OK…mabe it\'s just me, but whenever I have a long distance conversation with my family I get the feeling that it has really been a long distance call…like to Planet Out-Of -Touch…or more often PLANET CRAZY….I really have the need to ground myself again after some of these concersations…For instance, a conversation with my half sister, the Official Jew For Jesus ( also known in our house as the Harbinger of gloom , death and doomsday prophesy) leaves me feeling as anxious, tired and depressesed as though I had walked an uphill marathon wearing lead-filled ski boots…
Other times, conversations with my mom are so convoluted that it leaves me with the absolute certainty that I really have not lost it just yet…
Case in Point: I called mom the other day as I so nearly every day…She lives in a assisted living place in our hometown and most of the paperwork and red tape are taken care of by my brother who still lives there…( a fact that my brothers wife never loses an opportunity to remind me of, but THAT\'s another story)…
I have an excellent unlimited long distnace calling plan that lets me call her every day which I try to do..party because I love her and partly to remind her that she isn\'t alone…and partly to remind her who I am…She is has been diagnosed with early Alzheimers and she has her good days and her not so good days…
Now keep in mind, Reality was never my moms strong suit…She lived most of her life in a pampered bubble…he father buying a brand new home in the Middle of the Great Depression a story she stol me over and over as I was growing up…It was only recently that the truth bubbled up….that sweet old grandaddy who was in Vaudevile during the Great Depression….was a bootlegeer on the side…and ran a SPEAKEASY out of the house! It\'s just one example of those pesky little facts that my Mom glossed over all through her life….I must say there that the Alilzhimers hasn\'t caused this break from reality…but it hasn\'t helped it either! Mom was secretly dubbed "The Queen Of Denial " by her own grandchildren so go figure…Yeah, that was kind of snarkey but even if it was a tired old line, I had to laugh because it was so on-target.
Ok so I called mom to touch base and just to see how she\'s doing…I must say that in the past year or so I have gottnen much better in the patience department…Her short term memory is just that: Short term , and I\'ve gotten vey good at repeting the same things in our somewhat circular conversations. The irony isn\'t lost on me that I would have to learn the art of patience from a woman who was anything BUT patient with me as a child. My mom was like June Cleaver….with rasor-wire and a whip. Sharp-toughed and critical. But now in some weird short-circuit in her brain has turned her into a very sweet, likeable old lady who paints a rosy picture of my childood that ftankly just didnt exist…
This conversation started out in lucid enough territory and I guess I was lulled into a state of off-my-guard…She actually remembered that we had had some flooding in Georgia and wa concerned that we were safe and warm and alright…My jobs as the distant son is to assure mom that " All IS Well" whether is is or not ; to paint a rosy picture of my life whether it be personal, financial or healthwise.
When she asked me about the flooding I assured her that even though we had gotten a few inches of water in the basement,, we had gotten off light compared with some in the neighborhood and the next county over…WRONG ANSWER….She began to obsess on the flooding…..the damage…were we in danger? I reassured her again that we were fine and tried a diversionary tactic of chaning the subject of our little flooding to some people who are reguars at the restaurant my husband manages.
WRONG move! i could feel the conversation heading for the deep end of the pool and was once again caught up in the undertow of crazy and swept helplessly along into the whitewater of unreality that is my family.
Me: "Well mom, don\'t worry about us, we only got a few inches of water in the basment…there were lots of other people who were much worse off ! (oops, worng answer)
She:" What do yo mean worse off?
Me: Well theres a couple who eats at the restaurant, their ranch and their house was under about 15 feet if water.." ( ooops, wrong answer again! )
She : "Oh My GOD, are YOU alright? Tell me that you\'re alright! I won\'t sleep tonight if you aren\'t alright! " ( yeah mom, people have drowned but its all about you! )
Me : Yes mama, were fine but the guys had to resucued the neighbors by boat and then they went back and rescued the all the neighbotrs pets …Isn\'t that great?
But NO old blabermouth here couldn\'t leave well enough alone and I added : "The only down-side to it was that they had to go back after the water receded and rent a crane to get eight horses out of the trees."
She …………" Oh my goodness, how did the horses get up in the trees? were they trying to get out of the water?"
By this time it was too late and no ammout of verbal hand puppets could have dirverted the impending direction the conversation had taken. Again , had the sinking feeling that one might get if they were in a Crisis Center…..that was on fire…….and going over a waterfall…
As the mental image of a 50s housewife calling the fire department to report a missing horse that was stuck up a tree popped into my head. I unsuccessflully tried to stifle the insane giggles that erupted form me as I gasped…." MOM the horses were DEAD." i was totally beyond help now and gave in to the helpless giggles.
She, snapping back into the mom of old that I was familiar with snapped " Don\'t LAUGH….Im OLD not STUPID you know!" but then she started to laugh too as the mental image caught up with her..
Strike another point up for Planet Crazy. *sigh*