I came back from a walk outside to find my mother fussing over her CASIO digital wristwatch. You know, the watches that have lots of functions but teeeeeeny tiny print, itsy bitsy buttons to press (often with an extended paperclip) and even teeny tinier print in the “handy users guide.”
What follows was the conversation we had about the rationale behind setting the watch alarm. She says it is not going off. She also says she can’t hear the alarm, but still wants it to go off. But no matter, she wants it set.
Welcome to my world.
PS Did I mention that I come from a long line of stubborn, set in their ways, New Englanders?
Me: “Mom what are you doing?”
Mom: “I am trying to program this watch to go off at 6:45 a.m.”
Me: “Mom, why do you want it to go off at 6:45?”
Mom: “Because I have the alarm clock on the bedstand set to go off at 6:30”
Me: “Mom, but why do you want to wake up at 6:30? Why not sleep? You are having trouble sleeping through the night as it is [chronic leg pain, possible occluded artery in one leg], so why not just let yourself sleep?”
Mom: “If I decide I don’t want to wake up I can just go back to sleep.”
Me: “Right but this morning you were up at 4:30 because of your leg and then you had trouble going back to sleep. And by the time you did get to sleep again the alarm is set to go off at 6:45 and will wake you up.”
Mom: “No, 6:30”
Me: “Mom, you are tired. The pain is making you tired. You do not have to wake up at 6:30. You need to rest when your body wants to rest. That will make you feel better during the day.”
Mom: “But it takes me so long to get going in the morning, so I need to wake up early to get started on that, and then I can decide if I want to get up or not….. We always got up early when we lived [name of any the places we have lived in the past] …. Can you make this thing work for me?”
I took the watch and fussed with it for about 3 minutes. I gave up and made her lunch and then went out at the porch and listened to the birds, counting the minutes til beer o’clock.
Later in the afternoon I told my dad’s Hospice nurse about this exchange. Her thought was that at my mom’s age, ANY semblance of a routine is a comfort… turning the alarm clock on is a way of her controlling -something- in her otherwise uncertain world. Plus, the nurse said, she might actually ENJOY waking up and realizing that yay! she had made it to another day…vs the alternative.
I guess every morning that you wake up is an accomplishment when you are 88.
Something to think about.