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“You and the person (with dementia) do not share the
same world; what you and they understand about what you both see may be very
different. ” This one of the most important statements in the Savvy Caregiver manual
I got in a workshop from my local Area Agency on Aging. It is also a key theme
in Jennifer Ghent-Fuller’s
extraordinarily informative book “Thoughtful Dementia Care”. Because of
the disease, the brains of people with Alzheimer’s are not functioning the way
those of unafflicted people do. They experience various aspects of their
environment (sights, sounds, time, movement, relationships, etc.) fundamentally
differently. It is irrelevant that they formerly understood things like the
past and the future, and logic, and planning, and the difference between TV and
real life. What matters is that now they just can’t perceive these aspects of
the world the same way we do. Nor can we really fully (mis)understand the world
the way our afflicted loved ones do.
But sometimes we can catch something like a brief glimpse:
Some time ago I needed a dental procedure that
required sedation. I had a home health aide
stay with DW (that went fine), while I engaged another aide from the retirement
community we lived in to pick me up and drive me home from the dentist. (This
was a mandate from the dentist due to the long-lingering sedation I would
have.) The procedure went ok too, so I
am told. I know I then got that ride home,
and that I walked in the front door of the main building, opened my mailbox,
got my mail, took the elevator upstairs, and in the hallway crossed paths with DW
and the aide going down to dinner. I took my coat off, hung it up and flopped
on the bed for a couple of hours. I know from other people’s statements that I
did these things, and that I was ostensibly conscious, but I have no actual
memory of doing any of these things.
I know that it’s not the same, but this variety of altered
reality that I experienced for a few hours gave me a little more empathy for
how my DW experiences every day. Oh my. God bless her.
Mr Toad - I thoroughly enjoy your posts. You capture the true intended essence of "musing". You stick with the intended subject of this forum, and I have learned much from your postings.
Thanks, and please muse as often as you can.
Even those of us without dementia often have difficulty understanding
each other. We are wired differently.
Little wonder that we live in a troubled world. Doesn’t help, too, when we lack
tolerance. Lack camaraderie. Lack any interest in achieving a common good. Lack
self-sacrifice. But all is not lost. We have breakthroughs. We have the ability to love. Not only others.
But life. I see some real lovers. Right here. In musings. That’s why I come.
Every day. For words of decency. And
wisdom. And hope. Keep the faith in each other everyone. --Jim
Mixed feelings on that, since the Washington DC area was my home for many years and the Nationals have NEVER won a series.
Nevertheless, I am pleased that folks find value in my words. I am a man of few talents. Stringing words together may be one of those few. (Making a terrific Sicilian lasagna is another, but I can't share that here.)
As someone here has suggested, I should mention that I have also begun making some postings on the S/P forum.
I believe, when we realize and truly accept that we are travelling down different roads in different worlds, will our partnership endure and grow. Once we accept the inevitable, can we move forward and live with the hand we are dealt. It's when we try to stuff our demented minds ( or be stuffed) in a world that we no longer belong to, that things get tough. The norms are theirs, not ours now.
You, Mr. Toad, may have had a glimpse of that world, but the compassion,dedication and patience you show your wife is testimony of a man in love. Still. After all these years. The concert no longer was important.
Mr. T., Sicilian Lasagna? It brings tears to my eyes. Could it be that you are of Italian heritage? Just wondering as I am of Italian heritage, but my mother's family is Calabrese. Not friendly with the Sicilians when it was the, "Old Country." I am mezza/mezza.
Ah Judith, no true Italian lasagna maker has a written recipe. A little of this, a little of that, each person with their own unique creations and each time it is made, adjustments are also made depending on how everything is coming together.
It is a lot of work, a labor of love and SO, SO, SO good. Awesome in the way it so richly and deeply adorns the air in the house with its aroma. Drooling permitted.
Viva Italia! YUM!
My dad and aunt were born not too far from the village of
Corleone. (Yep.) I did prevail on aunt
to write down a recipe, but you’re right, I don’t really follow it. Besides, DW
has a good time helping:
“Here, sweetheart, want to squeeze the meat out of this
sausage?” “Ooohhh yes!”
or “ OK, the meats, breadcrumbs, eggs, onions are all in
the bowl. How about using your hands like this to smoosh it all together?”
As to layering the lasagna, cheese, meat, sauce, my former
uptight fussbudget persona used to take pains to allocate all the ingredients
just so. When DW is helping, not so much. The several pans of lasagna (I usually make about an eighth of an acre at a time) may come out somewhat
inconsistently layered, lopsided even, but we sure have fun making a delicious