I round the corner into the living room and see Mom coming out of her bedroom, housedress hanging open, entering the bathroom. “Good morning!” she says.
Since she is already out of her gown, I head into her room, expecting a wet bed needing to be stripped and linens laundered. I find the wet bed, topped by the wet gown, with the added bonus of a giant puddle between the bed and closet, trodden in and tracked to the bathroom. Her slippers will need washing, too, then.
I take the towel from the couch (left there from Sunday’s incident, to cover the cushions damp from the odor-eating enzyme spray), and throw it over the puddle before heading to the laundry room for the dirty-clothes basket. As I pass the bathroom, Mom appears at the door, sans disposable briefs, and asks me to snap her housedress closed. She was able to do it yesterday; why not this morning? Rhetorical question.
She points out that the floor is all wet. I ask if she changed her briefs last night before bed. She says yes. I ask if she tried to pee before bed. She says no. I tell her to always pee before bedtime. She nods. We’ve had this conversation before.
As I snap her housedress, she asks me how old my brother is for his birthday today. I yell, “62”. She says, “57?” I repeat, “62”, this time holding up six fingers and then two fingers in succession. She says, “57”? I yell “62” and flail my fingers around a couple more times, until she says “Okay.”
“Okay, whatever you said.”
I give up and go back to stripping the bed. We’ll use the whiteboard later.
I take the overflowing basket to the laundry room and return with the swiffer to mop her bedroom floor, the trail, and into the bathroom. By this time, she has made it to the table, where I had placed her coffee on one of my passes through the kitchen, and calls out to me to ask for her medicine. I yell that I am cleaning up and to please wait a minute.
I finish with the mop and head back to the laundry room to start the washer. She asks for her medicine. I yell, “Just a minute.”
I let the dogs out, change out of the robe that by now is way too warm, and come back to the dining room for her med box. She asks for her medicine again. I yell, “Give me a minute!” She tells me, “Never mind.”
Now, I yell not just for volume, but in anger and frustration, about all the things I had to do to clean up her room and how I can’t just give her her meds because I have to stand by to watch her so she doesn’t drop any on the floor for the dogs to get, all the while knowing that she can’t really hear anything I’m saying, only that she knows that I’m angry and yelling. I lean against the wall and take a couple of deep breaths.
I give her her meds. The dogs are barking from the backyard. I watch to make sure she takes every pill and doesn’t drop anything to her lap or the floor. I let the dogs in.
I finally get to fill my coffee cup. It’s 6:55 a.m.