I have a male, very pleasantly demented, and mostly nonverbal patient, who cheers for you with clasped hands as you walk by. Sometimes he claps for you or makes funny faces. He has recently formed a habit of tickling womens’ feet in the middle of the night.
It’s kinda funny until someone with aphasia that can’t communicate or yell for help wakes up to a strange man playing with her feet. Nightmare.
I think it’s funny when someone comments about how beautiful your dog is while he is pooping.
Even love poops.
I recently went to see a psychic with a couple of friends of mine. Despite how you feel about psychics, (it was donation based which may or may not make a difference) it was a positive experience. She told me to write a book.
I am sensitive to the power of suggestion…
In contemplating the relevance of my story, I realized the stories I love usually have a fable-like quality or irony. That type of writing requires being indirect, something I am not good at. I am good at big ideas and details but not connecting them. For example, I think in book titles. I fight with my mom about emotions (my overflow and her lack of) and all of a sudden I want to write a book about mother daughter relationships and call it “Womb Bomb”.
So, here’s to practicing a craft. Linking the big ideas with the details and not being too long-winded…
Everyday, I walk through the hallway of the assisted living / skilled nursing facility in which I work. I see Max (name has been changed) and cheerfully say, “Hello Max.” I can’t help but be cheerful because he has this delightfully surprised look on his face, like he’s meeting a long-time fan that he’s never seen before in his life. It makes my day.
Max used to be mayor and like his friend Joe (an old barber), they are a pleasure to be around in this stage of Dementia.
They seem to be in the blissful stage of not remembering. My experience is limited and I have no expectation of either of these men’s kindness, history or personality. I have a fresh look at his spirit, I have the privilege of seeing him for the person that he is right at this moment. And that is what Dementia becomes, moment to moment.
Which begs the question, do we become what we practice? In our most basic representation of life and spirit; living moment to moment, without expectation and history, how do we impact the immediate world around us? Is their demeanor part of their nature or is it in the time they spent being friendly and cordial in their daily lives?
In Dementia, Adaptation is the adventure. When you loose all your memories, all you have left is life.