Monday, February 20, 2017

The Dementia World

Now that my head is clear again (the old income tax papers are packed up), it occurred to me last night, that I have just witnessed some portion of the dementia world; the confusion of trying to make sense of events from different settings. For me it only lasted a moment.

Something was terribly wrong. I was angry. I could feel my body react. I did not like it to be wrong. 

A new caregiver had said to Dr. ____, “Please speak more softly so we can hear the movie.”

I took that to mean: so that she could hear the movie. That is totally out of character for memory care caregivers. She needed to be corrected.

I mentioned to her that I had seen this movie over a half dozen times, but never in its entirety at one time. I had only heard a small portion of the movie. The refugees do not like loud sounds.

But the volume was turned up. Dr. ____, “Turn it down. Turn it down.” And it was turned down.

During showings over the next two days, the top performing refugee said, “Please speak more softly so we can hear the TV.” He even got up and went over to Dr. ___ to repeat his request. So the caregiver was in character. She may have only been repeating a refugee’s request; who was seated right beside her that day.

But there Is more to these low volume fragmented multiple showings. I never get bored. Each time there are new sections. Each time it is a surprise to see what was missed before, but did not change the silent movie story. Sound is not necessary but makes a funny movie a lot more so.

I think every “adult” ought to see four of the movies: 51 Dates, Click, Mr. Deeds, and Big Momma's House. Someday I will take the time to see, and hear, them too. [Check movie channels.] Watch without sound, then with sound.

51 Dates (Adam Sandlep) is set in Sea Life Park on Oahu, Hawaii. We had season tickets in ’76-’78. We adopted our daughter then. We had the option of living in Honolulu harbor on a boat for the second year. The guy that bought it on the Konini side, where we lived the first year, sailed it to the end of the island, where two ocean currents meet, and had it come apart and sink, before he got to Honolulu. The scenes related to amnesia seem very real. There is an easy disconnect between what people in the situation would like to have happen (ed) and what is happening. (Did Maggie slid or fall to the floor the last time she landed there?)

Click and Mr. Deeds are type caste so well you have no problem telling the good guys from the bad guys without sound. I have yet to figure out what toy was deliberately backed over in reprisal to the next-door bad kid’s behavior. Big Momma's House (Martin Lawrence) is just plain funny at all levels.

Is watching movies in fragmented sections, with and without sound, some approximation of the reality of dementia awareness? We must struggle to relate things in a meaningful manner. With dementia, is that struggle necessary or even possible?

The struggle still continues with Maggie. For the first time in several weeks, she has “done the breakfast dishes” while I am writing this.  That includes the syrup cup and plate in the bath.

Her sleep pattern has returned to that at Provision Living: up at 7 to 9 in the morning, from up with me at 5-7 here.

Our first pair of robins, yesterday. The 15 boxes (13 of which we never opened) from our apartment, stacked inside the room doorway, were picked up this morning as Maggie woke up. We move back to Provision Living in one week; over nine weeks after the flood!

The other refugees are also aware of the anticipation the caregivers express in getting home again. They are disappointed that it is not today or tomorrow. “Tomorrow. Tomorrow. It is only a day away”; for us. But it is now or never for them.

PS: Our caregivers told me to see "Still Alice". It is free on 123Movies. It covers our adventure up to the time we had Home Instead coming to our house. The movie chose a relative living in the house and a caregiver. We are past that. Maggie's behaviors now are the same and also very different including wandering.

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