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Lost and Found July 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance.

Living with mom reminds me of an endless game of “Hide the Thimble” . . . with all manner of sundry objects ready, willing, and able to step in as understudy for the lead role.

Sunrise to sunset, we play “hide and seek” with her glasses, her book, her walker, her cane, her hearing aids, her coffee cup, her cigarettes, her pocketbook, her lighter, her  photo albums, her pillbox, her whatchmacallit, etc.

It’s not that objects disappear from plain view or vanish into thin air, it’s that mom never chooses to look for them in the right place at the right time.

Mom has never been good at games.

If her pocketbook is hanging around her neck, she looks for it in her room.

If her coffee cup is sitting on the table, she wanders into the kitchen to see if it’s turned up there.

If her walker is at the back door, she searches for it by my computer.

BFF and I compensate for her incompetence with chattels by locating lost, misplaced, and “hidden” objects with a minimum of bother and fuss.

“Found it!”

“Oh, you did.  Where was it?”

“Right where you left it, mom.”

Yesterday, it was my turn.  I lost something of great value.  Priceless, really.  The most valuable possession I own for coping with life’s many, myriad, constant, and sundry challenges.

I lost my sense of humor, not for long, but for long enough for life to turn on its head with nothing but dark dismal cold stark gray on the horizon.

Without a sense of humor to temper my temper . . . my patience with HER began to wear thin.  Everything SHE did or said chafed.

Instead of smiling at her inane and/or ironic comments, I wanted her to disappear.  To step in as understudy for the Thimble.  To be lost, and never found.

I have since recovered my sense of humor (and with it my equilibrium).  All our recent practice with “Hide the Thimble” and “Lost and Found” paid off:

“Found it!”

“Oh, you did.  Where was it?”

“Right where I left it, mom.”

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. creatingreciprocity - July 29, 2012

Good woman. It is one wearing job. Well done.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

It’s rather like coping with a short-tempered toddler . . . desperately in need of a nap. 😉

2. Christine. - July 29, 2012

It comes to us all, you know. So watch out. It’s not funny when you lose something though. Now then….where did I put them…I used to have them…I can’t remember when though…if you see my marbles can you let me know…:)

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Yes . . . we lose our minds bit by bit and byte by byte. 😉

3. nuvofelt - July 29, 2012

My heart goes out to you. It’s a hard road to travel. She loves you, she’ll understand, but more importantly, you love her – that’s what brings you through.

Thinking of you

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Even better than her understanding is her proclivity to forget from day to day (and even moment to moment) what exactly has transpired.

So, by the time I’ve reclaimed my patience, she no longer recalls that I lost it in the first place. 😎

Karen J - July 29, 2012

Perhaps, that is a Blessing, too.
It can allow one to recognize that the ‘only one’ really upset with the loss-of-whatever, is the “Voices in My Head” ~ our own inner Judge…

Many Blessings to you all!

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Thanks, Karen. Keeping a sense of humor in full upright and locked position allows me to maintain necessary life balance and equilibrium in the midst of the madness.

“if we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”

4. Piglet in Portugal - July 29, 2012

I can’t imagine you losing your sense of humour!

But I know exactly what you mean. I look forward to visiting my Mum in the UK and within just 30mins of arriving I am evil.
I’ve repeated one sentence at least 10 times..and she won’t admit she’s deaf. Probably not, because I can mutter something under my breath in the next room and she say’s “I heard that”
She is always losing things and by the end of a 3 day visit I’m surprised the men in white coats are not beating the door down to take me away.

I could not live me my Mum any more than I could go and live with my daughter. One day I might not have a choice.

Keep smiling Nancy and remember the men in the white coats

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Last night, BFF feared for my sanity. NOTHING was funny. Life took on the aura of a vast and expansive wasteland. I did the sensible thing, I retired for the evening and went to bed.

An hour later, I woke up. As I walked to the bathroom, I realized my sense of humor (and sanity) had returned. Such a relief!

5. katecrimmins - July 29, 2012

I have been there. I loved my mom dearly but we didn’t bicker as much when we lived separately. After a stay in the hospital for heart failure, she came to stay with me for a few days. My house was more convenient. We weren’t even at my house 10 minutes when the bickering began. I felt so badly. It was a very tough couple days as I resolved to just do whatever made her happy. BTW, your mother should not be smoking but I guess at this point that is a losing argument too.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

It’s far easier living with her HERE (in my house) than the 3 weeks I spent with her THERE (in her house). But . . . this is the hardest job I have ever had because so much of our daily interactions are governed by her diminished reasoning and hearing ability.

