Thursday, July 06, 2006

Interesting Day

Alzheimer's vs. Senile Dementia

"When I go to work tomorrow ..."
"You don't work anymore."
"I don't?"
"No, you're retired."
"I'm not retired."
"Yes you are. I'm 83 and I'm retired."

"When I go to work tomorrow, I'll go to the end of the drive and the man will pick me up."
"You don't work anymore. What man?"
"I don't?"
"No, you're retired. What man?"
"I'm not retired."
"No man picked you up."

"I'll get up in the morning and get dressed for work."
"You don't work anymore. You're retired."
"I am?"
"I'm 83 and I'm retired."
"You should be."

"I go across the street to work"

"You don't work"

"I don't?"

"No, you're retired."

"I am?"

"Yes, I'm 83 and I'm retired."

"No man picks you up?"


"I'm sorry."

Thus went a half-hour conversation between my mom and her sister. I now know exactly how old my aunt is. Sorry about the change in the spacing - I didn't do anything different, blogger did that.


Brandy said...

Aw Eve. I know it's awful living through this and I'm so sorry. However, where you were probably shaking your head over this conversation, I will admit to thinking it's a bit funny.

christa said...

I'd want to keep remember the man too. I was thinking of going to the pool tomorrow if it is nice but if I was to wear a bikini they definately wouldn't anywhere near it.

Bailey Stewart said...

Brandy - Oh, I thought it was hysterical and had a hard time trying not to laugh out loud.

Christa - if I were to really wear a bikini there wouldn't be enough pepto-bismal to hand around.

Brandy said...

I was afraid I was going to offend you by thinking it was funny.

ruby55 said...

It is funny, poignant but also very sad when you think what these two people used to be like. I can remember similar conversations with my mother. Maybe I'm senile, too. Sometimes I really feel like it, that's for sure. My fingers seem to type letters at will on their own without listening to my brain.

I hope you have a really good sleep for once. But how you can sleep with 5(?) cats is beyond me. The smallest wiggle would wake me.

Michele said...

It is kinda funny - like Abbott and Costello - Who's on First?

"The Man", sounds like a mystery.

I remember reading a story about a man who was suffering dementia and while in a nursing home became friends with another tenant. He was a retired assassin and was leaking secrets of his past and the tenant was writing a elderly newspaper column about his "adventures"....
Who know's the MAN might have been someone exciting?!!

Scott said...

My goodness, that has to be awful. I guess they are happy enough having the conversation though. Is that so do you think?

Deana said...

Oh that is so sad. I guess you are more used to it by now so. I guess it is amusing since they are sisters.

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Oh, Bailey! I thought it was funny until I realized it was real. On one hand, I'm glad they know each other, can talk together this way. But it's sad, too.

Tori Lennox said...

*hugs* but also LOL!!!

I wonder that man is? Very mysterious!

Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

Aw, Bailey, that’s so sweet, so funny and so sad all at the same time. Like Michele, I was reminded of Abbott and Costello’s Who's on First? It must be very hard on your aunt to see her sister this way. And it must be doubly hard for you. It’s good--and very healthy--that you’re able to step outside of the stress for a bit to appreciate the humor.

Bailey Stewart said...

No, no, no, no sad. Sad isn't allowed. Bill Cosby said that if you have humor you can get through anything. We choose to laugh. I don't know how hard it is on my aunt, since she's the senile dementia part of the equation. That's what made it a little funnier in that they were having almost the same exact conversation over and over. Mom even got in some zingers that went right over my aunt's head.

"I'm 83 and I'm retired."
"You should be."
and "No man picks you up?""No.""I'm sorry." Even my cousin (her daughter) had a hard time not laughing.

Susan said...

That reminds me of the conversations between my granddad and his brother and sister. He was the only one of the three who was of sound mind. When he had his fill of trying to set them straight, he would just turn his hearing aid off. LOL

You have to have a sense of humor about it or you'll be dragged under.

Susie said...

Yes, an interesting life you lead. How frustrating it must be to be a part of it. And sad and humorous, all the craziness, literally. I admire your fortitude to hang in there day in and day out.

And when you go to work this evening...

Dennie McDonald said...

I know that's not funny - as it is personal - but from a writer's persepective that was great!

Shirley said...

