Sometimes when I say I can't remember or I can't figure out how to do something Bobby says, don't worry, I'll lend you my brain.
By Dorothy DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
I have Alzheimer's
I'm not dead
Did you miss me?
Bobby says it has been more than a year since I was last here writing. What year is it anyway?
Bobby says, this is also my big chance. Big chance for what? He says, to get more fans. He claims there are a lot of new readers.
To my new fans. Send money.
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Today I am going to be a little more serious than usual. Bobby says some of you need some of my insight and advice. Keep in mind, I am not getting paid this time, so read along at your own risk.
Bobby says that persons living with Alzheimer's say NO all the time even though they don't mean it. Okay, I can explain some of the reasons why this happens.
First and foremost, sometimes, maybe most times, we say No because it is the easiest thing to do.
It is very easy to say NO.
For most of us living with dementia it gets harder and harder to say what we are thinking and feeling. So we just say NO to get it over with.
Why the hell are you asking us the same question over and over anyway? How would you like it if I asked you to go somewhere over and over?
Here is something else you might consider.
You might be assuming that we know what you are talking about when you ask us to do something. Maybe what you are asking us to do makes perfect sense to you. But maybe it doesn't make perfect sense to us.
Sooner or later, you have to come to the understanding that our memory is not as good as it use to be. You might be assuming that because we did something over and over in the past, we should be excited about doing it right now. Sometimes when you ask us to do something it is like asking us to do the great unknown. What would you say if I asked you to do the great unknown? Think about it.
Example. Lets assume you say real fast, its time to take a shower. And then I say real fast, NO. If you pay attention you will start to notice that I (we) often say NO real fast without thinking.
There could be a long list of reasons why I say NO. Maybe I am afraid I am going to drown if I get in the shower. Or, maybe I don't know where the shower is located. So, I say NO because I don't want you to know that I don't know where the shower is located. I don't want to embarrass myself.
Here is something for you to think about. Maybe I don't want to do something because I really don't understand what you are asking me to do.
Besides, why the hell do you bother me out of the clear blue sky and ask me to do something. It might look to you like I am not doing anything while I am lying on the sofa, but did you ask first?
Maybe I am nice and comfy and I don't want to take the darn shower right now. So guess what, I really can't explain all the mumbo jumbo in my brain so I'll make it easy on both of us and just say the one word that is easiest to say, NO.
Here is what I might really be thinking in this instance.
Why don't you bring me a nice big bowl of ice cream and forget the shower" Or maybe, just maybe, if you put a big smile on your face, look me right in the eye, and say in a nice calm voice, do you want some ice cream, I might say yes. Then you could say, okay, lets take a nice shower and when you are done you'll get a nice big bowl of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Now you are talking. To that I can say YES.
Bobby says he finds it upsetting when someone refers to a person living with Alzheimer's as a person they don't know. Well who the hell do you think I am? A purple martian? Hmm, I wonder what purple ice cream would taste like. I think I'll stick with vanilla.
I admit we do change when dementia sets in. The main thing that changes is the way we think and remember. It just isn't easy for us to remember. What do you think we have you around for? To help us.
Bobby is a sweet boy. Sometimes when I say I can't remember or I can't figure out how to do something he says, don't worry, I'll lend you my brain. Then he puts his head on my head and says, see.
Here is my final piece of advice for today.
Maybe you should accept that we are changing. We can't move as fast as we once did, we can't think fast like we once did, and there are some things we can no longer do. But there are lots of things we can and want to do. I'll leave it to you to figure out what we like to do.
So instead of asking us, why not take us gently by the hand and lead the way. You already know we are going to say NO if you ask. So how about you lend us your brain and lead the way.
My last tip. Relax, take a few deep breaths, think positive and go slow.
Or like Bobby says, take a big step to the left and come on into our World -- Alzheimer's World. It is not as bad in here as you think, accept it.
For those of you that have been around for a while please note, I have a new picture up there at the top, no more Dotty Einstein for me.
Dotty went to Heaven on May 25,2012
Dorothy DeMarco is a contributing writer and frequently portrayed character on the Alzheimer's Reading Room. Dotty resides in Delray Beach, FL. To read or subscribe to Dotty's blog go here.
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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room