Hi, everyone.  Been a bit of a lapse here and I apologize for that (although I know I don’t have to because you all GET IT).

Want to start off with some good news.  No, not good – GREAT!  An essay I wrote about my mom and her disease has been purchased by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society!  I’m so pleased and so very proud to have my work be accepted by this prestigious publication.


On the mom front….well, that’s where the title to this piece comes from.  We’ve had some rough days and some not-so-rough ones.

She’s been a tad naughty – climbing out of her wheelchair (quite a feat for a 105 lb, 91-year-old woman when you consider that it’s tipped back so her feet are elevated).  Guess she’s feeling stronger, and who’d have  thought THAT would happen?

Her weight is  holding steady.  Her eating remains erratic, though she did clean her plate for breakfast and lunch yesterday.  Her pain appears to be well-managed.

We did have an outbreak of the aggressive, mean side of Alzheimer’s.  Oh, she was an absolute witch.  Not her fault, of course, and I realize that even though the transition really does take the wind from one’s lungs.  She was snarly, shooting everyone such evil looks, and totally delusional, telling me that Satan lived in the basement and that they were taking old people downstairs and not bringing them back and everyone was scared.  But not her!  She was ready to fight…and did.  (Of course, this is where the writer in me immediately thinks, “This is like a TV movie.  The heroine comes to visit her mother, hears this wild story, chalks it up to dementia, and then discovers it’s true!”)

Last few visits have been much calmer.  I try to distract her with hot tea and a candy bar an it seems to help.  She wants to “come home,” whatever that means since I know she doesn’t remember living with us, or the last house she lived in with my father.  So far, I’ve been able to keep her calm by assuring her that she has to stay until she’s “better.”  She trusts me to know when that is, and makes no bones about the fact that she doesn’t trust the doctors.  I try to hug her a lot and hold her hands, give her human contact beyond the superficial.

And she’s made a friend!  One of the other residents, a sweet-faced woman named Dorothy, has taken Mom under her wing.  “We look out for each other,” Dorothy told me yesterday.  It’s good to know that, with all she’s lost, Mom can still have quality moments in her life and relationships she enjoys.


About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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One Response to Rollercoaster

  1. frangipani says:

    Congratulations on your essay! Will you be sharing it here with us some day? Looking forward to it!

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