Our conversations tend towards those one might encounter while traversing through Wonderland with Alice. 😯

6. Tammy - July 29, 2012

Karma, Nancy. And humor allows the karma to build more readily.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Most of the time, I engage in our encounters with a wisp of a smile on my lips as she shares thoughts and opinions that most would agree would be better kept to oneself.

I expect my karmic balance-sheet is positively top-heavy at the moment. _/!\_

7. Crowing Crone Joss - July 29, 2012

oh my, sweet thing. you’re allowed to lose your sense of humour once in a while but, yeah, need to find it again posthaste or you would really lose your mind. My daughter goes through this with her Dad who has Early Onset Alzheimer’s. She has a really hard time finding her sense of humour and often ends up weeping on the phone to me.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Mom’s doctor characterizes it as “presenile dementia” which leaves me to wonder where the dividing line between presenile and senile falls. 😀

Crowing Crone Joss - July 29, 2012

no kidding eh?

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

No kidding . . . although “presenile” may be a polite euphemism so as not to upset geriatic patients wielding canes.

8. granny1947 - July 29, 2012

Oh Nancy…I feel for you…I really do…multiply your Mom by three…that is where I am…really don’t think I can do this.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Yup. I might have been a contender for the annus horriblus award . . . but you win it HANDS DOWN.

Or, perhaps, HANDS UP . . . in complete and utter surrender.

This, too, shall pass. Keep breathing.

9. Three Well Beings - July 29, 2012

You are in a whole new world right now…I read the Mary Pipher book “Another Country” when we were going through some of these times with my mother-in-law. And the title is apt…living with a parent in this season of life is “another country” for you all. I highly recommend the book, although in some ways you’re learning so much right on the ground floor! I must remember about maintaining my sense of humor in all sorts of trying situations–it is so easy to misplace! Hugs! D

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

You are so right, Debra. This is a new world with a surreal landscape to it. It’s rather like wandering through Wonderland with the Mad Hatter as my companion. 😆

10. eof737 - July 29, 2012

Humor helps… But it cannot be easy. OM.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

It’s life . . . that takes practice and patience.

eof737 - July 29, 2012

You have both… Hugs to you and the entire family. Om Shanti!

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Thanks, E!

11. suzicate - July 29, 2012

I so needed this. You have no idea how I related to it at this time. My MIL is here for twelve days…
Sometimes the days seem so much longer and much less gets accomplished in that time.
And yes, I found my sense of humor right where I left it, too. Thank you for reminding me to look for it. I hadn’t realized I misplaced it. I think finding it will make all the difference in the world.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m glad you need only maintain your sense of humor (and sanity) for 12 days.

I’m wondering how long “this” will last . . . and hoping I survive to tell the tale(s). 😉

suzicate - July 29, 2012

It takes lots of adjustments for whatever period of time! Holding you in love and light, friend!

12. Irene - July 29, 2012

There will be times when dealing with an elderly parent is going to cause you to be ill tempered and crabby. You’re allowed. It’s normal. My BFF is dealing with an Alzheimer dad. You want to lose your patience and sense of humor? Try repeating an answer to a question that was asked 4 hours earlier 5 times within that 4 hours. So go ahead and be grouchy. You’re entitled. No one will judge you. It takes tremendous strength and patience to care for our parents at their age (I’m dealing with my father on a part time basis, so I’m not quite there yet). And just remember “This too shall pass”.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Yup . . . same here. Everyday mom asks the same questions (and gets the same answers) without remembering that her questions have already been asked and answered.

While I might be “entitled” to be grouchy . . . that’s not my preferred method for dealing with what life throws my way. I much prefer to navigate shifting sands with a smile on my face.

How we relate to the issue IS the issue. 😀

Good luck to you and your BFF. The mental and physical challenges faced by our patients tend to have a trickle down effect on our own mental and physical well-being.

