Tuesday, March 19, 2013

lost in the supermarket (actually, the library)

I couldn't help but have the Clash's Lost in the Supermarket running through my head yesterday when my mother disappeared. She and my daughter and I were at our local library, returning some DVDs and looking for more (and books, too, of course).
I'm all lost in the supermarket
I can no longer shop happily
I came in here for that special offer
A guaranteed personality
We took the elevator from the third floor, which has all of the kids' books, music, and movies, to the second floor, which has all of the current DVDs and Blu-rays. The kid and I headed to the DVD racks, while my mom went to the rest room. I told her we'd meet her "over there," gesturing towards the movies. About 8-10 minutes later, with our arms full of a few treasures, the kid checked the restroom — but she wasn't there.
I wasn't born so much as I fell out
Nobody seemed to notice me
We had a hedge back home in the suburbs
Over which I never could see

My mom has dementia. We go to the library together a lot, but we don't usually go together to the second floor — I usually just go on my own while she and the kid hang out up on the kids' floor. If mom has to use the restroom she usually uses the one on the first (main) floor and then we leave from there. I knew she couldn't have gone far, or left the library, but I can't say I wasn't worried. We looked all over the second floor, just to be sure she wasn't browsing and we missed her, and then headed to the first floor. No sign of mom. I stationed the kid on the first floor where she could see the elevator, and then headed back to the elevator to check all the floors. I asked the nice librarian on the kids' floor if she'd seen her, thinking she might have headed back there to find us, and she said no, but she'd keep an eye out. Floors four and two (and their bathrooms) didn't turn her up. Neither did looking out the window, down at my car parked n the street. I headed back down to the main floor. I was greeted by my daughter, smiling and nodding. Mom had come downstairs and was actually out in the lobby, waiting for us.
I heard the people who lived on the ceiling
Scream and fight most scarily
Hearing that noise was my first ever feeling
That's how it's been all around me
Is there a lesson here? A few, I think. Number one, for my own sanity, is not to drift away when she wants to do something, or to be more specific about where to meet in a future similar situation. Number two, maybe mom has more of an idea of how to operate the elevator and navigate the library (and the world) than I give her credit. I had pictured her, panicked on the elevator, not knowing what button to push. I'm always so "in charge" of where we go that she doesn't have to be. Maybe I need to let her try to do more. But I think that lesson number one will still help us all in the future, as this dementia roller coaster ride has its ups and downs, its hills and valleys.
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