Last week Thursday, was Fashion’s Night Out. FNO is a global initiative originally created in 2009 to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, and boost the industry’s economy during the recession. Stores and malls throughout the country and world host events and parties, and it’s the kickoff event to the NYC Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
I decided I wanted to go to an event I had been invited to and while I’m usually on the fence or get anxiety these days on what I can do or attempt to do with mom, I decided that I was going out! I hadn’t done anything socially for myself in a very, very long time and though the weather was terrible with downpours, I was going to make my way to the event praying that all will go well with my mom. The day started out fine, later that evening we got to the event OK and though the amount of people who were there, were more than I would have cared to have dealt with – with my mom in tow, we did alright.
I made sure to bring her walker, I needed all of my reinforcements! We had dinner at the hotel, in addition to her Alz she has a few other things going on, diabetes being one of them so I have to make sure she eats. Otherwise that’s another situation I’d be dealing with and the night thus far was going well, until….
…It was time to leave. There was a bit of a line waiting to pay for parking. Why this garage only had 2 machines is beyond me, but I hoped the line would move faster than it was. I could tell she was getting a little angered, and since she can no longer comprehend things and the reason “why” we’re standing on this line, all that I could hope for was divine intervention. It did come when the attendant said if we’re paying by credit card we can pay at the gate. COOL! I’m outtie!! NOT SO FAST Pam!!
As I’m saying to my mom let’s go and go to steer her walker towards the elevator she clutches it tightly and says “NO” she has to wait for the girls, she has to wait for her daughter!! I’m calmly telling her that I’m her daughter and she wasn’t having any of what I was telling her! The area pretty much cleared out, but she still was not moving. She asked a lady if she’d seen Pamela. As I’m telling her it’s me, I take out my driver’s license to show her. She saw my name and face, but didn’t believe it was me. I tell her we need to go to pick up Polo, (he was home and mentioning his name ALWAYS seems to work) she says OK, but she can’t leave without her daughter! When mentioning Polo’s name fails, it’s an “oh no”! Eventually she got tired and I was able to get her to the car. The attendant was nice and offered to get my car, but w/o her recognizing me, I knew she’d never get in. After that ordeal I was more than ready to go home. I chalked the evening up to another lesson learned in the world of Alzheimer’s.
You never know what experience you’re going to have when dealing with this illness. It doesn’t have to be a major outing, many of my stressful situations happen at home. I’m very good at handling stressful situations, but when I’m able to have a quiet moment, the weight of what I’ve dealt with, hits me like a pang. Tears come, but then I take a deep breath and move on. Being a caregiver gives you a new behavior, a new something else to deal with. You never fully have your hand on the grasp of things, though a part of you really wants to believe you do.
Her doctor gave me good advice should this happen again. She said to leave the room or area and then come back in and say, “Hey mom, it’s me Pam….ready to go…,” and her memory will sort of re-set itself.
A changed behavior, action, or decline keeps your normal – new each time, but then as I think about the phrase “new normal,” nothing really is normal in the world of Alzheimer’s!