only minimally verbal, and she exhibited signs of her usual dishwashing and counter-wiping compulsion. For some time now, Mom hadn't been showing any signs of perseveration: when she finished her meal, she'd set her spoon or chopsticks down instead of scraping endlessly at her bowl; in the kitchen, she'd wash some dishes and then willingly leave. But over the past day or so, Mom seems to have been regressing: the old urges are back. What I now try to do, when Mom gets in that groove, is simply redirect her efforts: if she wants to wash dishes, then I make sure she's using the right sponge or scrub pad to do so, allowing her to wash to her heart's content. This seems to work for the moment; I'd tried redirection a few weeks back, but with less positive results. As with her taste in food, Mom's perseveration follows its own mercurial pattern.

I hope Mom's a bit more talkative soon. I hope we're not witnessing a trend. Mom still has almost a week before she goes to Texas; if she's not in any condition to travel on September 1, this is going to be crushing for her sister. I want Mom's time away from radiotherapy to be-- however briefly-- a time of healing and recuperation, not a time of continued deterioration. That's all I want right now. Not too much to ask, I think.


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