Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lola and the Battle of the TV Remote

Mother lost the battle of the remote control of the television a few days ago. I'd had all I could take and confiscated it. Mom watches the Turner Clasic Movie channel 99.9% of the time. Occasionally she'd turn it on CNN. Her ability to use the remote has degraded to the point that she's lucky when she gets it to do what she wants. She'd really reached the point where she couldn't remember how to change the channel and could only remember how to turn the volume up and down.

TCM movies are notorious for quiet whispered moments followed in a split second by roaring fights or bombs exploding. A steady diet of this volume clash has driven me nuts. Lola would try to control the volume by turning it up during the quiet scenes. That meant turning it all the way up. Really, topping out the volume. Then when the regular sound returned she'd just sit there and listen to it.

A couple of days ago, while standing in the hall I watched her and realized that she couldn't discern when no one was speaking as compared to the volume being too low to hear. She was sitting there struggling to turn the volume up until the bar reached the maximum, and there was absolutely no sound coming from the movie. There was no music playing or people talking, and she couldn't tell the difference.

That's the point at which I put the volume on medium and walked away with the remote in my hand. It now resides with me. She's not said anything about it.

However, Lola has just about quit talking at all. Trying to keep her engaged and in the real world has ended. It simply quit working. She'll talk to visitors, but I guess she feels no overriding social prerogative to respond to me. I got her to watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve, but she wasn't really interested. If I ask her a question about whatever movie she's watching, her answer is "I don't know." When Max came in yesterday for his visit and greeted her, I had to force her to give him a greeting. "Mama, at least open your mouth and say hello." She smiled and did so.

Hell, for all I know this may be passive resistance on her part. She may likely be as sick of me and the situation as I am. There's no other solution, and we just have live with each other.

On the seeing front, Mom's got me stumped. She's got a cataract on one eye that she neglected to fix, and it's far too late to get that done. It was too late to do that two years ago when I moved in. She wouldn't do it for love nor money. There's no clue as to how long it's been since she had an eye exam and updated her prescription.

Having good eyeglasses doesn't seem to matter anymore. She won't keep them on. She has the guest register from Bebe's funeral, and goes through it constantly. The other day she was sitting there flipping through it without her glasses on. I asked her to read me the names. She couldn't because she couldn't see them. When she put her glasses on, she could stumble through them and could really see them if she also used the magnifying glass.

Glasses and teeth seemed to be a problem in the nursing homes that Joe was in. It seems that a majority of elderly finally abandon their glasses. Lola's reached that stage.

Lola is still very concerned about her false teeth. At every meal I have to tell her first thing that I'll fix her teeth. If I don't, the first thing she says is that she has no bottom teeth. I'll sit her lunch on her tray and hold out a napkin for her to use to pull the bottom the teeth out (if she hasn't already and hidden them). At least once a day, with a smile and a laugh she says, "You know the routine." The daily reminder of how far her mind has gone is grinding on the psyche.

Lola frequently goes on meanderings while I'm asleep. I don't know how many hours she actually sleeps a good sound sleep as compared to dozing. Nearly every morning this last week there's been an outfit for her to wear hanging on a doorknob or drawer pull. She won't remember to put them on when she finally gets up; she just gets them out. There'll frequently be a bottle of nail polish, which I hope she just can't open, on her nightstand. The jewelry on her table top changes so I know she putters through her jewelry drawer. I keep finding old pictures torn up and put in the trash, along with the towel she lays on her lap while eating.


Debbi said...

Would turning on the subtitles help? They tend to be large on the bottom. Without glasses even I can read them. Or could that cause confusion for Lola?

Jola Gayle said...

Debbi, thanks for the thought, but it doesn't work. First, her TV is so old there's no menu for subtitles that I've found. Second, she can't read them. I've tested her, and she can't even read very large words on the screen. Much less, the subtitles would go by too quickly.

Someone has to read the placards on the silent movies for her because she can't read even them.