Oct 25, 2012

A Moment in Time -- Dotty Remembers Last Week

I asked Dotty right after her 4 hour birthday party last year how she liked the birthday cake. She answered, what birthday cake?

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Those of you that are following along know that Dotty is in the moderate to severe stage of Alzheimer's disease. She was officially diagnosed with dementia more than five years.

A Moment in Time -- Dotty Remembers Last Week

Its not unusual for Dotty to say, I'm hungry, I'm starving within ten to fifteen minutes of eating. It is not unusual for Dotty to ask right around 3:30 in the afternoon, did we eat today?

Note: I wrote this article in 2010.

When I say yes we ate, she sometimes asks what did we eat? When I tell her she usually gets this bewildered look on her face. Like she can't believe it.

Sometimes she challenges me and says she didn't eat. Not a thing all day. She honestly believes she has not had a thing to eat all day.

Many of you know the drill. Now, Dotty really doesn't remember much of anything that is happening, she is deeply forgetful.

Sometimes we spend two or three hours in an outdoor restaurant. When we drive back by the restaurant on the way home Dotty will say, wow, look at that place, we should go there some time. You can look at this one of two ways. Get bent out of shape that she doesn't remember we were just in the restaurant. Or,  feel happy that she wants to go there -- we just did. So it must have made her happy.

I asked Dotty right after her 4 hour birthday party last year how she liked the birthday cake. She answered, what birthday cake?

I am use to this by now. In fact this is what I expect.

Tonight is bingo night. So I ask Dotty, how did you do last week?

She looks me right in the eye and says, I won fifty dollars. My eyes pop wide open. Dotty did win 50 bucks a week ago.

I then ask her how did you win? She tells me, they gave her the money. I say didn't you get bingo? She tells me  No. I then ask, why did they give you 50 dollars? She says, I don't know they just gave it to me.

Dotty won at Bingo several times in the past years. She did not remember winning the next morning. Not once.

This is one thing that is fascinating about dementia. You get the occasional lucid moment.

This also reminded me of the when my father was dying from cancer. He would have an occasional great day. Those great days some how fill you with a false sense of hope. You try not to think it but you can't help it -- miracle about to happen?

What I can say is, Dotty telling me she won 50 dollars last week made me feel really happy. In the moment, it was like the good old days. It reminded me how much fun Dotty could be. We were actually having a conversation about something that happened in the not too distant past.

You might think I am sad. I'm not.

Why did Dotty remember the 50 Bucks? Do you know?

Did something like this ever happen to you? A sudden moment of lucidity that caught you off guard.

Do you have a story to share?

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room