Sooooo, MIL has been in the care home for just over a week now – we had heard early on that she’d been “restless” and “wanting to go home” from early on, and had (predictably) not taken well to the fact she couldn’t come and go (one hundred times a day) as she pleased. So far, so expected.
We had no option but to go round on Friday evening to retrieve her keys for a flat clearance / industrial clean job on her assisted living place that was scheduled for the next morning (wanted to cut off any possibility of return as soon as possible – as remote a possibility as that seems).
We had hoped to pick up the keys, drop off another suitcase and run – but no such luck, as she was passing by and homed straight in…
I won’t forget the look on her face when we arrived in a hurry – utter joy and relief, as if she’d thought for some reason that we were never going to see us again. And of course, she straight away assumed that we’d come to take her home…
She was in a terrible state – all over the place, head in hands, shaking, tears, and unable to express herself coherently – just saying saying it’s “a dreadful place” and “it’s all gone wrong” and (repeatedly) “are we taking her home now…?”. She still thinks she is playing bowls (canned years ago), and doesn’t actually know where home is when you ask her – only that she’s “in a wrong place” and would rather be with “you and wotsit” (no chance!). Pacing, fretting, anxious, agitated, and a word I’ve never used in relation to her before – tortured. Truly tortured, tormented, in absolute anguish.
She clearly needs to be there – of that there is no doubt, but she is at the moment clearly the least far along person in the home in many ways, and the only one seemingly not content to just sit placidly in a chair and stare vacantly at the TV. It’s so cruel that this is a woman who has zero short-term memory, drinks shampoo, boils cornflakes, eats cat food sandwiches, flushes pants down the toilet, and who left to her own devices would quickly run out of food or poison herself with moldy fridge items or chemical fluid within days… And yet, she has the awareness to understand – at least in part – where she is at the moment, and that she is trapped there for the foreseeable.
I can only hope that it was our presence that generated that level of agitation – though apparently she has been like this to a lesser or greater extent for most of the last week.
Come Monday, I’ll be pushing to get her on whatever drugs are necessary to get her to a calmer and happier place. I know it’s very, very early days, and far too soon for her to have realistically settled in as yet – but, even so, I’d still rather she was a zonked out zombie than the cowering wreck she is right now…
As horrible as it was to see her like that, the strange thing is that OH and I have both somehow managed to compartmentalise since. In fact, we’ve had one of our better weekends of late – as if we’re feeling more ourselves again after all the trauma of late, and the clouds are finally beginning to part.
I now I feel bad for not feeling bad. Or at least not bad enough.