This morning was the second morning in a row that I heard Mom up early and her walker scooting into the kitchen before I had heard the bathroom door opening. I hurried to let the dogs out and get in there before she’d settled into her chair at the table (it’s almost impossible to get her up once she’s sat down).
When Mom first moved in with me nine years ago, she was already having mild incontinence issues, but her solution was to use a wash cloth as a pad. As you might imagine, this was not an ideal choice. It’s part of what fooled me into thinking that she was taking a bath, as I was finding these tortured cloths in the laundry, and assumed they were being used for their intended purpose.
When I finally realized what was going on, I bought some incontinence pads from the store. Mom agreed to use them, but didn’t know anything about pulling the paper off the adhesive strip to secure them, and it just didn’t work out well. When I brought home the first package of Depends briefs, I was a little worried that she would reject them as something for “old people”, (the reason she gave me and my brother for over a decade as to why she didn’t want to look into getting hearing aids), but she thought they were a great idea. She didn’t seem to realize that such a thing existed, so I guess even with all the television she watched, the advertisers did not get their money’s worth with her.
Once even the most absorbent of the briefs available at the drugstore became sadly inadequate to the task, I took to the internet and Amazon. I now order the Tranquility Premium Protection, Maximum Protection, Premium Overnight disposable absorbent underwear for Mom to wear day and night. It is really a great product, and I would be doing a lot more laundry if they weren’t available.
We do our weekly grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon, usually around 4:00 or 4:30. Today, as I was finalizing this week’s menu and the shopping list, Steve asked me what time we would be leaving and I started feeling anxious and agitated. I didn’t know just what was going on, until I saw Mom had gotten dressed for the shopping trip, and we began the too-familiar script.
“Mom, did you change your Depends?” I ask.
“Yes, I did.”
“Just a little while ago, before I got dressed.”
Mom heads for the couch to put her shoes on and Steve reminds me about the hidden socks. I lean over the back of the couch to get the socks from behind the pillow, and I smell urine.
“Mom, I think your pants might not be clean.”
“My pants are fine.”
“I smell something. It smells like pee.”
“I don’t smell anything.”
“You can’t smell anything.”
“Can you get me some clean socks?”
I get the whiteboard off the fridge. I write: Something smells bad. I think it’s your pants. You need to change them.
She reads what I’ve written and tells me that she does not want to change her pants.
Then I write: If you don’t change your pants, you will not go to the store with us.
“Fine. I’ll change my pants.”
And as she stands up, I see that the back of her pants are wet from the saturated Depends that she didn’t actually change.
“And you have to change your Depends!”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, your pants are wet because you didn’t change like you told me you did.”
“Okay, I’ll change my Depends, too.”
All this, every week, so she can ride to the store, push her walker from the handicapped space to the bench in the front of supermarket, sit and wait while we shop, and then push her walker (slowly, oh, so slowly) back to the car.
I’d been thinking lately that I must be getting the Sunday Night Blues, which didn’t make much sense to me because I really like my job and the company I work for. Today it dawned on me that I have my very own version. Maybe I’ll call it the Sunday Shopping Blues.