6:18 am – Mom is up before my alarm, having awakened and turned hers off. I hear her in the kitchen and hurry to let the dogs out and get in there. By the time I make it, she has already poured her own coffee and dribbled half-and-half on the floor. Gracie will take care of that shortly.
6:20 am – I feed the dogs.
6:22 am – I hear “clickety-click-click” and turn to see one of Mom’s pills from yesterday morning come to rest on the floor behind her as she settles into her chair. Where has it been hiding since this time yesterday? Who knows? I pick it up and show it to her, explain where it came from, and try to reinforce the idea that she needs to put ONE PILL AT A TIME in her mouth. She says, “Okay.” “Okay, what?” “Okay, whatever you said.”
6:25 am – I get Mom’s morning meds for her. I stand by to make sure she takes ONE PILL AT A TIME. Towards the end, she grabs two. I bend down, holding up one finger – “ONE PILL AT A TIME!”. She nods and sets her pill cup aside because she can’t see the last bright orange pill against the bottom of the bright orange cup. I tell her there’s still one left. She feels around the bottom of the cup three time before finding it. She asks if she should take the one from yesterday that I found on the floor. I tell her no and throw it away.
6:30 am – I let the dogs out after their breakfast.
6:33 am – I fill my coffee cup and settle at my desk for morning journaling.
6:36 am – I hear Gracie barking and let the dogs back inside.
6:42 am – The dogs bark at a passerby.
6:48 am – The dogs bark as our neighbor across the street backs his car out of his driveway.
6:59 am – I open the front blinds. Too early to wake Mom from her doze on the couch, as she will tell me she’s waiting for 7:05. Or 7:06. Or some other arbitrary time.
7:13 am – I arrange Mom’s walker straight in front of her and wake her so she can get up to go get dressed. She gathers up all the paper napkins (five? six?) she’s arranged across the middle couch cushion to transfer them to the basket on her walker. I take them from her and throw them away, along with the one on the lamp table that Gracie is waiting to chew up when no one is looking. I walk over to the dining table to put exactly three paper napkins in the napkin holder by her seat at the table. I notice the coffee spill from her overfilled cup on my white and pastel striped tablecloth.
7:15 am – Mom calls from the bathroom because she has no toilet paper. I ignore the ringing phone and let the confirmation call for her ride service go to voice mail. There are three or four such in my voicemail box from other days.
7:20 – I hear Mom come out of the bathroom and enter her bedroom. I retrieve three pairs of socks from under one of her Bingo prize pillows on the couch and make it to her room just in time to put them in the hamper along with the clothes from yesterday that she is reaching for to put on again today. “No, Mom. Get clean clothes from your closet.”
7:32 – Mom comes out of her room so she can sit on the couch and see out the window while she puts her socks and shoes on. She looks at me, smiles, and says, “Peek-aboo! I see you!” I smile back and wave.
7:36 am – I take a chance at brushing my teeth and hear the dog alarm go off. Mom’s ride has arrived. I rinse my mouth and go to the living room, where the dogs are barking and jumping at the door, and Mom is watching TV. Can she really not hear them or is she too involved in I Love Lucy to notice? I can’t tell. I open the door to the studio so the dogs can run in there to bark. I close the door behind them. “Mom, your ride is here!”
7:40 am – I comb Mom’s hair in the back as she makes her way to the front door. I open the door for her. “You have a good day and I’ll see you when we get home. Tell Steve to have a good day, too. Night-night!” I wait until Mom makes the step down off the porch with her walker, then wave to the driver, Walt. I close the front door behind her. I let the dogs out of the studio. They run to bark at Walt through the front window. Now, it’s my turn to get ready for the day.