This time it didn’t take long to find the keys, they were in plain sight, on her kitchen table. I picked them up and asked if she still wanted to go grocery shopping, as I would drop her off and pick her up after 30 minutes. She agreed, picking up her purse and headed for the door. I wanted to say please take your keys, but thought I would keep them for now and lock up the apartment. We got in the car and I drove the few minutes to Longo’s. I pulled up to the entrance and she exited. I leaned over and said I would pick her up in ½ an hour and she agreed. I left Longo’s, went back home to decompress and relax. I couldn’t help feeling that something was terribly wrong with her. She looked disheveled and the fact she was wearing the exact same outfit as two days ago concerned me. Oh no, that pit in my stomach was starting to happen again, not to mention my head was pounding. I waited the 20 minutes and ventured back to Longo’s to pick her up. As I pulled up to the exit, I noticed Mom still standing at the entrance with no groceries. She looked lost and very confused. Oh my god, was she standing there the entire 30 minutes? What did I do? I pulled up close to her and said, ‘I thought you were going grocery shopping, have you been standing here the entire time’?
‘I don’t know’, she said timidly.
‘Okay, get in and I’ll drive you back home’, I said quietly.
I wondered how many people passed her by, entering and exiting the grocery store. Did they think I abandoned her? Did anyone try to talk to her? I felt like the worst daughter in the world, and now, without a doubt, knew something was terribly wrong. This just wasn’t a urinary tract infection, this was much more serious. Oh god, don’t tell me she has a brain tumour, I thought to myself.
I drove her home, brought her up to the apartment, sat her down and made her a cup of tea. I quietly asked again, ‘why didn’t you go into the store’?
‘What store?’ she asked.
‘I was waiting for you to park the car’, she said calmly.
‘But I told you that I was just dropping you off and would come back to pick you up in a ½ an hour.’ I said.
‘No you didn’t, don’t make me sound crazy’! She said defensively.
This is where I shut up. I couldn’t even fight anymore. I was exhausted, and to be completely honest, Mom looked more exhausted.
I put on the TV and told her I would come back later and make her dinner. I suggested she take a bath, nap, and relax. I left her keys on the kitchen table and told her not to touch them as she had no where to go and I would be back anyway. She nodded and began to watch TV as I slipped out the door.
I arrived home, grabbed the ‘yellow pages’ and looked up ‘Alzheimer Society’. I found the number, dialed and left a long-winded message explaining I didn’t know where to go or what to do with my mother.
Within an hour I received a call back asking where I lived so that I could get in touch with my local chapter. It was determined that I would be calling the Alzheimer Society of York Region and was given their phone number. I called the number immediately and left a message on their answering machine. It didn’t take long before I was called back by a ‘social worker’. She asked me if Mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I said no, but there is definitely something wrong and her doctor thinks it is just a urinary tract infection. The social worker asked me a few questions about Mom’s health, medications, and how long she had been exhibiting these new behaviours. She advised me to ask my mom’s doctor for a referral to a ‘neurologist’, in fact, she gave me a name of one in our area and said I could ask the doctor to refer mom to him. At this point, Mom most likely would be sent for different tests to rule out any other issues. If I thought my head spun before, it now went for a whirlwind ride with all this new information. Although, I must admit, I felt a small weight begin to lift off my shoulders. This lovely lady from the society gave me more information and a plan (which I realized was one of the missing pieces from the puzzle) and best of all, she believed me! If she had been standing in front of me, I probably would have hugged her. And from that day forward, I referred to her as ‘my angel’!