A Few Days in the Life of a Person with Alzheimer’s
The Good Ol’ Days
We made it to New York! We finally picked Jessica up at 8:45 p.m. last night and drove straight through (12 hours). David and I alternated driving, and Dad stayed up ALL NIGHT as he cannot sleep in the car. He could not believe the crazy drivers in New York City.
“People never drove like this when I lived here,” he insisted.
“That was forty years ago, Dad. People are a lot less considerate now than they were back in the 1960s,” I said.
“Then I wish I was back in the 1960s,” he replied.
If he only knew that his memory is in the 1960s!
Seems Like Yesterday
We got home from five glorious days in New York City in the middle of the night. As a matter of fact, Dad just got up and it’s almost three o’clock! Dad was looking around his room and the bathroom, and I asked him what he was looking for. He said his shaving kit.
“Oh, it’s in your suitcase.”
“Where are we going again?”
“The Caribbean. For two weeks.”
I hope he remembers the imaginary trip at least as long as he is in the shower!
Dad got up to go to the bathroom around 7:30 this morning. David and I wished him a Merry Christmas, and he asked, “Is this Christmas?”
“Yes”, David replied.
“If Santa comes by, tell him to come back after lunch. I’m going back to bed!”
Merry Christmas From Your KnowItAlz Family!
I Must Be 27
David and I were talking about some ladies in their eighties last night, and David referred to them as “old ladies”. Dad replied, “That is not old. Haven’t you heard? Eighty is the new seventy.”
Katie (CNA) is coming over for a few hours today to give David and me a chance to spend some time alone together. One of the things we will do is go to Costco. For those of you who don’t know, Costco is one of those members-only warehouse club stores, like Sam’s Club. I cannot take Dad there on Saturday anymore.
They have little kiosks set up with food samples, and Dad would get a sample, walk around the next aisle, get another sample, and try everything. The problem was when the cook would tell him he was only allowed one sample, he would say, “This is my first sample.” At times, it got a little heated when the person argued that he had been by the cheesecake table three times. This was one of those days I was scrambling for my Alzheimer’s card!
The first ball fell in New York’s Times Square to celebrate New Year’s Day in 1908. My Dad, who has Alzheimer’s, remembered that fact. I looked it up. Good for you, Dad! Hang on neurons! Hang on!
A Chicken Named Anna Nicole
We had lunch at a little diner up the road from our house yesterday, and Dad ordered his usual chicken sandwich. “This is the largest chicken sandwich I have ever seen!” he said to the waitress (as he does every time we eat there).
She knows he has Alzheimer’s, so she said to him what he always says to her, “Must have been a D-cup!”
He laughed for two solid minutes at his own joke. See, even Dad thinks he is hilarious!
P.S. I Hate You
I took Dad to the movies last night to see P.S I Love You. We wanted to see The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, but it has not arrived in our small town yet. So twenty minutes into the film, Dad says, “This isn’t the movie we’re watching is it?” with a sour look on his face.
“No, it’s just a preview,” I assured him.
I knew this movie was 206 minutes long, so the next 146 minutes were not so fun for either of us. When David asked him later how he liked the movie, he said it was great. At least in his imaginary world, he liked it!
I love Rutgers Football and TiVo. I love Rutgers because of Saturday afternoon’s 52-30 International Bowl victory over Ball State. This was the first time in 138 years of football at Rutgers University that the school won back-to-back bowl games. I might as well have told my Dad he had won the lottery. He even suggested champagne. I love TiVo because I can let my Dad watch them win that game anytime I want, just like it was the first time!
We went out to get some dog food last night, and in the course of the conversation about the dogs, I mentioned to David that someone had pooped on the floor in Jessica’s room.
“Not me,” said my Dad.
“I meant one of the dogs,” I replied
I was driving home from dinner last night, and I remarked that after a day with a bunch of kids, I was ready to go to sleep. “Please wait until we get home,” said my Dad.
Warm Heart, Warm Room
We took Jessica home to Asheville last night, and when we got home, the house was really cold (65 degrees, but Dad likes it around 78 degrees). Dad started looking for his ceramic space heater about 11:30pm.
“Sorry, Dad. I loaned it to Beth to warm up an art project. Will an extra blanket do?”
“Sure”, he said, “No problem.”
So off to bed I went. Five minutes later, he called up the stairs, “Kathy have you seen my space heater?”
As I knew this could go on all night, I made a midnight run to Wal-Mart. When I got back with a new space heater, Dad was putting pillows and blankets on the kitchen floor by the gas log heater, as the oil heat takes about an hour to heat up the whole house.
“I thought you were asleep and did not want to wake you,” he said. How sweet.
The King and Dr. King
Since my Mom was Johnny Carson’s secretary in the early to mid-sixties, my dad was able to meet a lot of celebrities. He even met Elvis Presley. Last night he told me that he had met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he appeared on the Carson show. Sometimes I look on Wikipedia to see if the person he says he met was even on the Carson Show during the time my mom was there. Dr. King was on in 1963, the year before they married. That particular memory is safe and secure.
On the way to pick Jessica up for the weekend, we saw a YMCA bus. Dad said, “There are women on that bus!”
The “Y” is co-ed now, Dad,” I replied.
“Then they should not call it the Young MEN’S Christian Association anymore,” Dad said.
“It’s not really all Christians either anymore,” I said.
“Then they should just call it the gym,” he replied.
Sometimes he makes more sense than the rest of the world!
Blue Tick Hound?
We were on our way out to lunch yesterday, when Dad started brushing Lola’s white hair off of his navy blue trousers.
“You are fighting a losing battle,” I remarked. “She is a white dog and those are blue pants.”
“We need to get a blue dog,” He replied.
I got my updated MasterCard in the mail today, and it was platinum. My dad asked me what a platinum credit card was.
“It’s the next step up from a gold card. Like anything platinum is better than anything gold, and more precious,” I replied.
“Well then you have made my golden years platinum,” he said.
Things like that make me forget that he asked me 400 times today where his glasses are.
Dad has really taken to the crossword puzzles since I asked his doctor to write a “prescription” for him to do one every day. He has about five books of them scattered around the house. He completes about two puzzles a day.
I was standing at the stove cooking dinner last night, and he was sitting at the breakfast bar right in front of me.
“Thanks for the puzzle books, Kath. I really think they are helping keep my mind sharp.”
I felt so proud. Anytime something helps Dad’s mind, I am so excited!
About 15 seconds into my self-admiration, he said, “Thanks for getting me these puzzles. I think they are helping to keep the old brain working.”
“That is wonderful, Dad,” I said, as my little bubble quietly burst.
First Year with the New Blog
Well, I have written a funny story about my Dad nearly every day for a year. It’s hard to believe there have been that many light-hearted or funny stories in a year in the life of a thirty-seven-year-old Alzheimer’s caregiver. What started as a blog to help me take a positive approach to a hard situation has turned into a community comprised of caregivers from 70 countries. Over this year, we have also added hundreds of pages of information that we have collected to help other Alzheimer’s caregivers laugh and learn. Happy Birthday, KnowItAlz!