What did you do on your last birthday? Today is my Mom’s best friend’s 88th Birthday!! Her name is Vivian Adams and she’s been a fixture in our lives for my entire life!! I wanted to give her a very special afternoon today. Our original plan was for Tim to bring Mom to downtown DC to me and we’d pick up Mrs. Adams and have a nice lunch in one of the new restaurants in Brookland in NE DC, just a few miles from her house. The first part of the plan went just fine. I got off early and Tim arrived with Mom. But instead of going to pick up Mrs. Adams at her home, I was instructed to go to Providence Hospital to Mrs. Adams cardiologist’s office. She’d been hospitalized last week and needed an all clear from her doctor before she could do anything else.
She had an appointment for 12:45pm and Mom and I got to the doctor’s office around 1:15. We waited, and waited and waited, but Mrs Adams didn’t emerge from the doctor’s office until almost 2:45pm. Because of Mom’s sundowners issues, I knew we wouldn’t be able to have lunch after all because it would take too long and Mom’s anxiety would creep in well before we would finish. Making matters worse, I was worried about Mom seeing Mrs. Adams because for the first time ever, Mom no longer remembered who Mrs. Adams was. She hasn’t remembered me for almost two years, but has always remembered Mrs. Adams. I wondered, how would this play out?
When the patient door opened and Mrs. Adams emerged, she burst into tears when she saw us. She expected us to be in the parking lot as opposed to the waiting room. We hugged for a few minutes, providing the others in the waiting room with quite the spectacle. Mrs. Adams didn’t seem to notice right away that Mom didn’t remember her because they hugged for what seemed like forever, just like always.
Mrs. Adams kept repeating that this was her best birthday ever! I was hoping that it wasn’t, because we’d only spent a minute or so with her, and in a doctor’s office no less. But I think what she meant was that at a time in her life when she had to be very scared about her current health situation, seeing her bestie waiting for her after her appointment was the only gift she needed. So given that lunch was out, we went to their old standby McDonald’s where they got their favorite caramel sundaes to go and ate them in the car. I was sorry we couldn’t spend more time together, but in the twenty or so minutes that they were in the car together, instead of telling their same stories from the old days, they just giggled out loud about how good their sundaes were. If they were happy, I was happy. Mrs. Adams cried again when she opened her cards from us in the car. Mom had picked out her card herself a few weeks ago, and had even signed her name, which she can rarely do these days. I wrote a very special message on my card and included a gift card with instructions that she was only to spend it on herself!!
So all things considered, I guess it was a pretty good birthday for Mrs. Adams. She deserves the best because she hasn’t had the greatest life since her husband died suddenly many years ago when I was a teenager. She’s now the only friend who still loves calling and spending time with Mom, regardless of her dementia. I treasure this woman who has supported me and all of the decisions I’ve made in regards to Mom’s care for our entire nine year journey with this disease. Happy 88th Birthday Mrs. Adams, we love you!! Today I learned that birthdays are all about quality over quantity!! We didn’t have a lot of time together, but we absolutely shared a lot of love!