Tuesday 28 June 2022

The World of Mom

This blog is in danger of turning into a blog about my mother and the dementia that rules both our lives. I don't want that to happen.

But occasionally something funny will happen. Sort of funny. Okay, funny and frustrating in equal measure.

And I am here to inflict it on you.

My mother wears slippers something like these, but in a tan colour and in much clearer focus:

Giving new meaning to the phrase "fuzzy slippers"



Never mind that they are completely unsupportive of her poor, bunion-deformed feet; they are what she wants to wear and have I ever mentioned that my mother is contrary an independent thinker?

So when the bottom started wearing off one of her current slippers, I started hunting for a replacement pair.

The reality of living in a small town where retailers have melted away over the years means that I had two stores to buy from, WalMart and the dollar store. The upside of buying dollar store slippers, by the way, is that no two pairs are exactly the same length, due - I assume - to quality control issues. Because dollar store quality.

Since the dollar store slippers cost only $3, I bought the two pair that looked largest for their stated size and took them home for her to try on.

She tried the first pair on and they fit!

But they were pink, so she wouldn't wear them because she didn't want to get them dirty.

The other pair, which was black, did not fit; they were just a bit too short.

I went back to the dollar store and bought another two pair, both in dark colours. They had gotten fresh supplies in and there were more to choose from.

Neither pair fit.

So then I went to WalMart and bought another black pair in her usual size and a pair in a larger size.

The usual size was too short and the larger ones fell off when she walked.

Finally the bottom fell off her old slipper completely, and she was walking on the felt inner layer, which was very slippery. After some heated arguing back and forth I took she allowed me to take those slippers home to put in the garbage (I was afraid if I left them in her garbage she would dig them back out and take a fall while wearing them) and she found an old, too-short pair of slippers in her closet to wear until ... well, until a miracle happened, I guess.

Meanwhile, I had the bright idea that if I washed the too-short WalMart slippers and then put a slightly larger pair of shoes inside them while they dried, they might stretch enough to fit.

Today I took the stretched slippers to her to try on.

First I heard the story (and I can assure you it was not for the first or even the hundredth time) of how she is left-handed and therefore needs a larger shoe for her left foot and she has always had to buy her left shoes specially made (note: she has not) and where did I buy these slippers anyhow because she bought her last ones at the dollar store and they were the best slippers ever and the cashier gave her a third slipper because it was just lying around and the woman said she might as well have it. (I have actually looked in her closet for a third slipper to match the others but failed to find it.)

As she was talking, she was trying on the slippers.

At first she said they were too short. She was still sitting, and her feet were jammed forward in them, so I suggested she try walking in them.

Instead, she said maybe if she switched them to the opposite feet they might fit. Which she did. And they didn't.

The left one was still too short. Cue the story of the dollar store slippers again.

I suggested again that she try walking in them. Again she responded by switching the slippers to the opposite feet.

Still too short. What are the odds, people? Cue the story of the dollar store slippers AGAIN.

Finally she switched the slippers to the opposite feet again and announced that . . . THEY FIT!!!

It was like a comedy routine except my head hurt by the time we were done.

I am under no illusion that the slipper saga is over yet, and fully expect that when I visit her at suppertime to do her eye drops she will be wearing the old ones and trash-talking the new ones. Meanwhile, a perfectly-fitting pair of pink slippers languishes in her closet.

Also in footwear-related topics, the geriatric doctor has just recommended she be fitted for supportive shoes for indoor and outdoor use.

Another hurdle to jump. She doesn't believe in indoor shoes, because slippers are easier to put on and shoes track in dirt. You and I both know that the solution to the dirt problem is to buy two pair, one for inside and one for outside. But it will be hard enough to get her to buy one pair, let alone two.

The geriatric doctor likes to tell caregivers that they can blame him for anything the dementia patient gets upset over. He chuckles indulgently and says he doesn't mind being the bad guy. I refrain from telling him that my mother doesn't give a sweet care about whether he says to do something or not.

She is, my friends, an independent thinker.


Funnies! Let us have some.

Today's theme is signs, because all the signs above point to Donkey having a mental breakdown and I want to replace those signs with better ones.

(I believe El Arroyo is a Texas restaurant. I don't know how the food is but the sign person is to be commended.)


Hope you're having a good week, in spite of the craziness that's going on in the world.




Elephant's Child said...

LOVE those signs. And resemble more than one of them.
My mother too was an independent thinker. An independent thinker who was very quick to hand out blame if any of those thoughts had negative consequences.
Huge hugs. And much love.

dinthebeast said...

