Mom has had several good days recently. For the first time since she’s been living with us she emerged from her bedroom in the morning fully dressed. She had a smile on her face as if she was pleased to surprise me. I later discovered she had skipped putting on her bra because she couldn’t get it fastened; and she had on two pairs of underwear, but from all outward appearances she was put together. She even applied lipstick later that morning.
The next couple days she continued to dress herself after I laid out clothes for her. She even got herself ready for bed, being able to change into her pajamas without my assistance. It’s tempting to think Mom is “getting better.” I know from past experience this is not true. Another time after she had a run of good days, she had a morning where she could not speak intelligibly. She could say “yes” or “no” but everything else was nonsensical syllables strung together. Although the aphasia was brief, the confusion that followed was not.
I try to enjoy her good days as much as possible. Often Mom is very quiet and says little in the course of the day, but when she has her good days she is more likely to chat. When she’s quiet I never know what is really going on in her mind. On the more talkative days I discover that despite the appearance of brightness and lucidity there is still confusion.
A couple nights ago my son and his fiancee came over for dinner. While I was fixing dinner in the kitchen, my mother, son, future daughter-in-law and husband were in the next room talking and playing with Rocky the boxer. Later when I tucked Mom into bed that night we had the following conversation:
Mom: When we were at Karen’s house tonight Rocky was kissing Don (my husband).
Me: Mom, do you know who I am?
Mom: Yes, you’re Karen.
Me: I was wondering if you knew who I was because you referred to being in Karen’s house.
Mom: Well, we ate dinner at Tim’s house tonight (that’s my brother who lives 50 miles away.)
Me: No, Mom, we ate right here at my house. We had taco salad.
Mom: I thought we ate at Dick’s house (my other brother who lives 50 miles away).
Me: No, we ate here, just in the other room. You haven’t stepped foot out of this house for 2 weeks.
Mom: Well, I’m glad we got that straight.
I constantly have to remind myself Mom’s mind does not function like an ordinary mortal’s. She travels in a space time continuum unavailable to the rest of us. I wonder where she thinks she is now.