Aunt Betty Jane who is 85 and doesn't know how to use a cell phone took this picture. I don't know if she was shaking or we were shaking. I know she pushed the camera button about 5 times before my phone took a pic.
This is Jerry's Mom, Leanida. She will be 92 years old tomorrow. She thought she was going to be 97 and wanted to know what happened to the other years. She asked what year she was born because she was sure I didn't know her right age.
She was SO, SO HAPPY to see Betty Jane and me today. She just loves to have company. Always has. The more, the merrier. BJ and I sat with her and explained how many were coming to visit her tomorrow for her birthday. She looked around her new room and said, "I have some tents we could put up in here." BJ asked her what she wanted to do with the tents. Then she explained that she could move her bed over against the wall, and then she would have "them" move in several more beds and put them end to end in her room. She seemed to think BJ and I needed a place to sleep tonight. She didn't know where we lived or how we got there.
She was in the best mood until I suggested she let the assistant help her take a shower tonight. She informed me she already HAD a shower today, which she had not. They say they can't get her to drink water there, but she drank two glasses for me. I feel like I should stay and visit every day to be sure she drinks water, gets her hair done and her nails done. Nobody cares like we do, and they can't convince her like we can.
Oh! Let me show you a pic of Betty Jane. This is Jerry's Aunt -- married to Mom's brother, Johnny, who died about 10 years ago. My taking care of Mom has given me the delight of getting to know Betty Jane much better.
Mom's hair is way past a perm and hair dye. We have that scheduled for next Tuesday. Too bad we couldn't get it done before her birthday. I will do her nails in the morning and find her lipstick.
I picked out a pretty outfit for her to wear and hung it on a nail that was in the wall from the last resident. Hopefully, the night girl will tell the morning girl to put it on her. I don't know any of the girls that work in the Memory Unit yet.
Both these women are very, very special! Betty Jane (on the left) has run The Upper Room here in Kingfisher for over 20 years. An UNair conditioned metal building that is like a small Goodwill. The place has a large garage door on it that she had to lift herself until just last summer when an automatic door opener was put on it. Mom (on the right) worked at The Upper Room with Betty Jane for nearly as many years.
Mom was a nurse -- the old fashioned kind - that truly cared deeply for each and every patient. She snuck vitamins, at her expense, into some of her patients to help them get well. She rubbed Vitamin E Oil over one old man's legs that were covered with scabs and sores, and the doctor couldn't believe how well they healed. She was the Administrator of several Nursing Homes, and put in a zillion hours of her own time planting flowers and decorating and caring for everyone. She was still working in her 70's part time as an in-home nurse for terminal patients. She became very attached to each one and their families loved her. Both of these women are so wonderful and giving. Mom would never want any of us doing anything at all for her. She wanted to do everything for everyone else.
She used to tell us stories way into the night of all her adventures. I remember her telling me a story about one young man who had cut his you-know-what off and was carrying it down the stairs and got blood all over the stairs. YUK! She told me about a doctor's wife who used to give herself overdoses of sleeping pills so her husband would rush home and save her life. One time, he didn't make it in time, and he came home to find her dead on the couch. She told us about how she used to find the grannies and the grampas in bed together at the nursing home. She told me about a woman that gave her husband a jar of some kind of fruit or jam. He kept telling her how delicious it was, and he kept asking for more. The jam was rotten, and he died from eating it!
I watched this woman rescue Jerry's brothers more times than I can remember. Both were alcoholics of the highest degree, and one did meth and other drugs as well. Mom would drive 100 miles in a day to take these boys food or get them out of jail or rush them to the emergency room or whatever it took including thousands of dollars. I watched her nurse them back to health time and time again. BOTH are off all that today and are alive and as well-as-can-be-expected because she never gave up on them.
How on earth she had time to do all of that PLUS have the most beautiful yard and gardens in Kingfisher that won the green spade award every year, is beyond me. Quite a woman! No wonder I love her and have such respect for her.
Better go. Tomorrow is her birthday, and I want to be ready.