It’s the most wonderful gift when our elderly parents are capable of living on their own, and thrive late, late in life! They tell us old stories, make us laugh with them and at them, all in good fun. My husband’s 95 year-old mother is such a person. Still living in her own home, an hour and a half away from us, she manages to get food in the house, keep the house neat while bringing in help to do the heavy lifting, and takes care of all the mental chores such as bills, mail, etc. She plays Canasta a few times a week with the girls, and is, well, just a hoot. So it was very shocking to us all when my husband and I were having dinner a few Sunday nights ago with our son, daughter-in-law and eight-year-old granddaughter and we got a call from GG, telling us very calmly, “The people are sitting here. They’re not bothering me, but they’re following me from room to room. I don’t know who they are.”

“What people!” We all screamed into the speakerphone.

“I said, I don’t know! They just came and are sitting here!” She huffed. “What should I do with them?”

She was hallucinating. “Call 911 right now!” Her son screamed, “Sit down and call 911.”

We got the neighbors to make sure the ambulance arrived, and they called to assure us that she walked, purple jeweled beret and all, onto the van. By the time we arrived at the hospital in the middle of the night, she was fuming mad. Hungry, tired, feeling perfect, she wanted to go home.

After four fun filled days in an observation room, never leaving emergency status to be admitted, nothing was found to be abnormal. Her vitals were perfect, as usual. Her brain scans, MRIs were normal, heart, blood, gasses, normal. She started getting crazy. Wouldn’t you? So of course, as any normal person would do, she threatened to kill herself, shoot her brains out, if they didn’t discharge her. She was perfect, could walk to the bathroom herself, and there were no more “people.”

The ER doctor on call heard “kill myself” and was required to get a psyche consult. We had to wait yet another day for a special geriatric psychiatrist. We tried to convince them that she was not going to kill herself she only wanted to go home. No, no, had to have a consult.The psychiatrist couldn’t find anything wrong with her, but wanted to prescribe ant-psychotic meds just in case the people came back. We threw the prescription away.

It has been three weeks. She was back playing Canasta the next day, watching her shows, (don’t call at 7, it’s Jeopardy!) And she thinks the incident was due to the fact that she took an extra Tylenol that morning. I suggested she stop cleaning so much and lay off the Hershey’s kisses. So far so good, knock on wood.