I was laughing too until I realised it was real. So glad you can laugh about it, Eve. I remember having similar conversations with my grandmother ... she no longer recognised me and, after a lot of explaining on my part, she *always* thought I was my mother (her daughter). Far easier to pretend I was. :o)

Kelley said...

That must be so hard. I cant imagine. On a lighter note, the conversation was a bit funny.

Bailey Stewart said...

That's it exactly Susan. I either have to find the humor or wallow in self pity. I prefer the humor.

Susie - and when I go to work this evening ... what?

Dennie - it was funny to watch, whether from a writer's point of view or not. Of course, these two have been funny to watch my entire life.

Shirley - that's when I'll cry.

Okay, she's staying up this morning, which means I have to stay out there with her, so no blogging this morning. Also, as it's Thursday I HAVE to have my nap before work. I'll try to get back to the blogs before work, maybe a little during and then after. Y'all behave. And please, don't be sad - laugh away.

Bailey Stewart said...

Thank you Kelley - the conversation was a hoot.

ruby55 said...

That's true. It is humorous. But while you're halfway sane and trying to tell your mother "No, there are no immigrants living in your bathroom or your room with you", you start to wonder whose mind is losing the argument. Finally, you just have to give up.

I guess I've always been someone to set the "record" straight and that doesn't work with Alzheimer's patients. It always seemed to upset my mother that these "other people" were in her room so what do you do.

I think the thought came to her because there was one nurse's aide who spoke with an accent and of course she was in and out of her room. My mother's mind was back when we first immigrated to Canada and lived in a big old building with a lot of other immigrants until someone found housing for us. I don't think it was a long time but somehow it had stuck in her mind.

Come to think of it, it was around that time that she didn't want to leave the nursing home anymore. I wonder if she was afraid that she'd lose her room. Yet on the other hand, she told me that all the people there, she included, had said "the wrong thing" and were in jail and so she couldn't leave. That definitely went back to the fear of the Gestapo who could arrest anybody for no reason. I could really see her regressing back to her childhood.

Loreth Anne White said...

I can just see this as a scene in a movie -- funny and emotional at the same time.

A sense of humor is truly a wonderful thing, Bailey :)Who was it that said, if you can laugh at something, it holds no power over you?


ruby55 said...

Scott, I think their minds don't work like ours anymore. For one thing, they truly do forget things from one moment to the next so that the conversation is new to them every time. Wouldn't you agree, Bailey?

But it's odd that the responses are almost the same each time. It is like "Who's on first?"

Siobhan said...

Laughter gets us through so much in this life. (((Eve)))

Melissa Marsh said...

Wow. This has got to be tough. Lots of hugs to you, Eve.

catslady said...

The zingers were my favorite part. I also agree with the laughter is the best medicine theory. :)

Meretta said...

I'm so very glad that you can find humor in such a thing. I think of you and your mom often, Bailey and wonder how your days are.

I once had dinner at a friend's house (I was 15) and her elderly aunt lived with them. The family neglected to mention that the aunt was close to deaf and at the supper table we had to yell everything. It was so out-of-the-ordinary and I started giggling. Soon everyone else was too. Even the auntie.

Carol said...

It was funny and I'm so glad you can laugh about it. Hugs!

Stacy Dawn said...

I'm glad you could laugh at it but it, it was a cute conversation. Still, it can't be easy (((hugs)))

Deb Peterson said...

Eve--I had a very similar conversation with my mother (also has AD) earlier this week. She's a retired teacher, and ever since I hired a homemaker to come in each day thinks she's back in school. I "sort of" go along with it, since it doesn't seem to cause her much distress! We actually bought school supplies so she could give her homemaker her assignment--people think I'm nutty when I tell them about this, but, as I'm sure you know, you have to be there!

PS First-time commenter--I'm enjoying your blog.

Toni Anderson said...

Oh that is funny.

Terribly funny.

My grandad keeps asking me if I've finished my thesis. Sigh. Wait till I give him my novel--he'll tell me someone with the same name as me wrote a book, but that it wasn't as good as the original and then after he's read it and hopefully enjoyed the sex scenes, he'll give it me back to read :)

Sandy J said...

Bailey, so glad you do find the humor. Laughter is what keeps us sane. {{Hugs}}

Rene said...

I think you have to find humor when you can. This actually sounds like the conversations I have with my 3 year old.