About Me

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Spokane, WA
This profile photo is my mom and me at the beach--she is 26 and I am about 18 months. LOVE the joy!! I am a mom of three and a teacher; being a teacher means I have to go back and cut the f-bombs. There were a few. Because Alzheimer's sucks badly. This blog, for nine years now--skipping a few while I was too cheap to buy my domain name-- helps me un-peel and process the endless layers of sad woven with weird and--impossibly--comedy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Breaded Veal Cutlets

A good friend of my mom's observed when I was "reporting" about my mom's "status," the other day that I was stoic about the whole thing. I insisted I was not~when I hear the term "stoic" I think of a large intimidating older woman, perhaps of German or Slavic descent (even though stoicism has Greek roots I think)with a grouchy look on her face and arms crossed. But here's the definition: "A person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining." 
So I guess I am stoic, or like most people, I am in little bursts. While I'm talking, explaining, describing. The alternative is crying in the sugar packets. Like I did on my most recent visit Sunday.
That little glimmer of recognition is even slighter, if that's possible. My mom seems remotely..hmm, not glad,,she still acknowledges my presence. In perhaps a positive manner? (She was just given a Hydrocodone to deal with her pain, since her arm isn't healed yet from falling last month.)She tried, it seemed, to appreciate having me and the girls there. She laughs at things..don't know what..but just generally laughs. Which makes her likable among the staff.
One of the nurses was going to give her some food from the Brunch "buffet" but I saw that the entree choice was "breaded veal cutlets." 
"Um, no, she can't have breaded veal cutlets," I blurted. "She was a member of PETA and an animal activist for 25 years..she used to give out pamphlets from Farm Sanctuary about how veal is raised."
"Oh, yeah, I don't want that," she agreed.
"Oh my goodness, that's important to know, we should know that," replied the nurse.
I went over to the food area and said "Can I please have some Rosemary potatoes for my mom?"
And I turned around and began to sob uncontrollably over the sugar packets at the drink area of the counter. This woman in a hairnet asked if I was OK.
"Um, yeah, I'm just grieving over the fact that I have to explain to people that the woman who is now a former shell of herself but used to be my mom was an animal activist and she can't eat veal."
"I'll be fine, I just miss my mom. I'm pacing ,myself, you know, with the grief."
I cried for maybe 5 more minutes. Then I took a deep breath, wiped my tears and snot on my upper arm and walked back to the table.
The woman next to me, Pat, I think? She asked my mom if we were her family. (I've seen her tons of times, but whatever) My mom didn't respond so I said, Yes, I am her daughter and these are her grand daughters.
"She doesn't look old enough to have grandchildren," said Pat.
"Yes, she doesn't look old enough to have advanced stage Alzheimer's either," I know, kind of bitchy for me to attack the poor wheelchair-bound neighbor.
"That's true," she said. And then told me she had had MS for 30 years and talked a little about the ebb and flow of her symptoms.
"Yeah, the disease process sucks," I said.
And maybe 10 more minutes and the visit was over; my stoicism now fully intact. Actually, I cried some more in the car. 
Then I listened to David Sedaris "Squirrel Meets Chipmunk"  about the bear who gets all this mileage out of telling her friends and neighbors about her extreme grief over losing her mom; avoiding manual labor for nearly 6 months because she's so distraught. The animals all start rolling their eyes and avoiding her. 
It made me laugh, because I needed to, yes, and the parable also reminded me not to be too dramatic, but mostly, laughing--even HARD laughter..forced and maniacal and inappropriate is better than crying uncontrollably. But I suspect I'll be doing both, intermittently, for a long time

Thoughtful young me

Thoughtful young me

Seventies chicks

Seventies chicks
Me and my mom Lynn, 1973