I picked up the phone and called her Doctor’s office leaving a rambling message explaining the situation, hoping she would return the call a.s.a.p.
Next I called Baba and hesitantly began the conversation about Mom and her issue.
‘Paula, your Mom is fine, she’s just lonely,’ Baba said.
‘I know Baba, but I think there are other things going on, maybe physically with her that needs to be addressed quickly. She calls me at work constantly and then a few times in the middle of the night in a panic saying she has lost her keys’.
‘Paula, do you want me to go over there and stay with Anne for a few days?’ Baba asked.
‘I really don’t think that is going to help, but until I can set up a Doctor’s appointment, maybe, that’s not such a bad idea. I am really tired and need to find out what’s going on with her.’
‘I have no problem moving in with her. We lived together before, but your Mom has said time and again, no.’ Baba pointed out.
I thought to myself that Mom would never go for the two of them living together again, Mom had said it many times to me in confidence. Although, I wished Mom would re-consider. It would be easier all the way around. Baba and Mom would both have each other as company and support as Baba was slowing down and her eyesight was getting worse every day now that she was in her mid-80’s. And selfishly, I thought, it would be easier for me as I would not have to run back and forth between the two to check on them.
‘Let’s see if the Doctor calls back and we’ll talk about this later’, I said.
We said our goodbyes, hung the phone up, and I was about to call Mom when the phone rang.
‘Hello, this is Doctor Gribaldi*, may I please speak to Paula’, a woman on the other end of the line said.
‘Hi, Dr. Gribaldi, this is Paula’ I said.
‘You called about your Mom?’ she asked.
‘Yes, there is a problem and I don’t know what is going on or what to do. She keeps forgetting things and calls me constantly to come over and find her keys. Is there anyway I could bring her in to see you and have her blood sugar tested?’ I said.
Right then something hit me. I don’t know why or where this thought came to mind, but was this the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease? I knew nothing about this disease other than one of Mom’s favourite actresses ‘Rita Hayworth’ had been diagnosed with it. Mom would always say to me, if I ever develop this disease, I would kill myself. My head began to spin. At that moment I heard the Doctor say;
‘Paula? Are you still there? Is tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m. okay?’
‘Ah, sure, thanks, tomorrow at 2:30 p.m., ummm, we’ll be there’, I said.
I hung up the phone and the feeling I had of frustration and anger with Mom, now turned to fear.
I tried to talk myself out of the idea that it was Alzheimer’s disease. Of course it wasn’t, Mom was 61, she was way too young for this to happen. There must be something else going on inside her, besides most of the time, key loss not withstanding, she was fine. She still walked to the beauty salon once a week to get her hair done, to get her groceries, and I picked her up every Sunday to take her to church. My head began to pound and my heart began to palpitate. What was I going to do? What if she was seriously ill? I had to shake myself out of this state. Okay, whatever was going on, the Doctor would figure it out. Everything would be okay! Right?
* Dr. Gribaldi – named changed to protect individual