to write about Peggy, née Margaret Douglas: November, December 2002
Farewell wife, mother and dear grandmother, 10 'o'clock in the morning, Saturday, December 7th., 2002
November 3rd: Dad is having real problems with Mrs. Negativity. Evidence: "I don't want to go out, or buy anything. You don't love me. No one loves me, I just want to commit suicide." We'll see what the visitor next Tuesday will have to say.
November 6th: Getting even worse. Sandy McG, Case Manager, from the CCAC came in yesterday. Fine, down to earth attitude, with my mother answering questions totally inaccurately, as if Dad scowling about this was not seen by Miss McG. His facial ticks were, of course. Mum does not want anything that might help her, but the shenanigans of home visits will start next week.
Afterwards, Mama dearest wanted Dad to help her commit suicide, because she is so annoyed and otherwise distressed. The other thing is her uncleanliness, which is exacerbated by her refusal to wash with water. She'll use her "spirits" instead. God, does she smell. She was worried about a zip on her trousers on the last return from Zak's Diner. I bent down near her to check, and she breathed on me, to my surprise I did not immediately retch. The reaction in my mouth was almost unbearable.
Last night she came into my room and saw me in bed reading. She immediately thought I was lonely, and then said I should come in and share their room!!! Sad how she vacillates.
November 7th: Mum was made to take a shower this morning, but needed a lot of help from Dad. Hasn't a clue. There will be visitors next week, including Louise Roy, the case worker, who told Dad to, under no circumstance, stop Mum's medication.
Both Dad and I have read the info packet left by S McG, and it seems to me that the expense is too high.
November 11th: Mum tells me that I don't know about her brothers. Of course not, on this, the 2002 Remembrance Day, which provided a downpour exactly at 11am, just like Passchendaele. Mum spent a day in tears about her brothers and her mother. It upset Dad, too. I watched lots of parades, and a CBC documentary about a Newfoundland man returning to Nagasaki, where he had been a POW and saw the bomb drop.
November 13th: Yesterday, Mum had a haircut at Ludy's Hairdressing Salon, on Slater, at Bay. Nice people, Italian, the husband from Milan, the wife from Sicily. They did a good job on Mama, but she wouldn't have it. We took some photos of her, and I do hope they come out. Today is the first social visit by Louise, and that should give Dad a well-earned rest. Me, I'm out and about.
November 16th: What a day, so far! Yesterday, my wife was supposed to appear, and Mum dressed up for the occasion. No one turned up. No phone call, and when we called, a constant busy signal. Phoning her parents gave me no info. Then, today, we waited again. No word, no one. But, that was my fault, failing to read the header to the email!!
Then, as if to turn contrapuntal, Mum shat herself, and we had to do a rapid laundry. Just prior to this, she asked me why I hadn't come to pick her up, because she had fallen in their bedroom. I hadn't heard her. Then, she tells Dad that she lost it when falling in the bathroom and it was the spirits, the evil ones that had attacked her.
A little later, Mum was upset and tearful, mainly, it appeared, about us talking about her. When I suggested that she should wear the Depends, or whatever, that Dad had bought, she refused, saying they didn't work. As if sitting there, with her hand in her crotch, would. Total, usual, denial of anything productive that one attempts. Dad in a fury at the cleaning required, and he is constantly tired. Note that I have caught her frequently holding her crotch. When she sees me, she takes her hand away. Obvious that she knows something is untoward.
Damn me and my lack of finances, unable to drag us out of this slough.
November 18th: Kept clear of her this morning, just so that nothing was stated about why I was leaving to take some papers to storage, and then to the Internet Caff. Last night, Dad had some peace when they watched three hours of Frost on TVO. Was he delighted!! And prior to that, Mum asks me why am I standing at my door, to which I respond that I am going to the bathroom. I am then asked what I am doing there: to which request I respond that I am taking a drink of water. You should use the kitchen, to which statement I respond that all the water comes from the same pipe. It doesn't, says she. Typical of her conversations.
November 20th: Mum was sitting next to Dad this morning, pretending to sleep. Most contretemps these days reflect her complete lack of memory, especially of recent events. Last night she came in with Dad to talk about the visitor yesterday. Not long afterwards she asked Dad was I here, and he replied that Mum had just talked to me in my room. She denied that had happened.
November 22nd: Michelle and Katharine came up from Montreal today, just for a quick visit and for Michelle to use the Liquour Board facilities in Ottawa, which are better than that found in Quebec. Mum showing off her photographs repeatedly, and relating fairly well to visitors. Would not, however, eat at breakfast time. This is a common problem. Louise phoned and Dad then gave Mum her morning pill. Dad must give the pills daily, as required.
