Apr 17, 2011

Dotty Continues to Surprise, and Sings "I’m Always Chasing Rainbows"

When "I’m Always Chasing Rainbows" finished I ask Dotty, do you know that song? She responded, I don't know. Then she started laughing. She was clearly happy. I laughed right along with her....

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

This morning I wake up and I am looking for my coffee cup. Each day when I am done drinking coffee, I wash my cup and put it in the corner over near the coffee pot. Ready to get back into action the next morning. No I don't put it up in the cabinet with the other coffee cups and glasses. I do the same thing with Dotty's coffee cup.

When I wash the dishes, Dotty usually takes the clean dishes and glasses and piles them up on top of the counter. She doesn't put them away. Piles em up. This has been the pattern for years. Before this pattern started, she would take the cups and glasses and pile them up on the left, where the dishes go. She would take the dishes and pile them up on the right, where the glasses and cups go.

The fact that she was doing the dishes and cups backwards did help me to understand how the Alzheimer's brain spins backwards. This revaluation was one of the things that lead me to believe that NO does not mean NO when an Alzheimer's patient says NO. I concluded they didn't know how or where. This lead me to conclude they need a different kind of help and direction when you want them to do something.

Dotty has been very cooperative this week. Taking her own shower. Wozo edwards. I'm made of flesh and blood just like you. This shocked, surprised, and amazed me. This time around in a good way.

Back to the coffee cup. I look for my cup. It is not where I expected it to be. I look around. Did I forget to wash it? Where is it? I can't find it. Finally, I decide to look for it where the dishes are. This seemed logical to me given Dotty's past behavior. Not there.

Next, I decide to look in the cabinet where we keep the glasses and coffee cups. There it is. Right next to it, is Dotty's clean coffee cup. Next I inspect further and realize Dotty put all the cups, glasses and dishes away in the right place.

Wouldn't seem like much to the average observer. Unless they knew that Dotty has not done this in many years. Five maybe.

What is going on? I cannot really tell you for sure. If Dotty had fallen down and banged her head on the ground, I would be getting pretty excited right now. Think about it.

Yesterday, we had another pleasant surprise. I had the show Mildred Pierce (HBO) on the television. Right at the end as the credits are rolling, Dotty starts singing. She is singing some of the words, and singing the tune (not humming). It rolls around the second time and Dotty starts singing more of the words.

When the song finishes I ask Dotty, do you know that song? She responded, I don't know. Then she started laughing. She was clearly happy. I laughed right along with her.

The song? I’m Always Chasing Rainbows. The song was originally written in 1918. The song became popular again after Judy Garland sang it in the Ziegfeld Girl (1941). The song became very popular in 1946 when it was recorded by Perry Como.

I’m Always Chasing Rainbows was performed by Sumi Jo in Mildred Pierce. It is a beautiful verson of the song, very moving. Better than any other recorded version in my opinion. Unfortunately, it is not currently available on the HBO website or on the Internet.

I couldn't decide whether to put up the Judy Garland or Perry Como version.

I’m Always Chasing Rainbows originated from the classical composition of Chopin: "Fantasie Impromptu". So I selected this version so you can get a feel for the beauty of the music. Judy Garland starts singing at the two minute mark on the video.

The HBO version sung by Sumi Jo is really beautiful. You can hear it at the very end of Mildred Pierce Part 5.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,560 articles with more than 412,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room