Could you perhaps dye the pink ones black?

-Doug in Sugar Pine

jenny_o said...

Elephant's Child: Me, too (resemble more than one of the signs, that is). I hear you about the blame from the independent thinker :) I'll take those hugs and I'll send mine to you in equal measure, dear friend.

Doug: I wish I had thought of that at the beginning! My guess is that Mom would not be pleased about that solution now, though. She wants to keep them "for good". I was just at her house a few minutes ago and when I asked how the (black) slippers were, she said, They're FINE. And the tone told me I'd better not ask again :D

Anonymous said...

I kept a straight face until I read of the 'third slipper'. Gender reveal party, haha.

Boud said...

One of those episodes that sound hilarious in the telling, not so much in the living.

Red said...

Usually thee are no winners dealing with the irrational. It is most frustrating.

Joanne Noragon said...

Great funnies. Mom, not so funny.

messymimi said...

Heeheehee! The signs, not you and your mother, although that's going to be amusing to you in hindsight. Expected to be staying in the car is a great way to describe my style.

37paddington said...

37paddington: thanks for the laughs, several of them! Suggest leaving the pink slippers out where your mom can rediscover them.

River said...

Take home the perfectly fitting pink slippers and have them dyed a different colour at the shoe repair shop or wherever does things like that, Meanwhile remove the felt inner sole from the old ones if you still have them, trace around them on stiff cardboard, cut out the size, mark them left and right and use that as a guide when buying new ones again.

"In 20 years our country will be run by people homeschooled by day drinkers" sounds horrifying, but could actually happen.

Martha said...

It does sound like a comedy skit but I imagine it is frustrating. Still, you managed to find some humour in there to keep you from losing your mind! Thanks for the funnies. I sure can use them these days.

Marie Smith said...

You were right. Funny but sad at the same time.

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Your morther sounds like a strong-willed child when I read this. And what's charming in a 6 year old is - like not fun at all - in an older person. I laughed loudly over some of your fumnnies. That place has humour!

jenny_o said...

Andrew: I can't decide if the third slipper actually happened or not!

Boud: Yep, you got it :)

Red: It's a constant struggle on my end.

Joanne: The mental energy required to deal with the behavior wears me out.

Mimi: That's my style, too. lol

37paddington: They are in plain sight and she knows they are there - she still doesn't want to wear them. She's right, of course, they would be dirty in no time because she wears her slippers indoors and out! What can you do, right? :)

River: Mom would have a fit if I did that. She doesn't like people doing things without consulting her. That's not part of the dementia, though; it's her personality. The combination is hard to deal with. My strongest wish is to never be like that myself.

Martha: Where would we be without humour? In a mental ward, that's where :D

Marie: So much!

Charlotte: Exactly. Her behavior is so much like a toddler, but whereas a parent has ultimate control over a toddler, I have none. The only thing I can do sometimes is just leave and try again later.

Steve Reed said...

Those signs are awesome!

I'm sorry about your mom and the shoe thing. That's got to be incredibly frustrating. I'm trying to think of a way to convince her to wear the pink ones. What if you dyed them? Is that even possible?

Steve Reed said...

Oh, just saw Doug's comment and your response. Great minds think alike! LOL

jenny_o said...

Steve: Great minds, indeed! I might have been able to do that right at the beginning (or not) but now she has plans for them and those plans do not involve giving them back to me for any reason. lol

Mary said...

Thanks for the laughs. Having spent a year virtual schooling with my then six year old grandson back in 2020/2021 was almost enough reason for me to start drinking. However, I did refrain. We did have more than a few of the kind of conversations you have had with your mother in recent times (arrgghhh)...sorry you are not having much of a laughable time with her. Perhaps the next time her shoes are a bit too big, an inexpensive (thin)padded insert might help.

Mike said...

I too came here to suggest a die job for the pinks.

Diane Henders said...

Yikes, the slipper fiasco had me holding my head in sympathy for your headache. The signs gave me a good chuckle, though. It takes a special talent to come up with zingers like that!

kylie said...

I love the signs! and actually laughed out loud at many.

Your story sounds just like my contrary, oops independent thinking, mother. who as far as we know, is dementia free

jenny_o said...

