The Day The Earth Stood Still

Monday night when darkness fell, we brought mom home.

We put mom in the backseat, she was confused because she always rides shotgun. Then I got in, right next to her, when she realized no one was sitting in the front seat with Paul, she looked like a deer caught in headlights. 

A thirty minute car ride must have been an eternity. I clearly and sternly told her what was off limits, I explained there was a new sheriff in town and all laws are to be adhered to; 

No more DUI’s; being, Discourteous Under the guise of Insanity.
No more terrorist threats of caregivers or their family. 

Black Tuesday, or the Day the Earth Stood Still, started early; 

“Mom, its eight o’clock time to get up.”
“No, I’ll get up later when I want to.”
“No more getting up at eleven, you will be getting up in the morning and exercising.”
“I’m not going to exercise; my doctor said I don’t need to exercise.”
“That was the doctor at Disneyland, your doctor at Kaiser said you need to walk for exercise, and I’m not going to discuss it anymore.”
“You’re a Gestapo.”
“Get used to it.” 
“Mom, you’ve been up for three hours, I need you to walk two or three times from your bedroom to the den.”
“I’ll walk later.”
“If you’re not up in fifteen minutes, I’m going to put your chair into the standing up position, so you’ll have to get up.” 
“Why are you being so mean?”
“It’s not that I’m being mean, you need to drink, eat and exercise, once you get your blood circulating you’ll feel better.”
“I’ll feel better when you leave.” 

Later that day; 

“Mom, its time for lunch.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“I didn’t ask if you were hungry, I said its time for lunch.”
“I’m not going to eat, I’m not going to eat, I’m not going to eat.”
“Paul, bring me the video camera.”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m going to video what we go through at every meal and show everyone how you behave.”

She ate everything.  

It didn’t go as smoothly as I wrote, I ran into a lot speed bumps, but ultimately each day got a little easier. She still tried to start arguments but instead of trying to reason with her, which would leave us both frustrated, a few times I would laugh and sing dumb songs, and believe it or not it worked; 

“Mom lets get everything ready for your shower.”
“I don’t need you to help me, Nancy go get my Depends, and a new nightgown.”
“Ok, I have everything you need.”
“Turn on the water, and regulate it, help me take off my nightgown and slippers, help me get into the shower.”
“Mom, let me help you, sometimes you miss washing areas that need to be washed.”
“I know how to shower; I don’t need your help.”
“Ok, just trying to help you out, forget  I asked.”
“Nancy, wrap a large towel around my back, get a little one for my body and feet, and then help me out.
“Ok, mom everything is done.”
“No, help me with my slippers and zip up my robe.”
“Mom, after helping you I need another shower, I’m sweating.”
“You don’t help me, you never help me, and you never do anything for me.”
“What, I do everything for you” and then I remembered this is how it starts, so I stopped and started singing.” 

“You never do anything for me, hee hee, hoo hoo.”
“You never do anything for me, hee hee, hoo hoo.”
“You never do anything for me, hee hee, hoo hoo, ha ha”
“Are you drunk?
“I don’t drink, hee hee,hoo hoo.” 

I couldn’t believe it by meeting her with laughter instead of frustration she stopped and walked away. So if all it takes is humor to avoid her constant need of arguing, I’m free, free at last. 

Hee hee, hoo hoo, ha ha. 

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17 Responses to “The Day The Earth Stood Still”


  1. 1 Nairobi November 21, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    hey nancy,

    Just came across your blog…Feel like an intruder here,but i couldn’t help but read.

    Well that’s how it is….To stop the argument and laugh about it is difficult..But it surely works wonders for a relationship! ( Any relation for that matter )
    Take care 🙂

    Cheers !

    • 2 Nancy November 22, 2009 at 9:06 am

      Nairobi, over the years my mother’s behavior has become mean and harsh when dealing with me. I realize it’s one on the changes when one has dementia. Unfortunately for me I hadn’t learned the reason she singles me out is because I give her the turmoil she needs. Now I’m taking everyone’s advice and laughing and its defusing the situation.

  2. 3 Barbara November 22, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Bravo! Bravo! Standing ovation! Yay!!!

    Smart woman you are! Remember the ‘Tough Love’ strategy back when we were younger? Well! I guess it works the other way around, too! I am so happy for you! I hope it continues to work for you!

    • 4 Nancy November 24, 2009 at 1:49 pm

      When my kids were little it was called ‘Tough Love’ when I was growing up it was called a ‘Good Old Spanking’, for my mom let’s call it ‘Scared Straight’.

      She’s already forgotten she was in the hospital, but the thought of going into ‘The Home’ is still fresh in her mind. Since she’s been home one week we’ve had a total of seven visits from Home Health, she not sure of what’s going on so she’s running scared. I only hope it lasts.

  3. 6 GAIL November 22, 2009 at 11:51 am

    HEE HEE HOO HOO HA HA LETS HOPE SOMETHING AS EASY AS THAT WORKS…I SEE SHES BEEN OUT ON THE PORCH GETTING SOME SUN…HER HIP DOESN’T SEEN TO STOP HER FROM WALKING??????GOOD LUCK….GAIL

    • 7 Nancy November 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm

      Gail, that hip was dislocated big time, and look at her she has no pain or trouble walking. If only she would dislocate her jaw and give me a rest.

