My mom called the other night in a frantic state, saying her electricity had been turned off. I tried to calm her down and find out why. Apparently, some billing snafu, according to my mom. She claims she had paid the bill and had spoken to the power company earlier in the week and they said that she was right, and that she actually had a $5 credit. She thought all was well, but then she came home from running errands and boom, there was a note on the door saying her power had been cut off. She called the power company and paid the bill over the phone (that was supposedly already paid) but they told her they could not turn her electricity back on until the next day. Mom was beside herself, worrying about the stuff in the refrigerator and having to sit alone in the dark all night.
“Sometimes I just wish I was gone already,” my mom lamented. Now, my mom is certainly prone to histrionics. Admittedly, as I was just finishing up a 12-hour work day, I was both concerned and annoyed. I tried to calm her down, and suggested she stay in a hotel for the night and see if a friend could take her perishable goods to keep overnight. She was still upset when she hung up the phone abruptly. The next night I found out everything turned out well. She stayed in a hotel, had a friend put her food in his freezer, and her power was back on.
But still, I have to wonder, is it starting all over again?
With Dad, there were such small signs when his dementia began, they were easy to overlook. He had more trouble making the right change at the store, or wouldn’t complete all of the chores Mom would give to him. Dad wasn’t the type of guy to make lists for himself. He was not the highly organized machine that my mom is. Mom is obsessive-compulsive about making lists, keeping track of the bills and keeping detailed records of everything.
Of course now, I’m on high alert for any symptoms of dementia with Mom. As I’ve mentioned before, Mom has always been a bit eccentric, repeating herself frequently and talking about a dozen things at once. She’s been like that for as long as I can remember. But this bill snafu has me wondering if Mom is starting to lose control over her mind. Is it just a side effect of the stress and grief stemming from my father’s death? Or was she actually right and the utility company messed up?
Just like it was with my father, there is an uneasiness that I feel in my heart again, a voice whispering in the back of my mind. I hope, I so hope I’m wrong.