Mary: I can only imagine the stresses involved with virtual schooling with very young students (or for that matter, with uninterested teenagers) - kudos for getting through that year! A shoe insole or insert is something Mom does use for shoes, but these were very soft and pliable slippers and they were also literally falling off her feet! Not good :)

Mike: Well, something felt like it died but I think that was just my spirit :D

Diane: I'm not sure they were original as I've seen some of them elsewhere, but it takes commitment to find the quotes and then change all those little letters. lol

jenny_o said...

kylie: That's really interesting to me, because I keep trying to figure out how much of my mom's behavior is from dementia and how much is just her personality. I mean, I did grow up with her, and I know a certain amount of it is personality, it just seems so, so much worse now. Was she always like that and filtered it better, or has she become MORE like that as she gets older? How about your mom - is the behavior getting worse with age?

kylie said...

Yea, I don't know. I go round and round with those questions. Was she always this bad? She was always like she is but for a long time I thought her behaviour was normal, Stockholm Syndrome if you like.
I sometimes think my mum has cognitive deficits and sometimes I think she is just focussed on herself and doesn't listen. And twists things to suit herself.

I am becoming so that the only subject I talk about to my family is how hard I find it to try to help my parents so I get what you mean about the blog becoming a dementia story.

Mum was recently in hospital and complained that there was jam on her breakfast tray and she only eats marmalade at breakfast. My first thought was I don't remember her ever being such a princess but then I realise that she pretty much always manages to control every situation she's in so she might have always been like that. maybe the only reason she hasn't complained about jam at breakfast is because she always makes her breakfast. if you know what I mean....
Someone said they focus more on stupid stuff as their world shrinks, which might also be the case.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Oh yes, I love those signs Jenny. Whoever makes them brings a little cheer into people's lives. As for the slippers, maybe you need Prince Charming to call round. When he slips the glass slippers onto your mum's feet he will declare "She shall go to the ball!" and your mum will giggle bashfully like a schoolgirl. Prince Charming is so charming.

jenny_o said...

kylie: Oh, my - you could be talking about my mother, especially as she started to have those cognitive deficits. That behavior began a good ten years before she was diagnosed. For the first five years or so, we all just thought she was getting to be "more" of what she already had been - personable to outsiders, not so much with those close to her, and definitely wanting to be the one in control. For a couple of years we wondered if she was experiencing depression because she was so cranky. Here's one example of that: she got angry about our departure time to our daughter's wedding, a two hour drive the night before the service, and refused to go with us, taking the bus instead (which went at THE SAME TIME), and she complained about everything possible for the full day of the wedding. The food was wrong, we walked too fast, why was the reception in a different building from the church service (???), the meal was late, my husband and I sat too far back in the church, etc etc etc.

Eventually the memory loss started to be apparent. She forgot names. She would ask for the same information numerous times. She stopped driving on certain streets because they "weren't marked clearly" or "were too busy". Then about three years ago, she wanted me to read a letter she had gotten from her house insurance company. They wanted some information about her house to update their files for new requirements and she couldn't manage to do it. At that time I discovered her files had been meticulously maintained until approximately five years before that, and then had deteriorated into just stuffing papers into a drawer.

Are you seeing any of those kinds of behaviors, or are you around her enough to be able to pick up on them? Does you father notice anything? It would be worth trying to talk to him soon because it's probably not going to be a one-time conversation. That's one thing that I find so frustrating - it's a long process to do anything. You have to wait for an opening, raise the topic, wait, raise it again at a good moment, wait, raise it again, and on and on.

jenny_o said...

Mr. Pudding: You know, that's pretty much exactly what would happen if anybody EXCEPT family was dealing with the slippers. Or any other issue. She can be very charming when she wants to be.

Mr. Shife said...

Besides the craziness in the world, we thought this would be a good time to get our kitchen remodeled. At least it is distracting me from the craziness. I am glad the shoe sage had a satisfying and humorous conclusion to one chapter but I am sorry that there are more chapters that you must navigate. Thanks for the funnies, take care of yourself and hang in there, jenny_o.

jenny_o said...

Mr. Shife: Home renovations are the BEST way to reduce stress! lol But as you said they are a very good distraction from other crazy. It will be worth it when the job is done. You hang in there, too.

LL Cool Joe said...

Blimey if I'd been going through that with my mother over slippers I think it would have ended in tears. Mine of course. Well done for your patience.

Best thing I ever did was start wearing shoes indoors rather than slippers.

jenny_o said...

Joey: Oh, there are tears all right (mine). Sometimes. Other times there is swearing :) (not in front of my mother, though) Interesting that you find indoor shoes to be good. I wish I could convince my mother through testimonials!!