Apr 4, 2010

Dotty says Bummer

After we are back home for a while, I ask Dotty these exact words -- How did you like it today? I expect her to say, like what? Or what did we do? Instead she says, "Bummer".
By Bob DeMarco

Alzheimer's Reading Room
We went to the Banana Boat. It was a beautiful day. I was surprised, the Banana Boat was crowded but not jammed. It wasn't hard getting mom out of the car and up into the restaurant. It took a while but I am use to that and I anticipated what needed to be done.

When we were getting ready to leave to go to the Banana Boat, I had Dotty all dolled up. She really looked nice. At the last minute, I took off my pants and put on shorts. So I had on a nice Ralph Lauren shirt and shorts. Florida has finally gotten to me. Dotty looked at me and said, "is that how you are going to dress"? I said, yes. She just shook her head. I thought to myself, Dotty is in the present we are going to have a good day.

When we were first in the Boat, we had to stand on the sideline. Finally, this guy got up and went to the Men's Room. On the way back, he offered my mother his seat. We were in business. Went more or less as I expected.

At this point I get the menu and start discussing the alternatives with Dotty. Wings and fries? Burger and fries? The Bermuda Triangle. We do this three or four times and Dotty expresses no preference. In the old days I am pretty sure Dotty would have said wings and fries immediately. I ask the girl if they still have the mild wings. She says, medium and hot. This is all I need to justify ordering what I want. The Bermuda Triangle. To get up to date on this and other issues you can read the article I wrote earlier today -- Banana Boat Here We Come.

When the Triangle comes Dotty goes right for the hard boiled egg. No surprise in her choice, a little surprise she goes for it so quick. I mean like she notices it right away.

I start by putting the various crab, chicken, and tuna salads on a cracker and handing them to Dotty. Then someone starts talking to me and Dotty grabs her fork. I let her go to town. This is important. Dotty is using the fork and hitting the mark -- her mouth -- like a champ. They always ask question about eating utensils at the clinical trail interviews.

No Dotty doesn't use a knife to cut her food. But this is my fault. I started cutting her food a long time ago. I didn't want to chance her trying to eat a giant piece of steak.

Dotty does know how to use a knife -- kinda sorta. She uses a knife to stab open anything she wants to get at. A bag of potato chips would be one example. She stabs the bag right in the middle and goes to town. I try to keep things that Dotty might stab our of harms way. Sometimes she finds the hidden treasure.

When it comes to food Dotty still has radar. I can put a mound bar out on the counter and before you can say "who killed cock robin" Dotty will find it and consume it. In all the years of observing Dotty very closely I cannot figure out how she does this. She must have been some kind of food finding animal in a previous life.

Speaking of radar. This guy around my age kept looking down at me. Finally, he comes down and says, you are a wonderful son -- here we go. Opps, not quite. He then says your mother has Alzheimer's right? I say yes. He then tells me about his mother that suffers from Alzheimer's disease. His entire family works together taking care of her. Brothers, sisters and in-laws. It is not that common -- at least not on this blog. This always catches my attention. It is the way it is supposed to be.

While at the Banana Boat, I notice I have no need to vent about the current state of affairs with Dotty. For now, I am over the mountain and through the woods. Only time will tell. I'll need mental help someday. I am pretty sure I'll need to call on the collective brain sooner or later.

After we are back home for a while, I ask Dotty these exact words -- How did you like it today? I expect her to say, like what? Or what did we do? Instead she says, "Bummer". I say why Bummer? Dotty says there was no one there to talk to, it was boring. Hmm, Dotty knows we went to the Banana Boat.

Let me put this in perspective. On June 29, 2008, I had a big birthday party for Dotty at the Banana Boat. Her friend friends came, and her Banana Boat friends came. People we didn't know were coming up and wishing Dotty a Happy Birthday. Neal played the sax and sang Happy Birthday and the entire Banana Boat sang Happy Birthday to Dotty. Dotty had a very nice birthday cake.

After about 3 and one half hours we headed home. When we got into the car, I said to Dotty, "how did you like your birthday cake"? Her response, "what birthday cake". I felt like a knife went into my heart. Later that night I was getting one of those this is the end panic attacks. Shortly thereafter we went to the doctor and got the Namenda -- Aricept and Namenda from Day One -- This is my Belief.

There is more insight, advice and perspective about Dotty coming. However, you will have to hang in here on the Alzheimer's Reading Room for a while before I tell it.

Also see -- A Wonderful Moment in Time--Mom dances for the first time in years.

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The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diag­no­sis and Treat­ment for Mem­ory Prob­lems
The 36-Hour Day A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,390 articles with more than 272,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room