Monday, September 27, 2010

no, no, no

I think the time has come, I can no longer take Mom to the grocery store. The carriage is almost as empty at the end of our shopping session as it was at the beginning, just cat food and ice tea. There is nothing she wants. "I have so much food in the refrigerator. I should eat the food in the pantry first."

Her refrigerator is bare. The pantry holds baking staples and old boxes of pasta and rice. She no longer cooks or bakes. She no longer likes pasta or rice. Does the Prince Spaghetti company have a museum? They can have her pasta boxes, a history of their box designs.

Her aide says she is loosing her appetite, I have seen this too. Breakfast is half of a banana, half of a piece of toast or muffin, enough juice to swallow her morning pills. "Oh, I can't drink all that juice, it's too much." She won't eat yogurt anymore, she doesn't like waffles or pancakes. She use to eat a box of Wheaties a week, the box in the cabinet is from the 1990's . She use to love hot cereal, no longer. She hasn't had an egg in years. (see old post)

She doesn't make herself lunch and no one is there to prepare it for her. The past few months her dinner has been half a sandwich and some cut vegetables with dip, or a salad with sliced turkey. She won't let the aides cook her a chicken breast, fish fillet, pork chop, or even a piece of kielbasa. For a while she was excited about frozen dinners. "Oh, I have SO much food in the freezer, I'll eat that." Now the boxes of entrees pile up, gathering frost burn.

I try to make sure she has healthy snacks in the house. They sit in a basket on the counter, I know if she can't see the food, it doesn't exist. Out of sight - out of mind! Blueberry breakfast bars, oatmeal raisin cookies, washed grapes/berries, bananas, and dried fruit all waiting for her to snack on them. And there they stay, week after week, until I replace them with fresh ones.

At the deli-counter she would remind me, at every visit, that she only needed 1/4 lb of turkey or roast beef. Now she reminds me that she only needs one or two slices of turkey for the week. "Oh it's so much food, I don't want it to spoil before I eat it all."
My thoughts echo the refrain... if you don't eat any of the food, of course it's going to spoil.

I ask "How about some..."
"No, no, no!" the words jump out of her before I can finish my question. She's shaking her head and tuning me out. So frustrating.

In the produce section she dismisses all the bags of pre-washed salad greens. "Those pieces are too big, those pieces are too green, I don't want cabbage in my salad. Look at that, it looks like garbage in a bag." I try to get her to pick out some vegetables, vegetables she use to like: Corn "No, no, no." Carrots "No, no, no." Zucchini "No, no, no." Asparagus "No, no, no." Green beans "No, no, no." Butternut squash "No, no, no." This week I told her she HAD to pick one vegetable, because the aide said so, and she did. Wow, fiblet to the rescue.

We walk to the freezer chest. Here are some small precooked shrimp rings that include dipping sauce.
Oh, Mom, here is a small dish of shrimp, how about this? I stress the small, as in, not too much food. I know cold shrimp is one her favorite appetizers.
"No, no, no."
I thought you liked shrimp?
"I only eat shrimp on special occasions."
Every day can be a special day, I mumble to myself, I feel defeated and discouraged.
I guess she doesn't remember Mrs. Gump and her 1000 ways to prepare shrimp.
"No, no, no." is her response to most everything I say.

Mom has no dietary restrictions, she is not diabetic, she doesn't have any problems with chewing or swallowing. I am fortunate that she can eat anything, if she only wanted to.

I bring up containers of leftovers or baked goodies from my kitchen and vegetables from my garden. Some times that works, some times it doesn't. Blueberry cake, from her favorite aunt's recipe, sat for two weeks in her fridge, before it got tossed.

I have written up menu idea for Mom's aides. The aides and I conspire together to think of ways to entice Mom to eat. She use to enjoy eating things like spinach quiche, kielbasa and sauerkraut, smoked salmon on pumpernickel, or beans and hot-dogs. These foods sit waiting on her shelves.

1 comment:

rainsinger said...

Tough day. When she is in her "new vacation place", how do we say assisted living without triggering her "no,no,no"? She may begin to eat again. Mom ate well at "the Home" as we call it now. When it is more in her control, she balks. Hang in there. The opening is coming.