We got our share of the Polar Vortex this week. Not only has it gotten down to 1 degree at night, but Tuesday we got about 4 inches of snow. The odd thing was that snow has been forecast several times without our getting any, but this time, there was no snow on the weather app I check in the mornings, but it started coming down around 9:30 or 10 a.m. Grandma’s aide was nervous about driving home, so she left about 11 – and ran into a ditch with boulders in it on her way home. She wasn’t hurt, but the front of her car was smashed in. She called her husband to pick her up and called AAA to get the car, who told them to leave it and go on home, because it would be a while before they could get out to it. So they did, and in the meantime another car ran off into the ditch and crashed into her car from behind. I’m glad she wasn’t in it at the time.
I didn’t know any of this was going on until later. Meanwhile, I was home with Grandma for the longest stretch I had ever been before. I also fed her lunch for the first time ever, and thankfully that went well.
For months now she has not been very verbal: she’ll answer questions, say something here or there, sometimes talk a bit more, but then fall silent again. But Monday night she kept giggling as we got ready for bed (we never did figure out what was so funny) and woke up talking off and on through the night. Tuesday morning she was in rare form, talking up a storm and laughing. By lunchtime she kept asking me if I had seen her daughter lately. Her daughter lives in ID and we’re in TN, so, no, I hadn’t seen her. By midafternoon she was asking if I knew where Jim was and if he could take her home. I tried to explain that she lived here now and had for five months, but we kept having the same conversation over and over. Finally I just started saying that Jim wasn’t home yet. By evening, she was wanting Jim to take her to her daughter’s. Instead of trying to straighten her thinking, he just kept telling her that it was snowing outside, so we were going to sleep here tonight. But again her mind kept running along the same track: when we tried to put her to bed, we couldn’t get to the door before she was calling out for Jim. Finally he positioned her so she could see the TV and turned on The Waltons, hoping to get her mind going in a different direction.
When we changed her Wed. morning, she kept saying, “How did you find me?” Jim teased, “I knew where to look!” and she laughed, but she kept running on that track for a while. Once the night before she asked if I had seen a blue pickup, and I said, “No, who owns a blue pickup?” She said, “My husband!” Jim said the blue pickup was from a long time ago, and then when she started asking about relatives who had passed away a long time ago, he realized that in her mind she had forgotten about moving here and having been in SC before we moved here. She asked at one point how in the world she ended up in TN. He got out a scrapbook a granddaughter had made for her of a get-together they had right before she left ID, and he talked to her about that and how we moved her to SC to live near us and then we all moved to TN. She seemed to understand.
Her aide wasn’t going to come in at all on Wed. both because she thought the roads would be icy plus she needed to take care of the details with her car. I was
a little antsy about spending the whole day alone with Grandma in light of the tracks of thought she kept getting stuck in the day before, but Wed. she was back to being mostly silent. She had been awake much more than usual for two days, but Wed. she slept most of the day. Jim and I have been scratching our heads trying to figure out what caused the difference for a day or two and what caused things to revert back again afterward. We have no idea!
I was glad to learn by experience that I could take care of Grandma alone if need be. I don’t think I could have when we first brought her home – I was too intimidated. Though I appreciated her aide anyway, I really appreciated her after she was gone for a day and a half! When I was alone with Grandma, even when was sleeping, there was almost a constant pressure to check on her and make sure she was doing ok, and it’s nice, when the aide is here, to be able let that go mentally.
Thankfully everyone else in the family was safe on the snowy roads: I was concerned about Jesse coming home from school since he’s not used to driving in the snow, but he was fine, although it took him over twice as long to make it and he said he did slide a few times.
It’s supposed to get into the high 40s Friday, which will be very welcome. I’m about ready for winter to be over.