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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
The ups and downs of helping my dad care for my grandmother who suffers from Dementia
Operation Clean Sheets
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About this blog
By Carole Anderson
I am a local teacher. I have three daughters and a very, very busy life. My husband is a mental health therapist. He is probably the reason I stay sane. Family is the No. 1 priority in my life. My 88-year-old grandmother has dementia, and my father ...
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Life is Hard...If You Don't Know or Remember the Directions
I am a local teacher. I have three daughters and a very, very busy life. My husband is a mental health therapist. He is probably the reason I stay sane. Family is the No. 1 priority in my life. My 88-year-old grandmother has dementia, and my father is her primary guardian. She recognizes very few of her family members now. She does however remember me and my girls. Because of this, we are able to help to take care of her. With this blog, we share our memories, moments of insanity and our breakdowns. We have found that by seeing the humor with Dementia, we are able to survive. I hope this blog helps anyone taking care of a loved one that is dealing with a similar situation. Sometimes it helps knowing others are out there answering the same questions and just taking it one day at a time.
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First of all, before you read this entire blog, I need to set the scene for you.










Play the Mission In Possible theme song in your head.  I’m in my van outside of Grandma’s house with my lights off.  I have my phone on the speaker phone with Shelby on the line.  She is inside the house with Grandma.  I was there earlier and had changed the sheets on Grandma’s bed.  The sheets were going to my mother’s house to be washed.  So, here is how Operation Clean Sheets went down.  Stop theme song in your head.  I will tell you when to return to the theme song.










24 hours earlier, Dad and mom had to leave unexpectedly for a funeral.  So, I had to take care of Grandma.  Grandma was in a good mood this weekend. She didn’t call Daddy a million times a day.  We forwarded his phone to my phone.  We did this in order for me to handle all her ordeals and questions.  Kiley stayed Friday night and tried to stir drama up with Grandma by telling her various things that were going on in today’s culture.  She also kept telling Grandma that she needed to take off the green dress she was wearing.  This particular green dress is her favorite.  She has worn it for the last two weeks.  Kiley has been trying to get her to take it off and wash it.  BUT that is an entire new post.  I will get to that later.










Anyway, back to the story.....Shelby was staying with Grandma.  We went over there with KFC chicken.  We all sat and visited as we ate our dinner.  Grandma loves company.  I gave Kiley the cue to keep conversation going with Grandma.  I went to her bedroom and stripped the sheets.  I rolled the bedspread very carefully so I could set it back up easily.  I asked Grandma where she kept her sheets.  She answered without thinking twice.  They were in a drawer in the back bedroom.  I looked.  I found the gold pitcher.  I found the gold bowl.  I found pecans and more pecans.  However, I did not find sheets.










I looked in the middle bedroom. To my dismay, I did not find any sheets in there either. Finally, I looked in the bathroom and there under the sink was one pillow case and one sheet.  JACKPOT!










I put them on her bed.  Carefully put the covers back on the bed exactly as she left them. I only had one pillow case.  So, I chose the ugliest pillow, and left the other two on the other side of the bed.  I reset the internet, because she had unplugged it due to the fact that is uses her electricity.  I also set out a night gown.  I thought if she saw something nice to wear then she would change clothes.










I headed back to the dining room and gave the girls the sign that the sheet change had been completed.  So, Kiley and I left and explained to her that Ellis is dead, Gary is in Oklahoma, Shelby was staying with her, and I would be back in the morning with her breakfast.  Kiley had aggravated her again.  She was a little glad to see her go.










We got to the corner and I realized I had forgotten the sheets to wash at mom’s house.  AAAHHHHH  Grandma probably had her security system in place.  Shelby would have to remove all 30 million chairs to get to the door.  She would also have to sneak out with them.










(Start Mission in Possible Theme song in your head once again here.)










I called Shelby and explained the operation.  










Her mission if she was to accept it:  Grab the sheets that were wrapped in a red blanket in the back bedroom.  I would be in the driveway with my lights off.  She was to keep all communications on for surveillance in the van outside.










I heard Shelby walk through the house.  AND THEN NINJA GRANDMA CAME OUT OF NOWHERE! AND she was in sundowners mode.










Ninja Grandma:  Where are you going with those?  Those are mine.










Shelby:  I am going to give them to Carole Anne to wash.










At this point, I knew that Agent Shelby had been compromised, and I had to move in fast and quick in order for the operation to go smoothly.  Ninja Grandma can be quick at grabbing the possession and hiding it.










I ran in the house. I grabbed the blanket and sheets from Agent Shelby,  and started to turn and run out.










Ninja Grandma:  “Hey, you can’t take my sheets.  You need to get your own.  Bring those back”










Me:  “I’m going to wash them out here and bring them back.”  (Her laundry room is in the garage.)










Ninja Grandma “No, you are not!  You give those back.”










Me:  “I’m going to wash them.”










Ninja Grandma:  “Who are you?  Well, wash them in cold water.”










I laughed as I left.  It was quick and fast.  The entire time Operation Clean Sheets was in play, Agent Shelby stood there between us with her mouth open having no idea what to say or do.  I think she may be a double agent.  I will have to investigate her further and provide more training.










I left Agent Shelby there with Ninja Grandma. I figured she could fend for herself. The look on her face told me she was not happy, but she had to deal with Ninja Grandma on her own... because I was out of there. 










The next morning, I returned the clean sheets to her bedroom.  I told her that she needed to change the sheets on her bed.  She said she would.  Ninja Grandma with sundowners had left, and Grandma was back.  She thanked me for getting her clean sheets out for her. We ate breakfast.  I hugged her as I left and thanked her for all the special \memories.  She laughed.  “OOOHHHH Girl, I have no idea what you are talking about.”










That is ok...because I do...well, for now I do.  :)










Oh, you can stop playing the Mission in Possible theme in your head now.














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