Mom flunked her mammogram. Not that the radiology tech even got to give Mom her mammogram. It just didn't happen.
Mom was clean and dressed, had eaten her breakfast, and ready for me to bring her to her appointment. The aids are so good.
Mom and I slowly walk out to my car, she's shuffling behind her walker; step with her left foot, drag her right.
"Where are we going?" she asks fifty times.
"You have your mammogram today. We're going into town, to the doctors office." I repeat.
"I just had one." she repeats. I feel the same way, didn't I just have one, and now it's time for another.
"All us women need to get our breasts checked, Mom, we all do it."
"Where are we going?" We begin the conversation again.
We get to the hospital, she starts to panic, the office is at the hospital campus, she recognizes the hospital, she doesn't want to be here. I don't know why.
"Why are we here!?!?"
"You are just here for a mammogram, they are just going to take some pictures." I try to exude calm.
I park in a space for the Walking Disabled, nice and close. I hang up my new parking tag. I can't get Mom out of my car. She can't get leverage on the door or walker handles. She is like a rag doll, a very heavy rag doll.
"I can't. Nooo." she cries.
A petite elder man comes out to help, he is a hospital volunteer. I worry more about him than Mom. Somehow Mom finds some strength, and we get her up and behind her walker. He directs us to radiology.
It's not that far, but for Mom it is a long walk. She wants to sit down in the reception area, I won't let her, I walk her straight through to the dressing rooms. She sits and I help her into the johnny.
"Necklace" she screams.
"I'll put it on, Mom, it's right here, I'll keep it safe." She swats my hand, I've put the necklace on backwards, she tries to tug it off over my head. I fix it so she can see me wearing it properly.
With a lot of effort Mom stands and starts to walk to the examination room.
I spoke with the staff yesterday during the preregistration phone call. They know that Mom has dementia, they know she is a slow walker, they know that she will need to do this exam while sitting on a stool. They have scheduled two people to help Mom through this.The four of us slowly walk down to the examination room. Mom is whining and whimpering. We try to get her to sit on the stool, she won't sit because there are no chair handles for her to grab, she is afraid, she is out of sorts, she is not trusting any of us to get her onto the stool. She can't calm down, she can't be reasoned with. She is scared and frightened.
"Let's not do this today," the tech says "We can try again on a better day. We'll contact her doctor and let her know what happened."
"There won't be a better day." I say quietly.
Mom is exhausted, they offer me a wheel chair. I push Mom into the changing room, I get her dressed. We go to the cafeteria, I'm pushing her and dragging the walker behind me. We have a drink and Mom calms down. I push her back to the parking lot. The same kind volunteer comes to help me get Mom into my car.
Back at Mom's place, I have to find two aides to help me get Mom out of the car. She is spent.
Will I ever be able to take her out again?