On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Older woman with cell phoneMy smart phone is still smarter than I am, but I’m gaining on it. I’ve downloaded a couple of apps, taken and sent pictures, Tweeted and mastered lots of the other essentials of staying in touch in the modern world. Mom would be fascinated.

When her Alzheimer’s moved from the beginning stages to the more serious ones, she developed a love/hate relationship with the telephone. From the time I became a latch key kid in third grade until she began to lose her ability to communicate, she and I talked on the phone almost every day. But as she became more symptomatic, these conversations became difficult for her. She worried that she was bothering me or that I was too busy to talk with her, and she had trouble following the conversations. She was even more paranoid about talking with other people, so she rarely called anyone, and her phone rarely rang. Even so, she carried the handset with her everywhere she went like an electronic security blanket.

Then the phone stalking began. Somehow her phone number got on a call list for some kind of robotic auto-dialer. Several times a day her phone rang, but when she answered, no one was there. She heard mechanical clicks and beeps but no voices. In her state of mind, she was convinced that a stalker was calling her with evil intentions. In retaliation she talked, cajoled, yelled, pushed buttons and even blew a whistle, all to no avail. Dad added caller ID to their service, but she insisted on answering the phone anyway, and her hysteria mounted as the calls continued. David finally intervened and entered their number on the “no call” list. The calls eventually stopped, and she went back to peacefully carrying her security handset around again.

Later, when cell phones became common enough that she was aware of them, she expressed a desire for “one of those phones you carry around with you.” I pointed out that she had one she could carry around, but she said she wanted one she could take outside. I managed to distract her from that idea until she forgot about it. Based on her experience with the alarm system, I’m sure that was one of the smartest phone-related decision I’ve ever made.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: