A very dear friend of mine sends me updates periodically about how things are going with her father who has dementia. Her stories of events always make me smile because I relate to the dementia scenario so well; as a daughter and as a nurse. Because in January I am featuring other bloggers/writers on my site while I am on vacation, I asked her permission to share this tale with you. I hope you enjoy her tail and her sense of humor, caring and love that comes through in her words.
Took dad to lunch at Arby’s today since he was such a good patient for the dermatologist and stayed very still while she excised a basal cell the size of Lower Manhattan. Or so it seemed to me. I got to sit in the room and watch the whole thing and believe me, I’d rather do the insurance paperwork than watch excision, cauterization, and suturing.
I ordered the French Dip since it was the special at 2 for $5; also ordered coffee and curly fries.
I didn’t know that the dip and the coffee look exactly the same to a person with dementia. So my advice to you, should you ever be caught in this same situation, is to watch VERY CAREFULLY so the one with the dementia doesn’t drink the dip! I WAS able to avoid that disaster but had to re-explain the purpose of the dip no less than 54 times during the meal.
Then there is the matter of those ‘curly’ fries. Fries are not meant to be ‘curly’. Not in any previous life were they ever served ‘curly.’ Therefore, they must need to be ‘straightened’. This takes an exorbitant amount of time as each one must be examined and pulled down to its lowest denominator. As the person who HAD to soon get back to work, this was an agonizing task! I mentioned the need to return to work and his response was that he felt sorry for me and that HE was in no rush!
So we smile and we wait. And we wait and we smile.
We eventually arrive back at his Assisted Living building. “YOU live here?” he asks. “NO, YOU live here!” “I live HERE?” he responds. “Yes, you LIVE here and I WORK here.” A concept that is IMPOSSIBLE to reconcile…..how could I possibly work where he LIVES?? I don’t know, but I have answered that question every day for the past 469 days since he moved in. And will continue to answer it calmly, daily, as if it was the first time it was ever asked, because that is how you deal with dementia, calmly and daily.
I wouldn’t have missed this ‘quality time’ for anything. I mean really, how many more days will we have together. He is a trip and I am blessed by his antics and sense of humor! You can’t make this stuff up!!
On the journey with you…….Kathy
Kathy Eynon is an Eldercare Coach and Consultant that works with those struggling to cope with the demands of caring for an aging parent. She can be reached by email at: Kathy@ParentCareAlliance.com.