My mom lived at Mission Place for a few years. She had an apartment on the 6th floor across from the elevator. She did not need the handicapped apartment but it was the one available when her name came up. The rooms were bigger and she loved that.
Mom was the hall monitor on the 6th floor. Every evening at 10 pm the person that lived across from the elevator on all the floors would step out and look down both halls to see if the red tag was out.
Then at 8 am she was to repeat the exercise. She had to step out and look down both halls to see if the red tag had been taken back into the apartment. This was their check on the residents to see if they were doing okay. If the person was gone for a few days a white tag was out.
So my independent mom was the hall monitor on her floor but I thought she needed a monitor to look out for her. I tried to check on her several times a day but I live about 5 miles from the apartment building so it was usually by phone.
She always called me, at my beauty shop, when she got up in the morning. When she called and I said, “I have a customer,” she would say, “I am up” and then hang up. In the evening I would call her at least once. I just wanted to know that she was doing okay.
One night I couldn’t get her on the phone when I called. I tried a couple more times and then panic set in and I jumped in the car and flew to town. I went up the elevator and a raced across the hall to her door and noticed that it was slightly ajar, which really scared me.
I immediately called her name and then I heard the laughing and talking behind me in the laundry room across from her apartment. I raced across the hall and there sat 3 women and my mom at a table working on a jigsaw puzzle.
“What are you doing?” I demanded when I stomped into the room. She looked up at me innocently and said: “We are working on this puzzle.”
“I can see that! I have called you 3 times, Mother!” I snapped. She said she’d left the door ajar so she would hear the phone. But with all the noise they were making she wouldn’t have heard a bomb go off in her apartment, let alone the phone. “Well obviously you can’t hear the phone from here!”
Since she was doing okay I gave the four women a stern look and got back on the elevator. I drove home at a slower pace than I had gone to town. I decided on the drive home that she needed to have a portable phone. So I bought one the next day and took it to her.
When I took her the phone and hooked it up I told her to take it over to the puzzle with her so she would hear it ring when I called. She promised she would take it. That evening I called her and she answered the phone and said she was at the puzzle. I told her to have fun and we hung up.
The next night I called her and she didn’t answer. I tried a couple more times and then jumped in the car and flew to town again. When I stepped off the elevator I saw her phone propped on the railing outside her door.
I turned immediately into the laundry room and there they sat laughing and working on the puzzle. Mom looked up at me and said, “What are you doing here?” “I have been trying to call you and you didn’t answer!” I snapped.
She told me the phone scared the women when it rang the first night so she’d left it outside her door. “Well, obviously you can’t hear it when it is on the railing outside your door when you are in here laughing and talking. You need to bring the phone with you so I don’t have to run to town to check on you.”
` The next night I called her and she didn’t answer again. After three calls I headed to town again. Each trip into town almost gave me a heart attack and when I found the women sitting working on the puzzle laughing and having fun it always made me mad.
( I finally knew how mom felt when I was 2 years old and I would go down the street to visit the older women and she didn’t know where I was. Now I understood why she always brought a stick with her to use when she found me. I thought about taking a stick with me a couple of times when I headed to town and was thinking the worst.)
That was the third and final straw when she didn’t take the phone with her to the puzzle. The next day I told her I wanted her to call me when she was going over to work on the puzzle since calling her was obviously not working. She reluctantly agreed to call me and I didn’t have to make any more flying trips to town.
I know she thought because she was the mother she shouldn’t have to check in with me but with her health condition I wanted to know she was okay. One night mom said, “You are not the mother, I am!” I said, “Well that may be true but now it is my turn to be the boss and take care of you.”
It was stressful checking on mom when she didn’t answer the phone. But, when we finally came to an agreement and she started calling to let me know what she was going to do it was a lot easier on both of us. To contact Sandy; [email protected]