Feb 10, 2010

Dorothy Gets a Grand Slam Breakfast

Either the thought of a great big breakfast has Dotty's brain working today, or Jupiter is aligned with Mars. Doesn't matter.

My name is Bob DeMarco, I am an Alzheimer's caregiver. My mother Dorothy, now 93 years old. suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

I am watching the Super Bowl and the Denny's commercial comes on the television. I learn that on Tuesday, Denny's is going to give everyone in American, who wants one, a free grand slam breakfast. It starts at 6 AM and runs until 2 PM.

I suppose most people watched that commercial and thought -- free breakfast. Not me. I immediately thought road trip, bright light, socialization, and free breakfast.

I thought about it and decided this would be a good opportunity to get Dotty out of the house and get her a nice big dose of real world. I admit, I was worried that the long line could turn into a problem. On the other hand, Dotty often tells me she eat could breakfast for all three meals. Keep in mind, to Dotty breakfast must have eggs and toast or it doesn't count. Cereal and oat meal are not a real breakfast to Dotty.

We get to Denny's and sure enough the line is wrapped around the building. I say to Dotty, maybe this is a bad idea. Dotty assures me the line is no problem. We are off to a great start today. Dotty is talking and reacting. Either the thought of a great big breakfast has Dotty's brain working today, or Jupiter is aligned with Mars. Doesn't matter.

We go inside Denny's and lo and behold there is one bench seat available in the waiting area. No standing in line for Dotty. Amen. This is usually where Dotty says, you're hairy. Hairy is Philadelphia speak for lucky. I have to admit, I am hairy.

They inform us that the wait is about 35 minutes. Dotty has no problem with this. I stand about six feet away from Dotty. Every so often, I look over at Dotty and give her a smile. Dotty gives me a nice sweet smile back. Gotta be the big breakfast.

This is turning into a terrific day. Dotty is talking, Dotty is smiling, and I am getting that warm and fuzzy feeling. Caregiver happiness.

We finally get to our table and order. Dotty is still talking to me. Must be the planets.

Here comes the monster breakfast. Two eggs, bacon, sausage links and two giant pancakes. Much to my surprise, Dotty scarfs down the entire breakfast. I don't know whether to be happy or worried. Too much food usually drains her brain.

We get the bill. You have to pay for the coffee. I ask Dotty, how much do you think two coffees cost? She says, a dollar. I tell her it is $3.94. She asks, how do they get away with that, people won't pay that. I decide not to do any of the following: inform Dotty its 2010 and not 1970, try to explain Keynesian economics and the effects on prices, or that people don't have any choice if they want a free grand slam breakfast. I let it slide.

Next I peel off 4 dollars bills and drop them on the table. This is for the tip, not to pay the bill. Dotty makes my day with her next comment -- "you always were a high roller". In some ways it seems like 1970, all of a sudden. The major difference is that I don't give Dotty some smart ass remark back. I'm so happy she is talking and interacting, I don't say anything. Well, I did laugh.

At this point, I want to thank Denny's. The manager was running the operation and everything was going smoothly in the restaurant in spite of the big crowd. The waitress was wonderful to my mother. Even the girl that took my $3.94 had a smile on her face.

I guess I lived on New York too long. It really did seem like 1970.

Although, I wasn't a high roller back in those days and mom would have been paying the bill.

Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room