Dec 30, 2014

How $200 Disappeared Then Reappeared 18 Months Later

Do you get angry at the person living with dementia when something goes missing or gets misplaced?

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

How $200 Disappeared Then Reappeared 18 Months Later
If you have not done so, I strongly suggest you read this article from Racael Wonderlin - 16 Things I Would Want, If I Get Dementia .

Under that article our reader Lori entered a comment that tickled me.
"If I get dementia, don’t get angry because I put something away and you can’t find it.
I won’t remember where I put it after I set it down. Think of it as a treasure hunt."
A treasure hunt! Those are words of wisdom and some good advice.

It reminded me of an entire array of events where something magically disappeared when I was taking care of my mother - Dotty.

Like the time I took her to the ATM machine to get $200.

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The day after we procured the $200 it was time for Dotty to go to bingo.

Right before we were leaving I asked her to look in her purse (wallet) and get out $20. She looked and said, there is nothing in here.

Impossible I reacted. I looked myself, in her purse and wallet, and there was no money to be found.

I asked, where did you put the $200? She responded, what $200? The $200 we got out of the bank yesterday. She said, I don't remember that. I don't have any money. We're poor.

I countered - hold on, I'll find it.

After looking everywhere I could think of - no $200. So away we went to bingo with a twenty out of my pocket.

The next day, and the day after that, and the day after that, I searched everywhere I could think of for the $200. Under the mattress, under the bed, in every draw in the entire house, in all the pockets of all my mother's cloths, even in her shoes. I searched and searched and searched.

I wondered if she lost the money. Impossible. We went to the bank and came straight home.

I finally gave up, well not really. Every once in a while I searched.

Then magically two years later Dotty comes walking out of her bedroom with a pile of money and a big smile on her face. Look what I found she said gleefully.

I took the money out of her hand and counted it. 9 twenties and 2 tens, exactly what you get when you take $200 out of the ATM.

I asked the obvious question - where did you find this?

What do you think she said? Answer, I don't know.

She just found the money, but had no idea where she found it. She couldn't remember 20 seconds later where she found the money. Now that is a good example of how memory loss works.

To this day, I have never been able to figure out where the money was hidden.

How about the time when I couldn't find Dotty's partial denture?

I looked everywhere, under everything. After a couple of hours I got another idea about where to look. How about in the trash? Not the trash in the house, I had already looked there. How about in the trash that I had thrown in the dumpster early in the morning?

Time for a dumpster dive. I found our bag in the sumpster, started searching, and there they were - the dentures. Whew.

From that point on I searched the trash every time before I put it out. I might suggest you do likewise.

Ever find anything that was missing in the trash or that magically reappeared in the trash?

One time we couldn't find Dotty's favorite coffee cup. I looked and looked and looked. How is it possible to lose something as big as a coffee mug in your own home? I couldn't understand it.

Then I went to use our microwave oven and lo and behold there it was. Dotty had put it in the microwave without me knowing. From that point on I unplugged the microwave, and only plugged it in to use it. A word to the wise is sufficient.

Ever found your mail in the trash? Had some of your money disappear?

Ever been on a treasure hunt for something that magically disappeared?

Ever get angry at the person living with dementia when something goes missing or gets misplaced? Tell us your story of lost and found, or just plain lost, in the comments section below this article.

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