It seemed that I had to take another half day off at work in order to drive Mom to the Doctors. We arrived and told the receptionist we were there to see Dr. Gribaldi* for 2:30 p.m. The receptionist informed us the Doctor was running a few minutes late and to take a seat in the waiting room. Mom and I sat next to each other in silence. The boulder in the pit of my stomach began to grow. Was Mom feeling the same way? She seemed to be calm as usual, but something still wasn’t right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but thoughts began to flood my brain. The word ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ kept reappearing. I couldn’t turn it off. I wanted to run at that moment and leave Mom behind. What a horrible daughter I had become to even consider that thought.
‘Anne Bilz’, the receptionist called out.
Mom rose from the chair, turned, looked at me then began to walk down the hallway to the Dr.’s office.
I couldn’t help but think she had aged 10 years in that moment. In fact, the last few months of sleepless nights had in fact aged me at least 20 years.
I grabbed some magazines and flipped through them, but couldn’t concentrate on any of the articles or photos. I couldn’t seem to catch my breath. An eternity seemed to pass, when suddenly, Mom walked out with prescription in hand. She looked at me and angrily said ‘let’s go’.
‘Ah, okay’. I said feeling uneasy.
‘What did the doctor say?’ I asked.
‘She said I have an urinary tract infection and then began to ask me stupid questions.’
‘What kind of questions?’ I asked.
‘I think she thinks I’m crazy, she asked me if I could tell her what day it was, the month, the year, where I was born, and the name of the stupid Prime Minister.’
‘Why would she ask you that?’ I asked, looking away. I definitely didn’t want Mom to know I had spoken over the phone with the Doctor about my concerns. I didn’t want to be the ‘bad guy’ again.
‘I don’t know, she thinks I’m crazy, I guess.’ She said light heartedly.
‘What’s the prescription for?’
‘To get rid of whatever I have, craziness I guess’, she began to chuckle.
Admittedly, I did find that answer amusing, but I couldn’t help wondering if Mom was hiding something. I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to call the Doctor when I returned home.
I drove Mom to the pharmacy to pick up the medication and dropped her back at home.
‘Aren’t you coming up?’ she asked.
‘No, I think I’ll go home’, I said, as I definitely didn’t want her to know I had to make a phone call to her doctor.
I arrived back in my apartment, made the call, and the Doctor explained that sometimes a urinary tract infection could cause forgetfulness, as Mom was able to answer 80% of the questions asked, correctly.
So there it was, the answer to the drama from the last few weeks, a stupid urinary tract infection. Whew, dodged a bullet that time, I thought. Next, I called Baba and to let her know the results of the tests.
Friday came and went without any problems, phone calls or loss of keys.
It was Saturday morning and I called Mom to see what time she needed to be picked up to do her grocery shopping. She answered the phone sounding confused and groggy. I asked if she wanted to go another day and she said no, ‘come over whenever’. I arrived and waited in the car by the entrance to the building. I waited over 15 minutes when I decided to get out and call up to her on the intercom. She answered not saying a word, just pressing the unlock buzzer for the lobby door. That wasn’t safe I thought to myself. She didn’t know who was buzzing and she just let someone in without asking who it was. Luckily it was me, but how many times had she allowed a stranger or strangers to enter the building? I went up and she opened the door wearing the same clothes as when I took her to see her doctor, which was over 48 hours ago. I also noticed her hair was not combed and I inhaled a hint of body odour.
She looked at me and said ‘I can’t find my keys’.
Great, I thought, here we go again.
* Dr. Gribaldi – named changed to protect individual