Along with the physical and mental reawakening Mom has experienced with the change to her medications, she’s also become quite feisty. She yells at the nurses and deliberately tries to do her own thing. Today, on arriving for a visit with her, my dad watched as at first she refused to walk outside the building to meet him. When she finally saw that it was her “lovely” husband who had come to visit, she wanted to walk directly to him rather than to the designated visiting spot with mandated social distancing.
I, too, had a funny experience when I went to visit her last week. Mom wasn’t so much feisty as she was innocently curious. After we sat down in our seats at either end of a long table, Mom suddenly saw her hand’s shadow.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“That’s your shadow,” I explained. “The sun is right behind you and your hand is making a shadow on the table.”
“What is a shadow?” she asked.
Wow, I thought, Mom is like a child. She has no prior knowledge or memory of learning about the world. Rather than try to explain it to her, I cracked a joke.
“It’s a shadow of your former self,” I said.
“No,” she answered, “I’m not my former self. I’m right here.”
Right on! I thought, laughing.
She waved her hand about for a few more seconds then lost interest in her shadow. She tried instead to wipe off the pattern of the Formica on the table. I decided to distract her by singing a song.
There are many factors in finding the right dose of medicine for an individual, including body weight, metabolism, and age. Generally, as we age, our metabolism slows down. Which means that medicine will break down and become reactive more slowly in our bodies when we’re older. Decisions must be made about amounts of prescribed drugs, and how frequently to take them. The same drug manufactured by different companies may likewise impact dosage due to slight discrepancies in the way it behaves. A doctor prescribing medicine for an elder Alzheimer’s patient is also hobbled by not being able to receive feedback from her patients as to how the meds might make them feel.
I would rate our visit last week as quite successful. Mom interacted with me, sang with me, expressed curiosity and a fluidity of language, and didn’t fall asleep once. As she was being led back into the building, she tried to make her own way but her two escorts guided her in without too much fuss. I’m praying that the staff are able to handle her fluctuating moods and turn any anger into a more muted communication. In any case, we prefer having her be spirited and talkative rather than feeble and lethargic. It sure makes for more satisfying visits.
My wonderful daughter Liora came over and made us soup for dinner! This corn soup tastes exactly like the soup I remember having in various Chinese restaurants. Maybe one day I’ll eat out in a restaurant again, but until then, this will do splendidly.
Liora’s Corn Soup
Watching Liora cook is an experience. She barely measures ingredients so everything listed below is an approximation. She cooks with her senses. I guess that’s why she’s such a good cook.
2 560 gram / 19 oz cans of sweet corn
5 cups water
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp chicken soup powder
2 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper
Puree one can of corn in a blender with liquid. Drain second can. Place contents of blender and drained can in a large pot with four cups of water. Bring to boil then simmer. Dissolve corn starch and chicken soup powder in remaining cup of water, preferably boiling, and add to soup. Stir until smooth. Simmer in covered pot for 15 to 20 minutes. Add soy sauce and oil, and salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl or glass, break both eggs and scramble. Slowly pour egg into soup, stirring constantly until egg is cooked.
Photo by Liora Green