Several people have asked for a transcription of the words on my quilt that chronicle Mom's journey into Alzheimer's, from the very first signs of the disease until I had to move her into an Alzheimer's facility.
I have most of them here. Next time I see the quilt, I'll add the rest.
Please note: These comments include "adult" language.
1. Mom wrote notes to herself and taped them all over the kitchen cupboard near the phone and on the lamp shade in her office. She must have written hundreds of notes to herself.
2. Mom saw colors that weren't' there. White was purple or orange. She was amused at first. Later she thought that people had painted her room and everything in it.
3. There was snow on the ground but the roads were clear and dry. Mom overshot her right hand turn by 20 feet and purposely drove up onto the snow-covered grass. She said the road might have been slippery.
4. Because of a flat tire we asked Mom to meet us at the airport rather than pick her up at home. She had driven to the airport many times before. She got so lost we had to talk her in turn by turn on the cell phone.
5. Mom said she could not remember anything. Her doctor told her to buy a tape recorder. She did but never recorded a single message because she couldn't learn how to work it.
6. Mom was driving to pick up her new car at the dealer. She merged into the left hand turn lane. Except there was no left hand turn lane. We were stopped, on the wrong side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
7. Casual conversation with the people in the pew behind us in church: "Ami, remember when your friend exposed his genitalia to everybody?" (No, Mom.)
8. When Mom lived by herself she evidently invited a clerk from Radio Shack to come to her house to see her orchids because he told her he liked to garden. She told me this as we waited in line to check out.
1. She told me her back was bothering her so she laid down on the floor of K-Mart.
2. We took Mom to the Old Country Buffet for dinner. She took a spoonful of mashed postatoes from the buffet line and put it on her plate. Then she decided she didn't want any after all and put it back!
7. Mom was an excellent cook — everything was from scratch. Fast food was so beneath her. Now her favorite meal is box of chicken fingers from Wendy's.
8. Mom put a slice of bread on the metal tray from the toaster oven. Then she microwaved it. Miraculously, nothing blew up or caught fire.
1. Mom's 19-year-old cat finally died. We found it on the floor in Mom's bathroom, wrapped in fabric scraps, with the back of its head carefully nestled in the water dish. Mom said it was thirsty.
2. Mom can't identify the food on her plate. Potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, or bananas, it's all a mystery to her.
7. "What's with the flu? I just looked up and there is something pushing around in the grace." She saw a leaf fly by the sliding door.
8. Mom walked into the living room one afternoon carrying a puppy! Unbeknownst to us, she had "rescued" a puppy from its pen in the far corner of the neighbor's yard. It was hot. (Buster is part Pit Bull.)
1. Mom was convinced the dog had to pee every 12 minutes. She needed to let him out. The poor dog always obliged and now his bladder has shrunk to the size of a thimble.
8. We didn't let Mom cook unsupervised after she slid a pot of soup from one burner over to another and unknowingly caught the hot pad on fire.
1. Mom enjoyed soft boiled eggs but we had to supervise when she cooked them. She timed her "2 minute egg" from the moment she walked into the kitchen, not when the egg hit the boiling water.
8. "Mom, do you have your seat belt on?" "Yes." Translation: I'm thinking about putting it on and now that you mention it I will. Shortly.
1. Steve put handrails all over the house and yard to keep Mom safer. They seemed somehow magically able to repel her and she would search out an alternate path going out of her way to avoid them.
8. When the cat had an "accident" Mom cleaned it up by squirting liquid dish soap directly on the carpet. Lots of it. It took several hours with the carpet cleaning machine to get all the suds out.
1. Mom poured about 10 one-liter bottle of Seta Color fabric paint down the drain and refilled the bottles with water. She said, "It tasted bad. He tasted the wine and I didn't like the way it smelled."
2. "How are the kids?" (Jennie is our only child.)
3. No lyrics, but the tune is still there. Harmony too.
4. "You haven't fed me in three weeks! I'm starving!"
5. It's not easy to get shoes on the correct feet.
6. "I'd like to lie down now; where's my room?"
7. Mom can't sign her name or dial the phone.
8. Before I left on a teaching trip Mom always sent me off with a, "Give 'em hell, Baby." Now she says, "Kill 'em!" (I know what she means.)
1. After Mom forgot how to sew quilt tops, I cut 6" squares for her to sew. To save fabric I secretly loaded her bottom with water soluble thread. I soaked, ironed, and gave the same patches back to her the next day.
2. At breakfast one morning Mom stuck out her hand to introduce herself to my husband of 28 years. "Hi, I'm Bee."
3. "Somebody took all my bras. I wouldn't mind if they just asked me first, Goddamnit!"
4. Mom often forgot to wear her glasses. When she was agitated it was better not to remind her. "Those aren't my glasses. If you think they're so good, YOU wear them!" she said as she hurled them at me.
5. Mom was convinced that my husband was painting her room at night while she slept. Steve painted the walls, the floor, her bed, clothes, and quilts. Even the dog. "Look at what he did! He's ruined it all! Just look at it!"
6. Mom tried to "escape" at 3am. The front and back doors were open; it was 20° out. She was waiting for someone to take her home. When Steve took her outside to see nobody was there Mom just said, "She's gone, the bitch!"
7. She awoke in the middle of the night and came to find me. She said she had been kidnapped and tortured. She had tied fabric strips around her chest, under her arms, and around her waist.
8. After nearly 4½ years of caring for Mom in our home, I moved her into an Alzheimer's unit on January 20, 2006. I had no idea how stressful caring for her had become until I turned those duties over to someone else.