Unstuck in Time

Sonic Book Alarm Clock 2017-09-15 06.52.46
Mom’s alarm clock-cum-cash register display

We live in one of the areas of Florida most gently affected by Hurricane Irma, but were still left without power for the past five days. Between Mom’s day center closing in the days leading up to the hurricane, and it remaining closed until its power came back a couple of days before ours, Mom has been bored, sitting on the couch, being waited on because we didn’t want her trying to eat in our very dark dining room. We weren’t thinking about it at the time, but her inactivity for the past week was not the best thing.

When we told her Wednesday evening that she would be going back to the center on Thursday, she was happy, but then started worrying about how she’d get up in time while we were still without power and her alarm wouldn’t work. I told her to not worry, that I would wake her up. She woke me up at 1:30 am, calling me to her room to find out the time and if it was time to get up. I was grumpy and told her to go back to sleep. She wake me again around 6 am (half-an-hour before my alarm was set to go off), not calling out for me but asking imaginary people if they were paying with cash or charge. When I got to her room, she was sitting up, moving her hand along the slats of her headboard, and told me that she couldn’t get the card reader to work.

I tried to reorient her, but never really succeeded. Somehow, in the night, the worry about getting up in time to go to the center had morphed into being worried about getting to her cashiering job on time, the job she retired from a decade ago.

Yesterday morning, for her first day back at the center, it took both me and my niece helping her to get her dressed and ready. After she was dressed, she moved to sit down on the couch and missed it completely, plopping down on the floor on her bottom. Although she didn’t fall any farther, didn’t hit her head or anything, Vickie said it seemed to jar her quite a bit. We helped her up and she seemed okay. “I didn’t hit my head, just my butt!”

I called the center to let them know that she had missed her bath the night before, due to our power still being out, and asked if they might work a bath into her schedule that day. I also mentioned her fall and her heightened confusion. The nursing staff called back later to get the details of her fall, and they mentioned that she was still talking about working at the grocery store “one town over” and were going to assess her for a possible UTI, which can cause extreme confusion in the elderly.

Last night at dinner (in the A/C, with the lights on – Hooray!), Mom was very animated and talkative, telling us all about all the people who came through the line at the grocery and her interactions with the customers and her store managers. We thought settling her down for a good night’s rest would make all the difference, but instead, over the next 3-4 hours, she would periodically call out the time on her alarm clock as the minutes changed over, thinking it was her cash register display, and talk to the customers she thought she was ringing up. She would quieten down for a few minutes, and we’d think she had fallen asleep when it would start up again.

When I got up this morning, Mom’s alarm didn’t go off. I went to check and it was unplugged–my niece’s solution since I guess Mom continued even after I went to bed. When I tried to get Mom up, she woke up just enough to tell me she was going to sleep some more and wasn’t going to get up to go anywhere, and said something about her customers. I guess she’s still unstuck in time. And so it goes.

I hope we get her back soon.