Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Another lunch date

I sat down with MIL after greeting the 'gang' as I started to think of them. It is funny how I get concerned if one of them doesn't show up. In a nursing home, life tends to feel a bit tenuous.

MIL started out by saying "Hello! Where have you been?" I replied I had been there yesterday and she said "No." Then she looked around and said, "Oh, you were?"
No matter, that is how things progress for her. One day blends into another seamlessly.
On Sunday's visit she'd told me that she was rather upset with the staff and I'd asked her why.

Her explanation was rather intriguing.
"Well," she said glancing sideways, "you have to be a ..." she paused, "...a woman or a MAN to get anything around here! I mean nobody pays me any attention! If I have to go to the bathroom they tell me to use the bathroom in my room! Imagine that! I have to go to my room!"

I nodded, "So you have to be a man or a woman to get the staff's attention." I couldn't help but ask.
"YES, and if I want to go to a meal, they just tell me to go ahead! Nobody gives me a push or takes me there! I want to go home. You take me now."

I wanted to venture a guess that the staff was following doctor's orders... trying to see if she was capable to do things on her own, not being mean. But I just kept my mouth shut. As soon as it was time for her to go to lunch, I asked if she wanted to go.
She immediately said yes, and that I could push her. As I wheeled her to lunch she commented that I didn't drive as fast as most of the people who pushed her.

Monday lunch.
The usual characters.
Lisa was asleep at her end of the table. She kept waking up and dozing off. Then a staff member came in and took her Glucose Reading [away from the table]. Lisa woke up then and started to glance around. She left her lunch and backed up her wheel chair to move over towards John.
John was watching her and trying to negotiate spaghetti and meatballs with his one hand.
She kept inching closer, murmuring to John.

I watched and wondered again about Nursing Home romances. A staff member came up and asked Lisa to leave John alone and go eat her meal please.
My MIL was busy trying to cut up her meatballs. When another staff member put a glass of water, chocolate milk, and coffee in front of her she protested loudly.

"Take that water away! I don't drink water!"
The staff member smiled and said, "Honey, I have to give it to you, it is required."
MIL snorted and shoved the glass with the back of her hand and spilled water all over the table.

Joan perked up from her near slumber at that. "Oh, honey! Drink your water! It is so good for you!"
MIL pushed the glass again and made a face. She turned to me and said, "See? I don't get any attention!"
My usual method is to divert and change the subject when she gets a bit upset and it works pretty well.

I noted that MIL had her bright green jacket that she was sitting on. I inquired if it had been cold. MIL picked up the chocolate pudding and started to scoop it up.
"Yes, it was cold this morning! I had my housecoat on."

She stopped what she was doing and leaned towards me. I think she meant to whisper what she said next, but she didn't. She was actually quite loud. "I peed on it so they had to take it to the laundry and the nice girl got me this jacket out of the closet."
She smiled as if the peeing incident was something quite special and turned her attention back to the chocolate pudding.

I drank some of my bottled water.

Lisa spoke up from the end of the table.
"You know," she said, "my Brother In Law was afraid that I was going to steal his brother from him."

Most of us turned to Lisa.
"I don't know why he thought that," she continued, "he was my husband."

Joan shrugged, MIL ate her pudding, John opened his mouth in a silent laugh, and Lisa returned to eating, only to fall asleep at her spot.

Note: Visiting a nursing home where a loved one is, can and is rewarding. You have to have a grasp of what how to handle your loved one's illnesses are and learn how to deal with things like such as dementia. 
My visits are always rewarding. My MIL is always happy to see me and asks for hugs which I give freely. The other residents thank me for coming to see them at their noon meal.
Most importantly, I listen and don't judge. 
Interestingly enough, each table group is like a small social group. I am often reminded of my high school cafeteria, where all of the cliques sat together and chatted.
I actually look forward to each time I visit and have found that lunch time is the best time. Everyone is more alert.
If you have someone you love in a home. Go visit.
It will be rewarding to the both of you.


  1. Anonymous9:00 AM

    I also found visiting in the nursing home rewarding and learned the divert and change the subject technique. I was good at turning off all my emotions and focusing all my energy on my Mother and her table mates. It was after I left that I needed a good cry or ice cream. :) I also encourage people to go and visit but with a positive frame of mind and skip the ice cream after.

    1. Oh I could have done the ice cream, but I had to pick up hubby at his Pulmonary Therapy class. I do recall my first time ever in a nursing home to see someone I didn't know well....was a bit unnerving. Less so as I grew up and got some life experience. Thanks for your comment Mary.

  2. We found lunch was a good time to visit my Mother In Law also, it gave us a clue as to what she was eating as it was probably her best meal of the day. Several times we found her quite confused and after some sips of water and a little time she would be back to her old self. The elderly systems are so precarious:( So glad you visit her and the gang!


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