Friday, August 23, 2013


Dear Tatum,

Monday evening was another interesting trip to Mega Foods. It started with me telling Grandma I was going out for a walk. Her response, "Okay, I'm going out to a candy store very shortly... I don't know where a candy store is." "What kind of candy do you want?" "I won't know 'til I see it." I asked, "How are you going to get there?" and we had the car conversation again. She insisted she could make short trips and I insisted she couldn't. In her defiant way she asked, "Who says?" and I told her, "Everyone!" and then I listed everyone I could think of. We did our back and forth until I offered to take her to the store for candy. "Well, if that's the only way I can get there," she said.

So we went to the store. I got her a cart to push rather than using the wheelchair. It worked well although I had to do a lot of the steering. When we got into the store she headed directly toward the ice cream aisle. "I thought you wanted candy," I said. "Well I want ice cream, too." "You know we have two full tubs of ice cream at home?" "Yeah, but I want more." "Okay, but how about we get the candy first and then get the ice cream since it can melt?" She ignored me and headed directly toward the ice cream aisle. She chose a tub of Tillamook Strawberry. She walked down the aisle staring into the freezers. I offered to help her find what she was looking for, but she didn't know. It was another "I'll know it when I see it" moment. I think she just wanted to be out in the world. She took a right at the end of the ice cream aisle, gazed around, then said, "I need to find the bathroom." I panicked for a moment; I hadn't brought the diaper bag. If we didn't make it to the bathroom in time we could be in trouble. The bathroom was on the other side of the store in the front--we were in the back. We maneuvered our way through the aisles and around other shoppers. We left the cart with the lone tub of ice cream by the bathroom entrance and made it just in time. It was a close call.

The candy aisle wasn't far from the bathroom, and we went there directly after. She chose two Hershey bars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and M&Ms. The woman at the checkout was very patient with us as Grandma methodically counted out her change.

It is hard to convey the stress of theses occasions. Grandma has always been a bit on the quiet side, but she has recently become almost non-verbal. So when I ask her what she needs or where she's going she rarely answers me and just keeps moving along. This can be particularly challenging in public, when you're trying to make sure she is safe (doesn't fall) or determine what she wants. And given her current appearance (near death) and movements, we do draw attention. Those awful fluorescent grocery store lights don't help either. The whole scene had a surreal, dreamlike quality, and I was glad when we were back home.



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