  4. 8 GAIL November 25, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    I SEE HER OUT WALKING EVERYDAY…SHE DOES BETTER THAN ME….I’VE HAVING THANKSGIVING HERE TOMORROW….BILL IS COOKING FOR BOBBY AND HER DAD…ARE YOU COOKING HERE?????SHOULD HAVE SOME GREAT LEFTOVERS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD…..I JUST DID THE TURKEY TODAY….

    • 9 Nancy November 26, 2009 at 9:19 am

      I’m making her walk two to three times a day for exercise, I’m sure you here me loudly telling her to get up and move around.
      It sounds like we’ll all be home and in the kitchen today. I’ve cooked every holiday meal for the last thirty years. I never though about cooking the turkey the day before sounds like a good idea. Normally I do two turkeys but this year I’m only doing one with a ham. Stuffing I did yesterday and the side dishes this morning. All my leftovers go home with everyone and I usually do another smaller turkey on the weekend for us to munch on.

      • 10 GAIL November 28, 2009 at 6:07 pm

        AMY AND MONTE LEFT FROM HERE THANKSGIVING DAY TO DRIVE TO SAN DIEGO TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH HIS PARENTS AND SISTERS FAMILY…JULIE HAD A MIGRINE SO BY 5:00 EVERY ONE WAS GONE… I GOT KRISTEN TO COME OVER FRI TO HELP ME PUT BACK CHAIRS DISHES ETC…TONIGHT I JUST ATE EVERYTHING IN THE FRIDGE…OMG I;M FULLER NOW THAN I WAS THURSDAY…I GAVE JULIE ALMOST ALL THE LEFTOVERS BUT I MANAGED TO KEEP SOME GOODIES FOR ME….SUCH A LOT OF WORK, SHOPPING, CLEANING, MOVING FIRNITURE, GETTING DIDHES OUT,, COOKING AND ALL FOR ONE HOUR OF FOOD….IT’S TAKEN ME TWO DAYS TO PUT IT ALL BACK….I’M DONE I THINK THIS WAS MY LAST BIG DINNER….DID YOU GET YOUR MOM TO EAT ANYTHING??????????

      • 11 Nancy December 3, 2009 at 8:07 am

        We had an early crowd too. Chris had to get in line for Toys R Us which was opening up at midnight. Dana said she would pick up leftovers the next day, but after a few hours Mac wanted another ‘”feast” so they were back for seconds. I cleaned that night, and since I had to do a mini Thanksgiving on Saturday for my Aunt I did what I now call a “Gail move” and cooked the turkey on Friday, it was so much easier.
        Oh, about my mom eating on holidays, it’s easy the rule is if you don’t eat there’s no desserts.

  5. 12 Jennifer December 19, 2009 at 10:34 am

    OH MY IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE YOU WROTE ANYTHING. HOPE ALL IS WELL WITH YOUR FAMILY. I CAME DOWN TO GAILS THE OTHER DAY AND ALMOST RAN YOUR MOM OVER. THAT IS GREAT SHE IS OUT WALKING. JENNI

    • 13 Nancy December 29, 2009 at 8:50 am

      Jennifer, I hope your Christmas was wonderful.

      Since my mom was released from the hospital she’s been a handful, I do have a few things to post but the ones I wrote in December show that I was struggling with depression sometimes I just wanted to give up. But all is well now and I’ll be back to posting every few days.

  6. 14 GAIL December 23, 2009 at 7:06 am

    NANCY…I THOUGHT AFTER I SAW YOU AT WALGREENS YOU WOULD UPDATE YOUR BLOG….COME ON WE ARE ALL WAITING FOR THE LATEST INSTALLMENT TO YOUR STORY….DID YOU GET LUCKY AND FIND ENOUGH STOCKING STUFFERS FOR 8 STOCKINGS?????MY FRIEND GOT HER PICTURES YESTERDAY AND THOUGHT THEY WERE TWICE AS EXPENSIVE AS TARGET….

    • 15 Nancy December 29, 2009 at 8:58 am

      Two years ago, I gave my kids their Christmas stockings from when they were young and bought everyone Santa bags from Pottery Barn kids. Well, what a mistake their huge and it takes a lot to fill them. Silly putty, silly string, wooden airplanes, candy and that’s for the kids in their mid to late thirties. I spent more on stockings then gifts, next year their all getting coal. Gail you’re always smiling and laughing I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas.

  7. 16 Linn December 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Sure hope you are having a semblance of a Merry Christmas over there Nancy! Did you get all your trees up this year?? Guess if your mom is still behaving then I can imagine you were able to go all out as usual so I am hoping that’s why we haven’t heard from you on your blog in a while :>

    A very Merry Christmas and a *most* blessed New Year to you and your family!

    • 17 Nancy December 29, 2009 at 9:08 am

      Linn, the month of December was hard, however the week of Christmas was wonderful.

      My mom was confused and thought Thanksgiving was Christmas and when I started putting up the (five) trees she kept asking why I was putting them up after the holiday.
      There still up, minus the tree tops and garland around the house so if you’re around they’ll be up until Jan 3rd.

      I’m happy that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and hope the New Year brings an even brighter year.


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