Trick or Treat
We’re about ready to enter the season for trick or treat. It was about this time last year that I experienced my own version of a “Trick or Treat” experience with my mother. Sometimes you just don’t know what character is behind the face that you’ve known all your life.
In October of last year, Mom was trying to adapt to her new situation. One of the issues that she was dealing with was allergies since the area where we live in Texas has a lot of pollens. Mom’s primary care physician arranged for Mom to be tested by an allergist. This would mark the first trip outside the secure unit that my mom would make; luckily, my brother was in town so he and I served as a “tag-team” to keep my strong-willed mother occupied.
We got to the doctor’s office, and proceeded to help Mom back to the area where the skin tests would be administered. Before, I would have told you that my mother had always been a trooper when dealing with pain, but she wasn’t a happy camper this time after she had been stuck with multiple needles as part of the test. As my brother watched, my mom got my attention in order to point out an interesting coat rack that was hanging up on the wall. Once I nodded that I did indeed see the rack, she said with a leering smile, “I’d like to hang you up from there.” My brother was amazed and disconcerted with the venom behind the comment: “Mom, you don’t mean that about Dorian.” But I realized that her remark was based on her discomfort and her lack of energy; she didn’t know how to voice her discomfort so she took it out on whoever was around.
Later during that visit, my brother went to get a cup of coffee. While out of the room, Mom complained that her head was cold. And just like that, she pulled the blanket that she had in her lap and placed it completely over her head. My mother (who always was the respectable one in the family in the past by being concerned about appearances) now looked like Casper, the Friendly Ghost. My brother walked in and gasped. I motioned that he should calm down so that we didn’t set her off into an emotional reaction.
That was one of the first times that my brother had to learn to “go with the flow” of whatever Mom was doing. We pushed Mom’s wheelchair (with Mom sitting with her head covered by the blanket) out into the open, and I’m sure all the other patients were watching my mother’s actions with interest and some disdain.
It was at that point that I decided I wasn’t going to worry what others think about my mother. She has a horrible disease and she does strange things sometimes. I’m not always sure what her reactions are going to be, but I’m going to accept her reactions as long as she doesn’t hurt anyone. Sometimes Mom looks frightful (especially when she looks like an 80-year-old ghost), but knowing that she’s safe and taken care of in itself is a treat.
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Published On: October 03, 2006