This Sunday we met Dad for breakfast at Grand Central, where Slip works. I suggested toast, eggs, and bacon for Grandma and she agreed to that. The week before I ordered her a breakfast sandwich and it was a little difficult for her to eat so this seemed like a good option. When the meal came, she looked at it and said loudly, "I don't want that!" Then, "I can't eat that! That's too much food!" And so on. Dad offered, "But that's what you agreed to." We reminded her she said it was okay not ten minutes before. I said, "Just like always, eat what you can." During this discussion my cup of soup arrived and she said, "Now that looks good." I offered to trade but she wouldn't. I buttered her toast and showed her the jam and she gave in to eating her breakfast, but she wasn't happy about it.
I went over to Slip at the counter to get some bread to take home and told her how frustrating it's been to feel like I'm doing something wrong all the time. I was feeling very frustrated. She assured me I wasn't doing anything wrong. While I know that's true, it's hard to have Grandma direct her frustration at me. In the beginning she was so happy to have me helping, but now she is tired of it and s often unhappy when I try to help her, especially when we're around others.
In the afternoon, Dad came to Woodburn for a visit. There are certain patterns to Grandma's actions. When she needs to go to the bathroom, for example, she shifts in her chair, reaches for her cane, and pushes the foot rest away with her feet. These things happen in slow motion. When she shifts in her chair, I often ask if she's headed to the bathroom--she usually is. On this day I asked if she was going to the bathroom and she snapped with, "Why are you so concerned about me going to the bathroom?" Remember I said she acts out when others are around? I explained, "You need help when you go to the bathroom. When you go to the bathroom, I go with you to help. If you don't make it to the bathroom, I have to clean it up. That's why I'm concerned about you going to the bathroom."
Shortly after this, Grandma got up. I didn't ask her where she was going. She walked over and turned on the fan. From there she went to the back door, and before I could get there, bent over to move the stick she likes to put in the sliding glass door as an extra "lock." There was no reason to move the stick--she moved it about an inch. I went over and told her she couldn't do that! She is far too unsteady to be bending forward like that--it is just too close to falling forward on her head. She did not like this. She gave me the sour-faced silent treatment. She sat in her chair at the kitchen table defiantly--she hasn't sat there in weeks. I asked her not to get so frustrated with me for trying to keep her safe. I reminded her that it's my job to keep her safe and I was just doing my job. I don't remember her response, but I think it's because she didn't really give one, but just sat in her chair with the sour faced look on it.
I sat back down, looked at dad, and said, "See?" He said, "I do, and you're doing the right thing." It helped a little.