Saturday, June 16, 2012

glasses - part 3

Recap: Saturday -- Glasses lost and broken. Monday -- My frustrating visit with Mom's ophthalmologist. I glue her glasses together.

On Tuesday I make an appointment with another eye doctor. Mom has seen her for eye infections and other  eye problems.  However the next available appointment isn't until July!  I take it, and also get on their appointment cancellation list. Something is better than nothing.

Wednesday morning the staff from the assisted living residence calls, Mom's glasses have fallen apart again, they are going to try to glue them. "We've got to do something..."

In a flash of desperation I drive over to my optometrist's office.
"It's for my Mother... she has dementia... Alzheimer's... she has broken her glasses... can you help me... can you... soon?"  I think I was almost in tears.
"Well Dr D is on vacation for the next week."  My heart sinks. "But Dr L has an opening tomorrow."
"Dr L?"
"She new with our office, she's very nice, and she has a few patient with Alzheimer's."
Tomorrow, tomorrow!  Mom's going to get her eyes check tomorrow!  I'm doing the happy-dance in the parking-lot.

I have to shuffle my work schedule around quickly - thankfully I work in a place that is very accommodating and flexible.

On Thursday I drive Mom to my optometrist's office for the exam.
"This is not my doctor." she is edgy.  They were so nice to Mom. They did not belittle her, or treat her like an idiot. They did not get frustrated by her slowness or inability to answer question.  They are people who "get it", who understand communication and compassion.

Mom could not tell the doctor if A was clearer than B. Mom could not answer most of the questions, that the doctor asked. But she could read the letters, she was a reading ninja. Mom remembered, that when you see the charts, you read the letters.  She read and read. I guess that was good enough for the doctor. The doctor was calm and polite throughout the whole examination. While we were waiting for Mom's eyes to dilate, for the next part of her exam, another staff person came into the room with 5 or 6 different frames. Frames similar to what Mom had, something that would be familiar and comfortable for her.  They didn't make her get up from the exam chair to shuffle into another room, they brought the frames and mirror to her.  So thoughtful. They even adjusted the frames to fit Mom's face that day, so I wouldn't have to bring Mom back to the office when her glasses were ready. (It's only a 180 mile ride for me.)

Mom has new glasses and they look great. (The super-duper-glue held the old ones together long enough.)
"Why are you giving me new glasses?" she asked when I gave her the new ones. I shake my head and laugh to myself. You don't remember anything, do you.
"They look so nice on you, Mom."

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Mary at "Down the Rabbit Hole" recommended a YouTube video by Teepa Snow.  I would recommend watching all Teepa's videos.  She has some good stuff to say!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


There is a group of  glider-chairs (rocking chairs) near the French doors that lead to the courtyard.  A place where one can sit and enjoy nature, watch the chipmunks and the goldfinch at the bird feeders.

Mom refuses, adamantly refuses, to sit in a glider.
"Those chairs are for the old people, see."
She will drag over a dining room chair, even if all the gliders are empty.

Monday, June 11, 2012


A long time ago, when Mom was living at home alone, her dementia got in the way of her ability to take a shower, to take a shower thoroughly, and her ability to remember to take a shower. 

Now her aides prompt her every few days to take a shower, they supervise her. 

I don't think they do any "hands on" bathing yet, as I found a (new) empty bottle of moisturizer in Mom's shower.  I think she was using it as shampoo.  And because it is a thick lotion, and probably didn't run out of the bottle fast enough for Mom, she propped it upside-down on the grab-bar, with the lid off.

Is this when I take away all lotions and creams - so she doesn't confuse them with her toothpaste?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

glasses - part 2

Mom's been in her room since Saturday, she won't come out, because she doesn't have her glasses. She's been crying (on and off for three days) because she has no glasses. The staff has told my Mother "your daughter is taking care of it", again and again, over and over. (What can I do on a Saturday night or Sunday? The optometrist isn't open till Monday.)

Her frames were two year and two months old and they broke.

It's been 26 months since her last eye exam, and her prescription has expired.
The staff at the optometrist's office told me it's "against the law" to make a new pair of glasses with an old prescription. A prescription that expired two months ago. No, they can't be soldered. No, they don't repair broken frames.

This is the same office where, three years ago, they "sat by and laughed" while Mom tried to understand why her contacts had all disappeared; where they told her she had put two contacts in one eye, and the wrong one in her other eye.

This is the same office where, two years and two months ago, the office staff came out into the waiting room to ask me in a loud voice, in front of my mother and all the other waiting patients, "It says here she is taking Aricept, does she have Alzheimer's?"

 ~ - ~ - ~ - ~

"I don't want to go the eye doctors, there is nothing wrong with my eyes, don't make me go there."
"You can't get new glasses unless you go to the eye doctors."
"I just want my glasses, give me back my glasses, you took my glasses."
"Mom, you broke your glasses, you have to wait and get new ones made."
"I don't want new ones, give me back my glasses, don't play games with me."
She doesn't understand.

No, I don't want to bring my mother into your office for an eye exam. She won't be able to answer your questions with any clarity or truth or rationality or reason.

"Mrs. Abcde can you see the letters?"
"What? That's not my name"
"Can you read the letters?"
"Which one is clearer A or B"
"Yes, they're both fine"
"Which one looks better A or B"
"A or B"

 ~ - ~ - ~ - ~

I asked the optometrist's staff.  "What do the other elders do? Those that can't answer questions? What about those who can't get to your office?"
"We have 95 year old patients that come in here."
"Yes, many 95 year old people are quite able to get around, that's not my question. What about people who can't get in for an exam? How do they get new glasses?"
"They come in."
"What about people who can't respond correctly to questions? What about someone with dementia?"
"The doctor is very good with old people and children." 
"My mother is not a child."
"I'm sorry."

I'm frustrated, why can't you just make a new pair of glasses with this 26 month old prescription? You have 20 years of data of her face measurements, you have 20 years of data on the lenses she has bought before, as well as the shape and style of her frames. My Mother has been crying and unable to see for three days. She doesn't understand. 

I am frustrated.
I stopped at the hardware store to buy some super-duper-glue. They all say "not to be used on polyethylene or polypropylene plastics"  What are glasses made of?  I try to glue the frame together. I try not to glue my fingers to the frame. Hold, wait, count, sing to myself. It doesn't work. What are frames made of?  I try again, no luck. I glue the bottom frame to the lens.  Hold, wait, count, sing. It's sticking. Hold, wait. It's still sticking.  I glue the top of the frame to the lens. Hold, wait, count.  One drop of glue that has left a track down the side of the lens.  Oh hell - oh well.  They are together, not properly, not pretty, but they are together.

I bring them to Mom. The first words out of her mouth, a very loud  "Where are my glasses?"  I hand them over very gently. I give her stern warnings about how they might break again.
She's not listening to me. She has her glasses. It's all my fault that she hasn't had her glasses. It's all my fault that she can't see. It's my fault she's been crying for three days. In her mind I should have been there IMMEDIATELY with new/repaired glasses, because the aides kept telling her that "your daughter is taking care of it."

Maybe the dementiademons will look the other way for a few weeks and let the super-duper-glue do it's job; as I try to get a new exam and a new pair of glasses for Mom.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


So, I get a phone call.
Mom has lost her glasses.
The staff found most of her glasses; a bent frame and one lens.