I finally was able to visit my Nana yesterday. It had been a few weeks and the guilt was eating me alive. In my defence I did attempt to visit twice only to find her out on activities but I really like to see her once a week at least. It’s just with Daughter Number Two and the Current Person of Interest violently ill I thought I should steer clear of the Aged Care Facility for a while. Then it has been one thing after another, including two unsuccessful visit attempts.
Anyway, yesterday I made it. Nana was at an in-house exercise class. When I tapped her on the shoulder she smiled at me, and said ‘Hello’ and then her attention drifted back to the class and she continued on with her exercises like I popped up at her shoulder everyday. With some encouragement, from me and a staff member, she was persuaded to join me for a coffee at the little cafe there that opens twice a week. I indulged her with a caramel tart topped with real cream. She was very pleased with it. The cream, by her account, was delicious and she remarked that she had never had a little tart like this before. She also told me she can’t remember the last time she was sick and how lucky she is to keep good health. I guess that is the upside to the Alzheimer’s game. Every caramel tart is the first one she’s ever had and she really cannot remember being in ill health. Not a bad deal.
I am always heartened that she remembers us when we visit. I fear the day when she won’t. For the moment though there is comfort in her recognition of us and in her enjoyment of little things. She introduced me to a friend, Lillian, three times. Lillian stopped off at the table to tell me how lucky I am to have such a lovely lady for my Nana and I agreed with her that I was. I am glad Nana has found a friend but not surprised at all!
When I walked Nana back to her room it was lunchtime and she was not keen on joining everyone for lunch at all. She became quite childlike but I remained firm- a caramel tart and a coffee does not lunch make! When she finally gave in to my persistent encouragement she poked her tongue out at me before grumbling all the way to the table. ‘But Nana, it smells so nice! I can smell mashed potato!’ ‘Oh, potato? Ugh!’ I didn’t stay long enough to find out what the rest of the meal would be- I had to pick up Daughter Number Two- but I’ve found that if something is put in front of her she will eat it, especially with the peer pressure of people eating at the same table. While I don’t like to nag or baby Nana I also don’t like her skipping meals, she is so very frail now there is really nothing in reserve.
One day at a time. One visit at a time. Yesterday was a good visit and it was really great to finally see her.