13. why am I here in a handbasket? - July 29, 2012

how very sad that you wanted your mother to disappear.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Luck was with her . . . I didn’t find my magic wand in time to manifest the desire. 😉

viviankirkfield - July 29, 2012

Oh Nancy…thank you for sharing your brilliance…I hope I can remember this. 🙂

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Thanks, Vivian. 😀

14. Barefoot Baroness - July 29, 2012

Omgosh, I do think I am becoming your mom, and mine. My girls are always looking for something of mine. My glasses… that are usually on my head…

Great post my friend, so much love glows from your sharing, Thank you! ~ BB

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Here’s to finding whatever we seek!

15. sufilight - July 29, 2012

Being hearing impaired, your mom’s diminished hearing ability naturally catches my attention. 😉 Many people who lose hearing because of age do not know how to lip read so that makes communication much harder. Perhaps a lip reading coaching for seniors may help? When I lost all my hearing in April, my s/o said that our communication was basically the same, and it’s because of my ability to lip read.

Glad you got your sense of humor back within the hour. 🙂

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Part of the problem is that mom says “what?” before even trying to figure out what’s been said . . . and if she misses one word she fails to fill in the blank using “common sense.”

I’m glad that you and your s/o are able to communicate more effectively.

16. Pocket Perspectives - July 29, 2012

Oh, Nancy…hugs to you..it can be so difficult…I find it can be just as distressing/disorienting to watch my own reactions as it can be to cope with what is going on…it was such a surprise to find out that I had/have such a hard time staying steady, patient and goodnatured…. btw..I often/usually can’t stay those ways with my mom. I know there was/is a learning curve for me. As far as hearing goes…older people’s cognitive functioning can really be impacted by ongoing limited hearing…there are personal FM systems that sometimes are very helpful. You (or any person, or in the middle of a table) would wear the microphone unit and it can transmit, wirelessly (or wired for inexpensive units) to the listener’s ear or hearing aid. The understanding of speech can really be improved with use of those, even if the cognitive functioning is diminished. If you want, I can email links to units/systems that I’ve use…they can be really helpful! (inexpensive, but adequate wired ones= Radio Shack. More expensive, wireless, much better audio quality and adjustability : Oticon Amigo FM Systems, Phonac FM systems. I’ve used all 3 with kids and my mom and they were good )

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

I’m not sure it would solve our problem, Kathy. Part of mom’s problem is that she doesn’t see her lack of hearing as HER problem. She blames it on the speaker, the TV, the movie, the CD, etc. When she’s actually paying attention, she usually hears me (in a 1-on-1 situation) pretty well.

Not that she remembers anything that I’ve said. 😉

Pocket Perspectives - July 29, 2012

the combination of a peripheral hearing loss and a more “central” loss of ability to process what one hears can be very confusing to older people…people often can’t “get” that idea, even when thinking and memory are okay. An inexpensive Radio Shack listening device might be worth a try… it might help at times when the thinking is less confused. I found it made things much easier for those of us doing the talking too… We used several different ones. The expensive ones have better sound, but this inexpensive one has some adjustable frequency controls…kind of flimsy, but you might be able to see if this kind of direct input amplification is helpful http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2104057&ab=CMS2032060&utm_campaign=Category_CMS&utm_source=CAT&utm_medium=RSCOM&utm_content=CT2032060 I have other links too..I think I can email them to you… take care…

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Thanks, Kathy. I’ll check it out.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

That said, if you have a handy link, I’ll definitely check it out.

17. cuhome - July 29, 2012

This must be so difficult. And, thank you for the really, really important reminder of how important humor is! Your daily struggles speak to me, as I can see it coming down the pike, with my own father’s new diagnosis of dementia. Thanks for sharing all of this, Nancy. You help so many people. ♥

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Thanks, Janet. My sense of humor has kept me on a fairly even keel during these trying and tiring weeks. I’ll do my best NOT to misplace it again . . . especially at a critical juncture.

18. kateshrewsday - July 29, 2012

Nancy, my thoughts are with you. I have no experience or wisdom to offer; only friendship, a cyber-handhold across an ocean. Sometimes what we are asked to bear seems so relentless, yet the Spirit, as you said in a recent post, is busy finding a way and we will see the whole picture presently. My cyber friend Dee, a former nun who used to teach in inner cities, puts it so well. She ends every comment: Peace. I wish you peace.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Peace (and a sense of humor about the rocks in the road) goes a long way in helping us to meet whatever challenges we encounter. For the most part, I’ve managed to maintain both to use as “life savers” during long and exhausting days.

