The Night I Scolded Momma

I’m sick and tired.

I feel really bad. Not just because I’m truly sick (as in a horrible head cold with dizziness) and tired (as in haven’t had a great night’s sleep in what seems like forever). I feel really bad because last night I scolded Momma and sent her to bed. I actually scolded my Momma. I treated her a bit like she was a little child.

To be honest, she was acting like a little child. Coming up with every childlike excuse in the book as to why she was sitting in the kitchen at 1:00 a.m. She had pulled an all-nighter in the kitchen the night before, with me getting up four or five times to check on her. But tonight, I’d had enough. I needed some rest. I told her, perhaps a little too gruffly, that I was sick and I needed some sleep. I told her that she needed to go to bed so that I could go to bed.

“Well, you go on to bed,” Momma chirped, a little too brightly for 1:00 a.m. “I’m not a child. I’ll go to bed when I am ready.” With that, she picked up a book and feigned reading (she didn’t have her glasses on and there wasn’t enough light on to see what she was reading).

I planted my hands on my hips. “No, Momma. You need to go to bed NOW.”

“I need to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth.” Momma was stalling. She had already done both of those things.

“Okay, Momma. Go ahead. I’ll set your toothbrush up for you, but let’s do it right away so that I can go back to bed and know you’re safely in your own bed.”

Momma continued to stall for what, in my ill state, seemed like an hour. There is just no point in reasoning with someone who lives in an Alzheimer’s world. She doesn’t understand my concern for her safety. She doesn’t realize that I’m afraid she might fall or wander out the front door. She has no idea that she has Alzheimer’s and that she is now suffering from Sundowner’s, a symptom in Alzheimer’s best described as an upset in the internal body clock which makes her mix up her days and nights.

Somewhat exasperated, I scolded, “Momma. You need to go to bed NOW. If you have to pee and brush your teeth, that’s fine. I’ll wait for you in your room.”

A few minutes later, she scootched into her room with her walker. She didn’t stop in the bathroom, so I asked her (with as much gentleness in my voice as I could muster), “Do you need to use the bathroom and brush your teeth?”

“No, Cindie! I’m not a child.” Momma plopped on the bed, obviously mad at me, then slipped her shoes off and pulled her legs up into bed.

“Goodnight, Momma. I love you more than your realize right now. Thank you for going to bed so that I can get some sleep and get to feeling better.”

With that, I turned off her lamp and closed the drapery that serves as her bedroom door, and then took a different route back to the kitchen so I could turn off the light over the kitchen sink, hoping that the darkness would make it less likely for her to be lured back in there a few minutes from now.

Fighting another dizzy spell as I laid my head on my pillows, I pulled the blankets up over my tired body, then laid on my side and watched Momma on the wifi monitor I keep on the nightstand. She wasn’t sleeping. She tossed and turned and I could hear her grumbling. But she was in bed…at least she was in bed. I picked up my phone and clicked on my Bible app and listened to the narrator read from the Psalms until I drifted off to sleep again.

Why do I share this with you?

This is some of the tough stuff that happens when you choose to provide care for someone with Alzheimer’s in your own home. It’s the reason why caregivers need a break from the responsibility from time to time. I’m thankful for the support system I have in my husband, our daughter Beth, our Friday night caregiver Kathryn, our Sunday morning caregiver Kathi, my sister Vivian, and a sprinkling of friends who help out from time to time. Without them, I couldn’t do this.

And I’m thankful this morning that, with Alzheimer’s, last night is forgotten. Momma still loves me.

 

Author: barefootlilylady

Wife of one, mother of 2+2, and Grandma of 6 (3 girls and 3 boys!) and full-time caregiver for my sweet Momma with Alzheimer's. Passionate about Jesus, grandkids, Awana Clubs, gardens, quilts and cooking.

5 thoughts on “The Night I Scolded Momma”

  1. Hi. My mom has early stage of Alzheimer’s. I’m also guilty of scolding her sometimes. She also forgets that we had a tense moment and she loves me also like nothing happened.

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    1. Thanks for introducing yourself. Walking alongside someone you love who is afflicted with Alzheimer’s can take you down paths you never imagined traveling. Some of those paths are lined with worry and concern. But, take heart, there are paths which lead to joy. Watch for the joy in each day. It’s sometimes hidden beneath a veil of tears, but it is always there. I’d love to have you come along as a follower on my journey with my mom. Perhaps you can glean from the lessons I learn and find your journey just a little bit easier. Take care, Winnie.

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      1. I am so thankful for people like you who shares this kind of journey. Yes, it’s so sad whenever I see my mom struggling. I have been trying to coax her to live with us but she does not want to leave the home that she and my father established. The only thing that is comforting is that my single sister still lives with her. Thank you for your support ❤️.

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  2. I am ashamed to say I have done this too. I am the single sister that takes care of mom. My sister is 500miles away and other than Christmas, we don’t see her…i have no support. I’m alone in this. My friendships suffer, no prospect of dating, and go from 0 to biatch in 5secs flat. I am so glad to read your blog. Thank you

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    1. Oh, Marta, my heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine doing this without the support of others. I’m so glad you found my blog and hope that it helps you along the way. I would invite you to please hit the “follow” button and you’ll receive an email whenever I post something new.

      One thing I’m finding to be of great encouragement and support is to stop waiting for help to come to me. I’ve been inviting friends to join me in my home. Have breakfast or lunch together (evenings can be a trickier, more intimidating time), watch a movie, or do a craft together. When they actually see what I’m doing with my mom, those who are true friends tend to have compassion and will volunteer to help, or ask if there is some way they can help. When they ask, I start small. “Could you come for an hour or two and hang out with Momma so I can take a walk and then take a shower without worrying about her?” If that goes well and the offer of future help remains, I might ask her to hangout with Momma for 2 or 3 hours so I can grocery shop and get my hair cut.

      Sometimes friends want to help, but just don’t know how, and may think they need special qualifications. If I can help you with other suggestions, just let me know. In the meanwhile, find some way to take care of YOU.

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