Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"You've Come A Long Way, Baby. To Get Where You've Got To Today!"

A few minutes ago...

Mom: Would you help me with something?

Me: Sure, what can I do for you?

She's holding a Kleenex.

Mom: Would you get me one of these?

I turn in my chair to the right a pull another from the box next to me and hand it to her.

Me: There you go!

She takes it and places it on the one already in her hand and leaves.

Uh-oh, she came back.

Mom: Would you help me with something?

Me: Sure, what can I do for you?

Sound familiar? Yep, welcome to my life!

Mom: I want you to get me something.

Me: I got a tissue for you a little while ago. Is that what you're after?

She looks down at them in her hand. She's thinking and getting frustrated.

Mom: No. Dammit, I'm so stupid.

She touches her mouth.

Me: Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?

Sometimes she wants me to pop the top on a can of soda or peel the foil off a pudding cup.

Mom: No.

Me: Why don't you show me what you want since you can't say it and then I'll get it for you?

Mom: Oh, I don't know what I want.

I follow her out into the kitchen.

Then she says it.

Mom: I just want to go out in the den, relax, and have a cigarette.

Me: Ooooooh, you want a cigarette?

She looks down at her hand and shows me the Kleenex.

Mom: Yes! A cigarette!

Me: I'm sorry to disappoint you but we don't have any cigarettes here.

Mom: Oh, okay.

Mother dear smoked ages ago. When I was little, she smoked Newports and I remember her quitting cold turkey around 1970. She started up again in the mid-70's with Silva Thins (they are gross) and stopped again around 1980. She hasn't smoked since.

[BTW, the title of this post if from a jingle used in a cigarette commercial. Yes, cigarettes used to be advertised on television and obviously was very effective since I can sing the tune decades later.]

Update: I found a clip of the Virginia Slims ad. My mom had a curly blonde wig like the lady at the end of the ad. Wigs were popular in the late 60's.


Greg said...

That's fascinating to read. I hope those smoking decades were happy ones for your Mom, given that she's travelling back to them. Does she show signs of understanding of the present most of the time, or is she permanently operating as if it's 40 years back?

I wonder why kleenex and cigarette were filed so closely together in her head? Was she expecting you to roll the kleenex up into a cigarillo?

Gavin said...

Greg--It *was* odd that the Kleenex were or represented cigarettes to her. I think she wanted me to light it rather than roll it!

She seems to be in the present most of the time and I mean that as "living in the moment." If you ask her what year it is, she wouldn't know. She watches after the cats, what's happening on the street, pays attention to the tv. But she doesn't know where she is or when it is so maybe she is living in the past just with all these activities going on.

I do know that when she is out in the swing on the patio, she thinks she is at our camp back in the 70's and talks about the people swimming in the lake (which are the neighbors on either side which both have pools).

Greg said...

I've just watched the Virginia Slims advert and I'm nearly speechless at their outrageous cheek in trying to hitch their product to Women's Liberation. I think I could write a thesis based on that one advertisement, although I'm sure I wouldn't be the first.

I'm thinking of you today. I hope you get through it okay and that you aren't freaked out this evening. I hope you've got someone to keep you company just in case the empty house feels lonely.