A quick update on what’s been happening in my world. I like to keep the soap opera called my life relatively current on the blog. That’s not always possible but I do my best. Friday Nov. 29th we got back from our annual pilgrimage to Tunica, MS for Thanksgiving. We’ve been going there every year since 1998. Most people who know me know I’m not a fan of tradition. The contrarian in me doesn’t like doing what everyone else is doing or being told I should do things on a certain day, in a certain way. I do like tradtions that I start. I remember the first time we came across the mid-south’s answer to Las Vegas and Atlantic City. 15 years ago, it was in the 70’s and sunny the entire time we were there. We were able to wear shorts and sandals and I remember telling my husband that it was the best way to spend Thanksgiving ever! That I wanted to do it every single year. He agreed and we’ve managed to stay true to our tradition. The past few years, it’s been raining and cold the entire week with this year being the absolute worst! They set records for the lowest high temperature. Damn that global warming. It was only like 2 degrees warmer than back home and had more rain down there. In a nutshell, it sucked.
We left on Wed. Nov. 20th and since it’s a 10 hour drive, 2 days are lost to travel. We are getting too old for such long hours riding or driving. I can hardly believe I’m saying that since when we were in our mid-30’s we drove 26 hours straight to Reno, NV. We stopped to eat and go to the bathroom but not sleep. Plus we had my mom and a dog in the car. It hardly fazed us then. Now if we have to travel more than 5 hours, it takes us a week to recover. 😦
I wish I could say our trip was fantastic. Instead it was hard. It was like not being on vacation at all. I’m afraid to complain about things because it seems when I do, they only get worse. Like the universe thinks I’m ungrateful and sends me more grief to deal with because I couldn’t just keep my mouth shut and suck it up. Our last vacation in Sept. was so awful that I didn’t even bring it up. Someday I’ll write about it but it was one for the record books. Until we had this one. I had totally lowered my expectations but not low enough.
In some ways, it’s my fault that I put myself in that position. I know my mom’s 92 1/2 years old and still think she can do things that she obviously can’t. Besides the natural aging, there’s Alzheimer’s to contend with. I knew she was tired when we got down there and we had stopped at Southland Greyhound Park in W. Memphis, AR. It’s a casino and they have a buffet that’s reasonable. We just tried this place for the first time a few years ago and now we stay the night in the parking lot (in the RV). Then the next morning we can get up and head out to Tunica right away. We walked over to eat and got our meal for $2.01 since a sweet patron offered us one of her coupons and we used our points on our casino players cards. This is the only money we spent on food all week! So I was tickled pink that the trip was starting off on the right foot! Mom was too tired to go up and get her food so Greg fixed her a plate and brought it to the table. She ate some but said she didn’t like it. We had stopped in the bathroom before we ate to use the facilities and then I insisted we all go after we ate. Then we were going to play a little and turn in somewhat early.
We were playing side by side and then my mom made a face. I asked her, “What’s wrong?” She mouths: “I have to go to the can.” I told her I’d take her. So I grab her hand and start walking to the back of the casino where I know where the bathroom is. It’s farthest from the front door where we came in but it’s the only one I’ve ever used when there. She doesn’t walk fast anymore and it took us a bit to get there. Then we walk in and the woman who cleans it was standing right in front of us. Blocking the aisle and saying “Maybe she’d like to use the big one on the end.” She meant the handicapped stall. There was no one else in the bathroom and she was actually standing in the way. I asked Mom if she wanted to use it and she didn’t answer. She just stood frozen in place. She didn’t make a move for another stall and the cleaning woman kept pointing to the end one. So I grabbed her hand and took her to it. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. She pulled down her pants and sat on the toilet and she had MASSIVE DIAHRREA. Words cannot do justice to the sights and smells. It was AN ABOMINATION. The first thing she did was put her hands in it and pull them out. I had to set my purse on the floor (no hook on the door) which I am averse to do but under the circumstances, it was the least of my worries. I also put my sweater on the floor (in the corner far away). Then I cleaned off Mom’s hands and took her jacket-type coverup off. I was kind of exclaiming horror at the whole thing and she said nothing. Nothing really affects her, she knows she won’t be the one cleaning anything up and really has no grasp of how bad it was… I had to untie her shoes and take them off. The shit had gone all the way down both legs and onto the shoes. Then I took her pants off and her underpants. I threw the underpants away!!!!! I scooped out as much as I could out of the pants and cleaned her up as best I could with just the toilet paper. The worst thing is my iphone was completely dead! I couldn’t call my husband and have him go get underwear and pants for her. Even though I closed all the apps, it still drains down for some reason. It had shut itself off not too long before this happened. So here I was all alone in a strange restroom trying to figure out a way to clean her and get her out of there and back to the RV. In all the years we’ve lived together, this has only happened once before, many years ago and she was able to care for it herself. I don’t know if it would have been better to happen at home. We would’ve been in a position to put her straight into the bathtub there but the floor would’ve been a disgrace. This was at least easier to clean up. The toilet bowl inside and out and the floor I had to wipe up as best I could with toilet paper. You could still tell something unspeakable happened in there. I’m always 100% for washing hands and never skip under any circumstances but this just seemed ridiculous. I knew as soon as we got back to the RV, I’d be back into it again so I grabbed her hand and pulled her out of there. Yes, it was as disgusting as it sounds. She had to walk out without underwear and in pants covered on the inside with smeared feces. From the outside, you couldn’t really tell which was a blessing. As we were leaving the bathroom, some loudmouth came in with security asking if we needed help. “Yes, I want to be arrested or at the very least humiliated for having to deal with this.” No, I didn’t say that but told them no and got her moving as fast as she’s able (which is NOT fast) and had to walk back to where Greg was sitting. I told him we had to leave IMMEDIATELY and to get our money out of the slot machines. I also had a ticket for 16 cents that I ended up taking back with me. It’s a reminder that I don’t need as what went on CAN’T BE UNSEEN.
Getting Mom walked back to the RV was no easy feat. Then when we finally made it back, she wanted to go straight to bed. I’d made the bed as soon as we’d stopped driving for the day so that wasn’t the issue. I needed her to go into the tiny bathroom that only holds one person, take her pants off and let me wash her down with a washcloth while I stood in the hallway. First I used more toilet paper and paper towels, then moist towelettes, then a washcloth. I had to get her to step to the side of the toilet each time I needed to get to the sink. Meanwhile, I enlisted hubby to clean her shoes. He did a great job, leaving no evidence of the atrocity. It was a shame that I’d just given her a bath the day before. Oh well. There is no way I could’ve predicted this. With her being unaware of her own body signals anymore, she didn’t seem to know it was coming on either. Let alone know how to convey it to me. I’ve had things happen where I need to get to a bathroom in a hurry but I’ve always made it. I understand the need for urgency in those situations. Mom doesn’t. I hope I never have to deal with anything of that magnitude again for her or myself. I ended up putting the pants in a plastic grocery bag and keeping them under the RV until we got home. I was tempted to throw them out too but my cheapness won’t allow it. The unfathomable smell when I opened that bag made me start to retch.