Oct 4, 2012

Any Breakfast in This Joint?

About 30 minutes after I had her situated on the sofa she asks, "can we get any breakfast in this joint?"

Bob De Marco +Alzheimer's Reading Room

Any Breakfast in This Joint?
My mother Dorothy was born in south Philadelphia in 1916. To say the least, she has some interesting and colorful language. Four things she says all the time are: I'm hungry, did we eat, what day is it, and "kiss my *ss." Someday I might even tell you some of the more colorful things she says. Maybe.

Five years ago when she said these things they drove me crazy. Now, I just laugh. After all, she is a colorful character. My mother is small and sometimes I see her as a cartoon character. Don't take that the wrong way, it makes me laugh and smile.

This morning, Dorothy had the big Sunday breakfast. Egg, bacon, home fries, toast, coffee, orange juice, and for desert, two mini cinnamon donuts.

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About 30 minutes after I had her situated on the sofa she asks, "can we get any breakfast in this joint?" Unlike in days gone by I did not get uptight. I actually thought to myself, well we made it 30 minutes today. You see, Dorothy is convinced she never eats. She can't remember when she ate or what she ate. This has been going on from day one. More than six years.

When she says this, I go over to the sofa and pat her hand a few times. I tell her gently, we had breakfast. She gets that bewildered look on her face and asks, what did we eat? I tell her. She responds, no we didn't.

At this point while holding her hand, I put my head on her forehead. I say, think, did we eat? She tells me no. I finally say, ok, we will eat in a little while.

It is the touch and the sound of my voice that makes the difference. I am not uptight, not anymore. I sent the hamster within me away. Well, he sneaks back in once and a while. But not often.

Dorothy finally says, ok, nothing better to do, I'll go to sleep. She then rolls over and goes to sleep.

I now know we are good for anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. I also know what she is going to say the second her eyes pop open, did we eat? Next time around I'll gently explain that we are going to eat soon. She'll tell me, I'm hungry, I'm starving.

I already know that some day mom is going to stop saying, I'm hungry. I am not looking forward to that day. I do know one thing for sure, when she stops saying it I am going to be sad. Very sad.

The day will come when I won't get to hear I'm hungry, I'm starving. I already know I am going to miss those words. I know I'll miss them for a long long time.

I'm not sure yet how I will feel in the far away future. I'm hoping that when I miss those words it will make me smile. After all Dorothy is a colorful character. I think that is what I am going to remember. At least, I hope so.

What is the moral of this story? It is my belief that you get to decide how you think and how you feel when dealing with someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease. You make the choice.

Ok, gotta go, time for Dorothy to take a pee. And eat.

Note: I actually wrote this article a few years ago. I just finished rereading it. Made me smile.

I was right.  I miss Dotty saying "I'm hungry, I'm starving". Reading this made me smile at first. But, it also made me feel sad.

Not bad though.

Wow, we only had 1,200 article when I wrote this article.

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