19. Don - July 29, 2012

Admire your love and courage. I suppose its the humour that also enables one to cope. I couldn’t imagine anything more difficult. Strength to you all.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Thanks, Don. Today has been a relaxing counter-point to the fireworks of last evening . . . watching the Olympics while playing word games. Aah . . . that’s better.

20. jannatwrites - July 29, 2012

I’m glad you have you sense of humor back. You describe what my parents went through when my grandma lived with them. They were glad to be in a position to help, but still, it was a disruption in their regular routine. The constant needs did have a way of wearing on their patience unless they could find a way to mentally get away at some point during the day.

I’ll be thinking of you as you go through this adjustment period.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Thanks, Janna. I am glad to be in a position to help, but wish there was someone to pass the ball to when I’m tired of dribbling.

21. barb19 - July 29, 2012

Patience, my dear Nancy; hang in there.
Wind down at night with a glass of vino when she is tucked up in bed and let the stresses of the day flow from you . . .

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Wait . . what? I have to wait for bedtime for wine/whine time? 😆

22. Patricia - July 29, 2012

When I was caring for my fathe,r and later my brother, I found that the impatience of mine had more to do with anger. I was angry that this was happening to them–and me. I was angry not so much that I had to take care of them but that it was necessary.

It is not a smooth and easy path you are on just now. No advise from here but I send quiet and peaceful thoughts your way.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Yes, there is that . . . it helps if we are willing to accept the “what is” without undue resistance. But even acceptance doesn’t smooth out all the rough patches, does it?

Patricia - July 29, 2012

Not by a long shot! Acceptance, for me, was illusive. Not sure if I ever got there 100%.

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

I’m not sure that even the Dalai Lama achieves 100% acceptance 100% of the time ~ it’s probably an unattainable desire. We must accept our imperfect efforts. 😉

23. viviankirkfield - July 29, 2012

Nancy…I read through all of the comments and learned so much more about you from your replies…I admire you all the more…and absolutely savour your sense of humor…you are a genius!
Yes, even acceptance doesn’t smooth out all the rough patches…you are so right. I’m glad so many offered cyber-comfort…is there “real” comfort you can get in the form of others who can come in and give you and your hubby respite every day? I hope so. 🙂
I add my cyber-comfort as well…and my smile. 🙂

nrhatch - July 29, 2012

Thanks, Vivian! 😀

We definitely will find ways to maintain our sense of humor and peace of mind . . . even if the sailing isn’t always as smooth as we might wish.

24. bluebee - July 30, 2012

Glad it didn’t take you long to find it – can’t keep a good woman down 🙂

nrhatch - July 30, 2012

Unless you squash her flat . . . knocking the humor out of her sense! 😉

25. Perfecting Motherhood - July 31, 2012

Oh, I feel for you. I can’t stand people who misplace their stuff all the time and then ask me where I put it! Maybe you need to train your mom to put things down in specific places, so she only has a few spots to check. Maybe, I said!

nrhatch - July 31, 2012

“Maybe, I said.” 😆 We are working on it . . . but it is s~l~o~w going at times.

Mom is learning where things are kept, which light switch operates which light, and where her room is (there are only 4 rooms to choose from . . . so she’s got a 25% chance of being right at any given time).

26. Tokeloshe - August 1, 2012

A wonderful lesson to us all, thank you.

nrhatch - August 1, 2012

Thanks, Linda. Hanging onto our sense of humor is key to maintaining our sanity in the midst of the absurdity of daily life.

27. CMSmith - August 12, 2012

I’m glad you found your sense of humor. A loss of patience now and then is to be expected, I imagine.

nrhatch - August 13, 2012

Yes. Unlike raising toddlers who progress (mastering task after task), seniors with dementia regress. Tasks once mastered fade away and memories dissipate into the progressive fog.

CMSmith - August 13, 2012

Watching it happen every day here. I try to celebrate the things my dad is still able to do while he can, instead of seeing the loss. Our glass is 5% full.

nrhatch - August 13, 2012

Definitely the right attitude to have, Christine.

28. misifusa - August 3, 2017

Nancy, loved this post! I totally understand! Thank you for sharing what I’ve felt many times in the past although I’m getting better now. But in the beginning, I lost my sense of humor many times and had to give myself a time out LOL.
Again, sending you a big healing hug. xoxo

nrhatch - August 3, 2017

Thanks! Hope you and your mom continue to enjoy those milkshakes on the swing!

misifusa - August 3, 2017

Thank you!

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