Mondays With Mother: An Alzheimer's Story

In 2002 my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It is a hard road, and we live it one day at a time. This is a chronicle of her disease and my Monday visits with her.

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Name: Anne Robertson
Location: Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Clough Center

With a week-long preaching gig in New Hampshire, I was only a little over an hour away from Mother's new home at the Clough Center in New London, NH. So, on the day I had off, I headed north with a friend from the Dover church.

I had written ahead to find the best time to go and was told late morning, so we planned to arrive about 11 am. I new the center was very close to New London Hospital. Turns out it is actually attached to the hospital, which I take as a good thing. I think ambulance rides are probably pretty traumatic when you don't really understand what's going on.

We came into a lovely lobby area with a cheery dining room off to the side. The place where the rooms are is definitely nursing home, rather than the sense of residence there was at The Birches, but it was clean and nice with no smell. We were told that Mother was in room 105.

That wasn't very far from the nurse's station...a room with four beds and two windows with a nice view. Mother however was not in any of the beds. So we came back out to look for her and saw that they had her up walking...using a walker with a belt tied around her to help catch her if there was a problem. It was good that they had her moving.

She had already been up and down the hall, so they sat her in her wheelchair so we could have a visit. The wheelchair is new--she didn't have that at The Birches, but it makes much more sense with her mobility as limited as it now is.

We greeted her and she had a bright smile for each of us. There was some activity going on in the sun room, making that unavailable and the TV room was a bit crowded. But it was a nice, sunny day so I wheeled her outside where there were a couple of benches. One of the nurses brought us each a bottle of water, one with a straw for Mother. As we sat down, Rob arrived.

So the three/four of us visited for about 45 minutes. Mother drank water when I gave it to her every so often. It turned a bit cooler so we went inside and headed for the dining room. Each table was set for four people with nametags at each one. Apparently there is an aide at each table to help residents.

We had just gotten settled in the dining room when David and Laurie came in, so we had quite a crew. We visited a few minutes more, took some pictures (which I'll have to post later when I'm home and have the cable for my camera) and then said goodbye. I'm headed up to visit Rob and Stephanie next weekend so as I kissed her goodbye I said, "I'll see you next week." "Okay," she said cheerily. An appropriate response and something she would normally have said. So maybe it was lucid--or maybe it was luck. But it was nice in either case. great moments of revelation or insight, just a good feeling about her new home and a sense that however difficult it may have been to move, she seems to have weathered the storm. Of course she always was adaptable. Where Mother lived was never as important as who lived with her and, today at least, we were all gathered together in the same place. Sort of like the Upper Room, only without all that rushing wind and tongues of flame.

But I do think the Spirit was present, just as the still, small voice. The voice that simply says, "Okay."