While we were taking our trip to Rexburg, I got a call from my sister, relating a phone call she received from my Aunt. Apparently, my Aunt had gone over to watch mom on that Friday. She heard the blow dryer going in mom's back room so she decided to check in on her. If you missed my earlier post about the blow dryer, mom has been burning holes in her clothes as she tries to dry herself with the blow dryer. When Aunt Claudia walked into mom's bedroom she expected to see mom drying herself off with the blow dryer. To her surprise and horror, she found the blow dryer laid down on the stool next to mom, turned on to full heat as mom stood by with a knife in her hand, chopping down on the top of her hair in an effort to cut off the pieces that were bugging her (you can catch up on her hair cutting adventures here). After an unsuccessful search for the scissors, mom got wise and decided a knife might do the trick. Needless to say, all of the knives are now under lock and key.
On Monday, I went over for my morning with mom. I heard the blow dryer going, as always. I was a little wary of the noise given my Aunt's experience the week before. Sure enough, when I walked in mom's room, the blow dryer was sitting on the stool by itself, emitting intense heat against mom's pant leg as she stood over her mirror, applying gobs of make-up on her face. I walked over and without any warning to mom, unplugged the blow dryer and hid it away. While I searched for a hiding place, mom told me I should "support" her and shouldn't be taking her blow dryer away; she was completely oblivious to my hiding place next to dad's side of the bed. For the rest of the morning, mom was upset with me and mumbled comments such as,
"You need to give me back my blow dryer...you should support me...I never did this to my mom..."
It was hard and a part of me wanted to make her happy and give her back her blow dryer, but I knew I couldn't give in to her temper tantrums. I wouldn't give my toddler a knife just because he threw a fit that he wanted it; it's the same scenario with my mom. The blow dryer has become a hazard.
Fast forward to the next couple of days. My Aunt and Uncle have been over taking care of mom and have noticed that the shower stall is completely dry. It seems that without a blow dryer, mom's routine is off and she believes she can't shower. I brought this up with my dad and he came up with an idea to disable the wire that gives heat to the blow dryer. He figured most of the risk would be gone with the heat. He asked if I'd check up on her this morning and make sure that she showers.
I showed up to mom's at 9:00 this morning, right as she was about to start getting ready. She complained of me being in her room, concerned of my seeing her "naked" and a "plain Jane". It seemed as though she planned to shower, so I left the room to give her some privacy. After about 20 minutes, I decided to check in on her since I hadn't heard the shower going. I found mom halfway dressed with her head in the sink. Upon further inspection, I found that the shower stall had only a few drops of water directly under the faucet while the rest was dry. It didn't take long to figure out what mom means when she says it's a "severe shower day". I am guessing that "severe shower days" means she gets her whole body into the shower to wash off; the rest of the days it seems she must be washing her hair in the sink and perhaps rinsing her lower half in the shower. I don't know exactly how long this has been going on, but I think the dry shower stall mystery is solved :(
At our previous trips to UCLA, they always liked to point out mom's strength. At the top of the list was her hygiene and the fact that she was still able to take care of herself. Now that this is slipping, I wonder what is left.