When I returned after my usual perambulations, I told Mum that it was snowing: she told me she couldn't see it. Then there was a contretemps about soup that Dad was preparing for them. She refused the vegetable soup because it was not sieved. Then she became angry because Dad asked me to eat it, rather than waste it. He went through another set of cans whilst she moaned about her left eye hurting, and that she wanted to die, to cut her own throat.
Later, as I happened to hear, Dad said that he wished he could die, too, but please would she stop yattering on about it all the time.
November 25th: This is Monday, and when I left "home" Mum was in the bathroom. Doing whatever, maybe cleaning herself, but certainly not adequately.
What also transpired this past two days has been horrid for Dad. Constant argument, totally constant disagreement with whatever anyone says. No, she has teeth. Yes, she can chew raw vegetables. No, no one chews raw vegetables. No, I have never peed the bed. No, I have never peed myself. Although she has done repeatedly, and this morning was no different.
Mum threatened to hit Dad with a bowl that Lynn had made. 'Do that and I'll call the police', Dad told her. He loses his temper with her, but I can understand why. Mum is incapable of logical thought. We are always at her, and if it's not us, it's the devils attacking her wherever she may be. Utter codswallop.
The torment Dad goes through is wearing him down. He seemingly thinks he should accept it. After all, he remembers his father looking after his mother's incontinence when she was dying from Parkinson's disease. Granny Dickins ended up in a hospital, frightened out of her wits.
November 28th: This is too ridiculous. Dad told me that it will be November 2003 when Doctor Gobessi will return, since Mama is supposedly responding well to medicine. And Louise Roy told Dad that Mama doesn't smell. Given that I witnessed the usual rotten eggs charade today, as Dad tried to get Mama to shower herself properly, my opinion of these two exalted souls differs from them more than a little. This was as a result of the meeting in Bytown which I drove them to and walked away from. Mum had a blood test there (which showed her haemoglobin count was low).
Note the rows about shampoo; a falling down possibility; "I have had three showers and my feet are clean"; forgetting within minutes about what she has just said. Sometimes she improves because she remembered the stairs at Zak's Diner that one climbs to the washrooms. Not that there wasn't a scene when she had a dessert. She chose chocolate cake, changed her mind to lemon meringue, and then was upset when it came. Then she rattled on about the cake not being cake. Good God, it never ends.
My opinion of the PsychoGerries is tempered by my experiences with tenants of Hooper Apartments in Vancouver. These people were able to hold themselves together for their meetings at the West End Care Team. Yet when they were back in their natural environment they relapsed to their often poor behaviour. Alphonse Helders was a prime example. Only when I visited the WECT with him did the two doctors realise what he was like. I could easily provoke him into "normality" by asking a simple question. The doctors were astonished. Alphonse had been a pianist, had a fine attitude, but was forgetful and tended to walk around his room defecating down his legs and treading the excrement into the carpet. Such social grace!! Mama is exactly like this: can answer some easy questions, but why, oh why, can't she be seen in testing circumstances. Bugger this rights of the person contretemps, just what can my father be expected to tolerate. He hates Thursdays. Wash day.
December 2nd: Really cold today, and then worse tomorrow: when Mum is supposed to visit Dr Rambert re blood test done recently, and then to have Dede (sic) in the afternoon to do Mum's ablutions. Some hope!! The weekend was a melange of constant yapping, contradictions, teary "don't leave me" episodes just when Dad wanted to fetch something on Saturday. Also repetitive can't eat, don't want to eat, this isn't food, I can't chew, you don't care, Paul dislikes me, you don't love me: all fitted in wherever in any day one chooses. It's just ridiculous.
Today, I overheard Dad asking Mum where she would like to go. "You choose," said she. Dad says "Well, we can go to Rideau or Carlingwood Malls. I can pay my bills at Carlingwood." Says she, "why go there, and what are you talking about bills for?" Dad replies "I mentioned I could pay bills there." To which "No, you didn't mention bills." Dad retorts, "Yes, I did." And then Mum yaps "No, you didn't, and anyway, you have a fat arse."
December 3rd: Cold again, but we managed to get Mum to see Dr Rambert. She was told she was fine!! Except for needing iron pills, to take on their own, or with orange juice, or with food if medication gives her problems. We'll see. Poor old dear, ain't she?
Explanation: What on Earth is that? The Richat Structure in the Sahara Desert of Mauritania is easily visible from space because it is nearly 50 kilometers across. Once thought to be an impact crater, the Richat Structure's flat middle and lack of shock-altered rock indicates otherwise. The possibility that the Richat Structure was formed by a volcanic eruption also seems improbable because of the lack of a dome of igneous or volcanic rock. Rather, the layered sedimentary rock of the Richat structure is now thought by many to have been caused by uplifted rock sculpted by erosion. The image was captured last year by the orbiting Landsat 7 satellite. Why the Richat Structure is nearly circular remains a mystery.