I can’t say how many times I would get up during the night or early morning hours, look over at mom’s house and see lights on, not just in her bedroom, but in the front room too. One time, my husband happened to be getting back late in the evening and saw her kitchen light on. He went to check on her and she was getting ready to eat breakfast ….at midnight.
Day and night, night and day, it all blended together for her most of the time. With no one living with her to schedule her days and nights, she did her own thing. When she woke up, if she decided it was time to get up, even if it was still dark out, she would get up, get dressed and go and have breakfast, or go sit in the front room for and read or watch TV for awhile.
Living next door, we checked on her in the morning and during the day as we could and then again in the evening. We did things for her that she could no longer do. But keeping her in bed at night, that we couldn’t do because we weren’t physically living in her house….yet. She also spent a lot of napping during the day, basically because no one was here and she would get lonely or bored, so of course that didn’t help her to sleep during the night either.
When we had the fire, the only thing we could do was to move in here with mom, or we would have been homeless. A new chapter in our lives, from a book I never thought I’d be writing. That was my grandma’s house. It was over 100 years old. Grandma raised her family in it, dad and mom raised the five of us in it, I raised my four sons in it, and all but one of my seven grandchildren had spent time in it. So, that which contained my lifetime of memories was now a blackened shell.
But we were well, and now faced with the job of making this little house of one, a house of three.
We had to sleep on the hide-a-bed in the front room, and many times during the night we would be awakened by the ‘wanderer’. She would wake up, go potty, and decide to get up and get dressed and come out of her room. She would turn on the kitchen light, or walk into the front room and sometimes turn on a light in there, where we were trying to sleep! She’d head for the bathroom, turn on another light! She wanted to get her teeth! Now all this would occur in any sequence and at any time of the night or early morning hours. Every night we were ‘chasing’ her back to bed at some point! Every night we would awaken to the dreaded metallic click! Click! Click! As her walker made it’s way across the kitchen floor, knowing that confrontation was soon to begin again. Sometimes, she would just walk into the kitchen, look at the clock, turn around and go back to her room and to bed, yay! However, that was few and far between. This was the nightly routine for about six months. Nightly sleep interruptions, yet those were the easy nights!
The weeks following when she broke her ankle, and had the black out episode were very taxing emotionally and physically. They had affected her mental and physical abilities greatly. She did recover well from the ankle break and walked with her walker again, but always had to have someone near by. Her mental acuity is what it is, and we deal with the fuzzy moments, repeating conversations or information as often as we have to.
She has been totally depended on us since that time, although she will state, I don’t need anyone to look after me! She still has a great sense of humor. She loves to watch The Chronicles of Narnia, Jumanji and she gets a good chuckle at the Three Stooges! She said to me one day, “We sure do have fun here don’t we?” and another time she told me I was more fun than a barrel of monkeys! That was almost 4 years ago, and the realities of care giving have long sense set in. But we will still try to keep humor going. You have to do that for everyone’s sake.