~~ A friend is fond of a certain brand of cereal that she rarely finds anymore (I never heard of it). Returning from a work meeting, she stopped in a supermarket far from home and was excited to find her favorite cereal. She loaded her car trunk with eight boxes and munched on the contents of the ninth box as she made the long drive home. “Having eight boxes in my pantry made me so happy!” she related. She stayed happy for just four days, until her teenage son and his friends “demolished” five boxes of her cereal during one rainy afternoon. “You used to be a lawyer,” she stated. “Is it ever justifiable to harm four kids because they ate five boxes of the cereal you drove three hours to get?” (I told her not unless she gets herself appointed president by the Russians.)
~~ Dementia-ville was as placid a place as could be expected this week. There were no known explosions, pungent assaults, or outbursts of any kind. There was just the ever-creeping erosion of sanity and privacy combined with the patient’s utter and complete surrender of any propriety.
~~ The tales I recount of Dementia-ville are watered down — I edit out quite a few. Despite that, the picture I paint depicts what goes on when a house is occupied by a person in the full throes of dementia and immobility with rotating aides attending to her 24/7. The aides are contracted as part of the government-assistance program charged with the patient’s care, and I have little control over who shows up (if someone is a menace, she goes, but that’s the extent of it). Therefore, well-meaning people who regale me again and again with their tales of friends and relatives with “just the best” caregiver experiences serve no actionable purpose. I’m glad your next-door neighbor had a “lovely, lovely” aide for years, and I’m delighted that grandpa’s assistant played the violin to him every night as he drifted off to sleep. Great, super aides exist! However, telling me about them is like telling a very angry person to “calm down.” All you do is toss logs on a fire, no matter how lovingly you toss said wood.
~~ The thing I’m learning about a stress-related malady is that some people don’t know how to approach talking about it. Telling someone without the means to do so to “take a cruise” adds to the stress, as does urging the issuance of an ultimatum. A hug, a sigh, an “I’m here for you” is all that’s required. You can’t fix it and neither can I, so let’s acknowledge the toxicity and move along.
~~ For example, last weekend I had the chance to visit with almost family and nearly family, all of whom are wonderful people and good friends. It was so therapeutic to just be. Cruising on boats, eating well, and laughing are about the most curative things I can imagine.
~~ Blissful is as nice a word to say as the state it describes, right?
~~ The August issue of Boating Times Long Island is out! http://boatingtimesli.com/NY/
~~ I enjoyed reading The Journal of Mortifying Moments by Robyn Harding. The woman keeping the journal, at her therapist’s suggestion, is too fond of cream cheese frosting and too hard on herself. It’s a tender and funny tale of a woman who wants to get to whatever good destination is waiting for her, despite the roadblocks and potholes (i.e. engagements, off-base mom, bad job).
“She always has to be right, especially when she’s lying her ass off.”
“That sounds like the president.”
“Ha, ha, no. She is a lot nicer.”
Dasvidaniya. Have a great weekend!
LET’S GO METS!