Wednesday, February 22, 2023

An Azalea for Mom

The azaleas are out in North Florida, and this bush at my mom's retirement center just happens to have flowers the exact shade of pink as the ones we had at our house when I was growing up. When my brother and I went to visit Mom yesterday, I picked one of them and we tucked it behind her ear as we rolled her around the property in her wheelchair. She seemed to get a kick out of that. She laughed and laughed, especially when we took her picture and showed it to her.

That was actually our second visit of the day. The first time, we went in the morning and she was still in bed. She had a scratch and a new bruise on her forehead, and the staff explained that she had just fallen out of her chair and hit her head on the doorframe. It's not common for her to fall like that, and in fact they were about to call us to tell us about it. We sat with her a while and she laughed in bed (nothing seems to faze her much), and she held my hand and just stared and stared at it. She seems fascinated with hands and fingers, and would laugh when I opened and closed them. But we didn't try to get her up and around. We decided to come back in the afternoon.

I could not get her to speak much. If I asked her a question she might nod or shake her head, and she attempted to say "yes" at one point. And she said "Oh, God" (a favorite phrase) after one of her laughing spells. But that was it. I think she knows who we are, but it's hard to tell. She'd probably be just as goofy and jovial with anyone.

Here's a little video showing a neighborhood on the St. John's River where my brother and I parked when we went to lunch at the nearby European Street deli. And then it shows me playing with his dog, Snoop. Again, don't tell Olga about my canine infidelity.

Lunch at the deli was funny. They had a pimento & cheese sandwich with ham on the menu. It reminded me of the pimento & cheese sandwiches my grandmother used to make, so I ordered it, but asked them to hold the ham. (We never put ham on our pimento & cheese!) The waiter was completely flummoxed by this request. He just couldn't seem to get his head around me not wanting meat on my sandwich. "It will be the same price," he warned. I said that was fine, just give me extra pimento and cheese. Well, they did and it all worked out but I think I made his head explode.

This car was parked outside my mom's retirement center. Not very comforting. And also, WHY?

Anyway, aside from visiting mom, it was a day for errands. We went to an antique store to ask about selling my grandmother's Wedgewood china, a huge set that neither of us want, as well as some of her mahogany furniture. And we went to the grocery store, where I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that read, "Be the person your dog thinks you are."

This shop was across the street from the grocery store. BEST NAME EVER!


Lynn Marie said...

What was the verdict on the china and furniture?

Ms. Moon said...

You know, I feel like that color and variety of azalea is the REAL azalea.
I hope with all of my heart that your mother does recognize you because I know that seeing and knowing her boys would make her very happy.
You're right about the Dinosaur Asian Supermarket. I actually visited an Asian market in Tallahassee yesterday but I am sure it did not measure up to The Dinosaur!

The Bug said...

I'm just so thankful for you that your mom seems happy and content. I have a feeling that if my father in law ever has to move to a nursing home he would be VERY mopey at all times (heck, he's mopey all the time now).

NewRobin13 said...

Reading about your time with your mom reminds me so much of the times I saw my mom when she had Alzheimers. Roger and I went to visit her in the assisted living facility, and when we walked into her room she looked up and said, "Hi Rog, where's your wife?"
That grocery store name is definitely the BEST NAME EVER!

Ellen D. said...

I'm glad your Mom can laugh and laugh, Steve. I am glad you have gotten to spend time with her and your brother.

Boud said...

I'm so glad to hear your mom is happy. It's such a relief to know that, for family, I should think.

We had that color of azalea bushes at our first house, planted by a previous owner.

I hope you get a taker for the china. It's not easy these days, with people's lives being so different, more casual, not much formal table setting.

Pixie said...

Your poor waiter, sometimes people amaze me (not in a good way, more like, how do they manage to find their way to work).

I'm glad that your mom still laughs.

Elle Clancy said...

I grew up eating cream cheese and olive sandwiches on pumpernickel bread. The most delicious thing ever.

I agree with everyone else: glad your mom seems in good spirits.

Kelly said...

I wish I had a Dinosaur Asian Supermarket near me for a variety of reasons! And why would anyone put ham on a pimiento cheese sandwich?

Gorgeous azaleas! It's still a bit early for ours, though other things are starting to bloom.

Ed said...

I had completely forgotten about pimento & cheese sandwiches. How could that ever slip my mind?!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Perhaps you should get your own "Be the person your dog thinks you are" T shirt and then start pretending to be Michael Stipe.

