It was getting late. The emotionally draining task of packing up my mother’s belongings was starting to eat away at my general good nature and sense of humor.
As much as I wanted to keep everything, I knew I was limited by space and reality. These are “things”, not the person. Somewhat angry and very sad I said “I quit, I can’t do this anymore.” I finished throwing recipe books into a box, folded the top shut, and shoved it to the door.
Packing it up
The next day brought no further relief either. It was the “last day” before I was to leave and go back to Minnesota. I began to pile up what I wanted to be packed in the U-Haul and then glanced at my watch. It was 9 am and I had an appointment to see my mom in the dementia unit at 9:30 am. I had better get going or I was going to be late.
My sister graciously drove me to the dementia unit as my only vehicle was hooked up to the U-Haul. Brad would stay and pack while I went to visit mom. This was my last visit as I most likely won’t make it back to Wisconsin till spring.
The CCP virus and company
The CCP virus (Chinese Communist Party) has wreaked havoc across the globe. Governer’s tyrannically ruling. Wear a mask but then again don’t wear a mask. Anarchist rioters destroying cities and towns, media disinformation, deep state government being exposed. All this is ripe for a social meltdown, let alone a personal one.
Now, adding to the above list, was the issue of only being able to visit my mother outdoors. My mom doesn’t like to be outside. It’s either too cold, too hot, or too windy. Ugh! You can’t reason very well with a dementia patient.
Jumping through hoops
Upon our arrival, my brother and nephew joined our visiting group and we lined up at the front door and rang the bell. Someone finally came to the door and asked what we wanted. I said we had made an appointment to see our mother at 9:30 am.
Annoyed, the nurse said there was no person who was scheduled to visit anyone that day. VERY ANNOYED, I tersely replied I had made two appointments yesterday. One was for that same day and the other was for today, and then named the visit coordinator.
I really wanted to ask if my mother was a hostage of this facility. Then I wanted to ask if they were invested in her positive mental health! I could feel my frustration build, as well as the last two days of packing up emotions starting to drip from my eyes. But I “kept still” as she said she would go check the schedule again.
The nurse returned with a different tone. She had found there indeed was an appointment made to see my mother. I internally said, “HA!” but my inward sass was about to be challenged. However, we could not all see her on the same visit. Some of us would have to stand outside the patio and see her from afar. That my friend was the final straw.
One mad Dutch girl
Angrily I asked why we were allowed to visit as a group just two days ago and now there seems to be a problem with it? Furthermore, I went on to say that the facility needed to have one cohesive policy, not individual personal policies that vacillated with each “changing of the guard”. To that, she said that whatever happens over on that wing is for those nurses to decide. And then she handed me the two sheets of paperwork with questions that needed dated signatures and my temperature taken.
Taking the papers I ran the pen down the “no column”, signed that sheet. Then grabbed the next sheet and signed that. I got in line to be scanned. She quickly scanned my forehead- “98°F”- I wrote it down, she handed me my bracelet, I handed her the papers and I was out the door.
I figured I needed to calm down. This whole CCP virus stuff has everyone on edge, especially with the amount of disinformation that has been spread about. The added anxiety of her no longer living in her home and being cared for by strange people was still very upsetting. I readjusted my mask and began the hike to the backside of the facility.
A pleasant visit
My siblings had finally caught up with me and a conversation concerning how we would all visit her ensued. By the time we reached the back of the facility, I had calmed down. We waited outside the patio gate like paparazzi.
I scanned the ground for the butter knife they use to unlock the fence. My sister spied it first and picked it up. Sliding the knife past the latchbolt, she was able to hold it back long enough to swing the door open. Tada! We are in.
Finding chairs we all sat together in a circle. My mother appeared but then told the nurse she needed to go to the bathroom. So, back into the facility to use the bathroom. We asked the nurse to change her coat to her winter coat, a hat, and gloves- she hates to be cold.
Finally, she returned and sat down to talk with us. She was grateful to see everyone. As she talked with the others I attended to her nails. It was good to hold her hand and listen to her talk.
Saying goodbye is always hard. I can’t seem to do it without tears. But the time had come, my mom was tired and getting cold. It had been very cold that morning, 45°F. We all dressed for the outdoor visit.
Hugging my mom I told her that I loved her and would see her as soon as I could. She patted my back and gave me a kiss. The rest said their goodbyes and we called the nurse to come to retrieve mom from the patio.
It’s hard for her to understand why we can’t come in to visit her in her apartment. She asks if she has done something wrong and we try and explain the “sickness” and they don’t want it to spread as older folks have a harder time fighting it off. Bewildered all she says is “Oh.” This is frustrating for everyone and emotionally draining. We love our family. We need hugs and hand-holding.
Till next time friends, here is to our economy reopened and face to face visits with family.
Michele Bruxvoort is sure to draw you in with her delightful sense of humor and love for living life. She enjoys reading, repurposing, as well as remodeling the family home with her husband. Drawing from her life experience as wife, mom, and follower of Jesus, Michele brings you a very honest and real perspective on life. When you don’t find her writing, you can find her mowing lawns, stocking shelves, taking care of her grandbaby and tackling her latest life adventure.
Wisconsin native and empty-nester, she now makes her home with her husband of 27 years in the South West Prairie plains of Minnesota.