There I was, doing the laundry. Loads and loads and loads of laundry. One after the other, from the washer into the dryer, remembering to do the junk towels twice and get fabric softener in the loads of clothes, until finally I was finished and could crawl into my bed.
Then the alarm went off. "Wait, that can't be the alarm, I've just crawled into bed and haven't even shut my eyes yet!" But it was the alarm, shrill and insistent in its worst Monday-morning fashion. I had been dreaming about laundry, that was all--there were still seven loads (plus one sheet that would have to wait) spread all over the living room floor.
At least I had Katie Burke's blog, with its oh-so-funny clips about George W. Bush. I laughed out loud watching both the clips, and did I ever need that laugh.
Yesterday KidThree and I went down to the parents' house. Ostensibly it was to put a piece of medical equipment in their garage for storage, as I'm afraid if we give away this particular item, KidThree will then develop a need for it and that would be a bad thing, but really the visit was to check on Dad. Mom is in SoCal visiting a cousin, so Dad should be checked on. He is forgetful and might leave the stove on or something. We had a terrific visit. He was in an excellent mood and had a pot of beans on the stove (red beans with onions, cumin, and ham hocks). No one cooks a pot of beans better than my Dad. We not only got to scarf down bowls of delicious beans, with french bread to sop up the sauce, but we got a quart of them to take home with us. You see? Good deeds sometimes do get rewarded.
Saturday at the Senior Center we had a bit of a problem with one of our clients. This client, MrM, has been coming since last spring; his wife brings him so she can get out and about for a few hours. MrM was a lovely man, lively, with twinkling blue eyes; a retired scientist who could explain in detail why he did not in fact have Alzheimer's, it was just that the doctors had gotten confused by some test results. A few weeks back, MrM developed a personality change--he started grabbing our young female volunteers and would grip our director by the wrist hard enough to leave bruises. That got dealt with a bit by talking to his wife, talking to him, shortening his hours of participation in our program, and having a staff member keep a close eye on him.
This Saturday, I sat with MrM, as when he arrived, the director could see he was a little agitated and would be too much for one of our volunteers. He had a light jacket on, zipped up to the top. We happened to have five men Saturday, so we sat them all at a 'Men's Table' so they could enjoy each other's company. MrM sat right across from MrB, a retired aircraft engineer who was also wearing a jacket, but his was unzipped partway. MrM was very agitated by that zipper. Zippers zipped. That was how they worked and that was what they were supposed to do. MrB needed to zip up his zipper. I worked hard to distract MrM and usually it worked. A couple of times he seemed to catch himself, to realize that he was behaving inappropriately, and would force a chuckle and say that he had been just kidding (but it was clear he wasn't).
MrM fretted about MrB's zipper (and poor posture) on and off throughout the morning. He also got out of his seat twice when I got up to get him coffee or something, once walking towards the door and once walking towards MrB. Just before lunch, MrM got out of his seat and walked over to MrB, grabbing hold of MrB's collar because come hell or high water he was going to zip up that zipper. MrB was confused, MrM was determined, and I was on the other side of MrM, working to detach his fingers from MrB's collar and break his train of thought from that blasted zipper. I was able to get him away from MrB and take him outside to stand in the sun for a few minutes, where the scientist in him showed me his zipper and demonstrated how it worked, explaining that that was its function (zipping) and that they should thus be zipped up. When we came back in, I took him to sit at the 'Ladies' Table' for a bit. He was okay at first, but then got agitated when he noticed our new director and a visiting board member sitting at the other end of the table, each with her vest unzipped.
When MrM's wife came to pick him up, I was wiped out. What a stressful morning, in a very quiet way. I was able to keep MrM pacified to the point where no one else noticed what was going on (we work hard to not let our clients become agitated), but it was a strain. After all the clients and volunteers left, the staff sat to talk over the day, comparing notes on how different clients and volunteers were doing. Our consensus was that MrM does not get to come back; he is too much of a threat to our other clients. It is sad to see that happen, as none of it is his fault; this will make his wife's life more difficult and hasten his placement in a locked facility, where he won't be able to hurt himself or others.
On a more positive note, though, we got MrE back. He is an elderly Filipino, very macho and very much a ladies' man. He had broken his hip several months ago and we were all worried about him, as so often that is a death sentence for the frail elderly. But not MrE! He came back Saturday, slower, skinnier, and more forgetful than ever, but he remembered the female staff and one of the female clients (MrE does not waste his remaining memory cells on men's faces). We gave him much attention and gentle hugs, and at the end of the day, after we had played his special variety of checkers (his opponent follows the rules, he moves the pieces wherever he wants), I got a kiss on the cheek. It was so good to see him, and he was so happy to be back with us.
Now time to go get some of the clean laundry and clear space in here for the babies. This morning I am definitely not ready for them. Oh well, I'll get my shower when they nap.