Jim Davis said...

Glad to see that your mom is happy, that's a blessing. Now about that sign on that car.......

Sharon said...

I'm glad you got to see your mom and that she seemed happy and full of laughter. The azalea is beautiful. I bet the Dinosaur Asian Supermarket has gargantuan sales!

Allison said...

Beautiful azaleas. We used to have those when we lived in Virginia.

The Padre said...

I Am Enjoying These Enthusiastically Bouncy Posts - Laugh On My Man


Andrew said...

It's good that your mother is doing well, in spite of her condition. The care must be good.

Be the person your dog thinks you are...wonderful line.

Red said...

It's difficult to deal with irrationality. However, you have to visit your Mom and as you say , she might have known who you are.

Margaret said...

A gun fanatic doesn't think the same way as a sane person. Ugh. I'm so happy that you're spending this time with your mom. My mom's body is failing but her mind is sharp. It's also sad in a different way.

sparklingmerlot said...

How lovely that your mum is still laughing. The azalea reminds me of the ones that grew wild (I think) in Hong Kong when I was a kid. As Ms Moon said, maybe the original colour.
I fear that you are not the person your dog thinks you are, you fickle thing.

jenny_o said...

What a beautiful colour of azalea. I love the idea of helping your mom wear it :) It's so good that she seems happy. Was she always a happy person?

River said...

Love the t-shirt message. I'm glad your mum seems to be happy. Hope you find a buyer for the antiques.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Did you have any success at the antique store. That grocery story name is memorable at least. What your mother and your family are living though is so heartbreaking, but you are so blessed that she usually seems happy. As for Olga, she’s going to smell all that cheap perfume on you. It can be washed away.

Moving with Mitchell said...

CAN’T... damned fingers.

ellen abbott said...

That is my favorite azalea, that and the one that is a little more purple but just as vibrant. Unfortunately, three winters in a row with temps in the 20s that has caused any buds to freeze and complete loss of leaves has left me with no flowers.

I'm glad your mom seems happy when her dementia could have taken her in the other direction. Our science has learned how to keep our bodies going, now if it could only learn how to keep our minds going.

Steve Reed said...

Lynn Marie: We're still waiting. We e-mailed pictures and she's supposed to get back to us.

Ms Moon: It does seem like the prototypical azalea, I agree. I would love to know the thought process of the owner of that store, coming up with that name!

Bug: I'm glad for that too. Of course, we only see her when we visit, but everyone knows her for her laughter so apparently she's like that all the time!

Robin: Ha! You have to take it all with a sense of humor, honestly.

Ellen D: I am too. It was good we made this trip.

Boud: Yeah, and there are lots of pieces that people just don't use now -- salad plates, demitasse cups, etc.

Pixie: He just couldn't comprehend that sandwich with no ham! LOL

Elle: That's interesting! I used to love olive loaf, a lunchmeat containing green olives.

Kelly: I'm guessing some patrons would feel ripped off if they just got cheese, but that's how it's supposed to be!

Ed: It's funny, right? We all ate them!

YP: Olga doesn't think I'm Michael Stipe, but some people have told me I resemble him.

Jim: Yeah, what is up with THAT?!

Sharon: They make you roar!

Allison: Like Ms Moon said, it's sort of the prototypical azalea.

Padre: To quote (once again) my former co-worker, "You've got to laugh to keep from cryin.'"

Andrew: Yeah, I'm very happy with her care. She seems quite content.

Red: That's why I just talk to her as if everything's normal. We just don't know what's going on in there or what she understands.

Margaret: Yeah, that brings a whole 'nother set of problems and issues. I was talking about this with my friend Sue, the varieties of problems we can face as we age.

Caro: Yeah, I've pretty much proved that, haven't I?!

Jenny-O: She had a good sense of humor, but she could have an angry side too. I guess like most moms.

River: We shall see!

Mitchell: Ha! It's like the proverbial lipstick on my collar!

Ellen: Yeah, I think medical science is going to have to come to a reckoning about what's best for people with dementia. But for now my mom seems content, which is the important thing.

Jeanie said...

I'm so glad that your mom is happy, jovial, laughing. That just makes me smile because so many people at that age just aren't. And the azalea pick was a great idea! So nice you could see her twice in the day. I'm glad she's OK.