Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Things I learned recently at my mom's new nursing home

In January, all ice is slippy, even in parking lots full of old people who might drive over a woman who is lying on the slippy ice, thinking "I've fallen and I can't get up.  This can't be happening to me . . . again . . . and are those stars or cartoon birds circling my head?"

And I would like to note that as far as the sandwich generation goes, I think I am the mayonnaise.  Never be a condiment when you could have been a staple, right?  Grease is generally the wrong choice, do you agree?

My aging parents are aging out quickly - I have been having regular conversations with my daughters that Grandma may not be around much longer.  Worse still, the nightly Claire cuddle and discussion to run down the key points of her day all too often involves me spending too much time explaining things that defy explanation - heaven, death, reincarnation, how the baby Jesus fits in all this, why we need inside voices in the nursing home chapel when it has such lovely acoustics for making echos, and why the "outdoor" baby Jesus has now disappeared from the front entrance to the (Catholic run) nursing home in which we have recently installed my mother.  It was actually pretty hard to explain the fake manger alone, since "no room at the Inn" seems so unlikely given the number of Holiday Inn Express locations we pass regularly.  The Magi also presented some challenges, showing up at the drop off driveway late, as they did, and with non-matching head coverings. 

I don't like holding someone else's teeth.  Under any circumstances and regardless of how much it helps a really demanding and nutty old lady . . . I really hate touching the dentures.  Fake teeth are somewhat distressing but fake gums . . . that just isn't right right.  Mom had just been fairly sweet and my sister and I were feeling somewhat sympathetic when she asked us to glue her dentures back in since someone who had recently done the job had failed to use enough adhesive.  I quailed at the thought.  Some of my worst teen aged hangovers were those I had when I still slept at my parents house and would use the bathroom they used and have to use their sinks.  I will never be able to forget what spilled powdered denture adhesive does in a sink. (Tell your kids - this is yet one more reason to go to college: so one might have the kind of job that provides dental insurance so one can have implants and not be limited to dentures.  Yay, me!  Yay college! Yay Law School! Yay!!!) Powdered adhesive might come out of the bottle green but it is made to look like the gums it adheres to - so the overspray of green Fasteeth powder would hit the water droplets in the sink and make little globs of pale pink fake gum tissue, glistening in the sink all day long. Possibly all week long unless someone was motivated.  Hungover teenagers are not motivated to remove disgusting things from sinks, they just gag and try to move on.  Or move out, and in with a boyfriend.  I digress, though.  My mother now uses adhesive that looks a lot more like toothpaste and that is a distinct improvement since I was not required to handle even a little bit of fake gum tissue.  My sister and I shared the odious task.

I am so glad I am not a CNA.

Other Grandmas in the nursing home are jealous of my Mom's grand kids coming in so often, and frequently try to get a handhold of young girl as they run by.

Claire and Hannah are not as afraid of arthritically misshapen hands coming at their heads as I might have expected them to be.  I think they know that all these other Grandmas are truly interested in getting up close and personal and so they exploit it by smiling and shouting and then pretending to be shy.  When my family members pretend to be shy (or suddenly are) they get a lot closer to me.  I am a little tired of just how far up my butt Hannah can stuff her head when it is time to hide.  Somehow I still get surprised.  But if Lord Honey tries that at the next party we go to I really will strangle him, because I am pretty well done with head up my butt syndrome - this is where I put my head after all, and my butt is not that big.  I have been losing weight, people.  This is a one head butt.  No room at the Inn. 


  1. Great anecdotes etc. I am the whole sandwich, save for occasional visits from the prodigal son (who lives in Florida).

    my mom has been in an asst living /alzh. wing place for just over a year now. I too am so glad to not be a CNA.