Oct 24, 2011

Dotty Today and a Reminder of the Past

If you want to know the truth, I am very surprised and somewhat amazed about today's events.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Today was another one of those disconcerting, head scratching, good ending days with Dotty.

Our day started off poorly. Dotty was out of it when she woke up.

When I handed her the first pill of the day her hands were shaking and she couldn't get the pill out of my hand. Bad sign.

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This pattern continued and the next thing I know I find Dotty in bed. I ask, are you sick? She tells me no, I am just laying here. She looked kind of washed out and puny. I decided to take her temperature. No problem so far.

Around 1 PM, I say to Dotty, time for some prune. She asks why? I say poop E agita. She informs me that she has no problem with the poo.

We go through our drill. I put the prune juice in front of Dotty and she tells Harvey its poison. I say, Harvey, prune juice is delicious and its good for you. Harvey must agree because he repeats everything I say. Dotty doesn't want to drink the prune juice. I tell Dotty that prune juice is God's gift to old people. Dotty informs me I am getting old also, I tell her a little fib -- that is why I drink my prune juice every day.

I leave the room with my last words of wisdom. When I return the prune juice glass is empty. I hold Dotty's hand as I tell her how wonderful she is for drinking the prune juice. I rub her head also.

About a half hour goes by and Dotty is transformed. She proudly tells me she went to the bathroom. She is actually smiling. I ask her if she is hungry, she asks me why I bother to ask that question. Of course, "i'm hungry".

After a while I say to Dotty, time for a shower, we are going out later. Dotty asks if she can take the wash cloth in the sink bath instead. She has a name for this type of bath, I can't tell you what she calls this bath. If I did, it would put Dotty in a very bad light.

Dotty takes her shower on her own as I stand outside the shower and shout instructions. Put you head under the water, your whole head.

Make sure you get all the gnarly places. I then say, make sure you get the pee pee machine. I made that one up since I started doing the shower thing. Even when I give Dotty the shower, she is in charge of the pee pee machine. I can handle all the other gnarly parts. Although Dotty does not like it when I clean between her toes. Yeah, its gnarly in there. She doesn't complain on the main gnarly part.

Dotty put her own cloths on. Of course, I have to lay out the cloths and shoes or Dotty might decide to dress like Bozo the Clown. Or, put on her nice pajamas and tell me they are cloths.

Dotty is alert and with it at this point in the day.

I will say one thing. Dotty is definitely shrinking. She is down to 128 pounds with her cloths on. She is definitely starting to look tiny.

I give Dotty some potato chips as I layer on a heavy dose of positive reinforcement. I leave the room.

Next I hear Dotty singing. This is always the best sign of them all. She stops singing. Then I hear her tell Harvey she can't remember the words and laughs about it with him. Harvey sounds very funny when he laughs. Harvey laughs, Dotty laughs at Harvey, they both laugh some more. I laugh at both of them laughing.

Finally, I say to Dotty we are going to the store. Its bright light time.

We get to the store and now it gets interesting.

Dotty says she is going to walk. I ask, you sure you want to do this? She says yes.

I grab a regular cart in the parking lot, put it in front of Dotty and say, let's go. I hold on to the front of the cart to make sure Dotty doesn't do a header. Its slow going to say the least.

By the time we get to the entrance to the store Dotty is struggling a bit. However, she is not out of breath or breathing hard. Note this, she is not complaining either.

We go in and finally make it to where they sell lottery tickets. I ask Dotty want some lotteries? She looks in her pockets and informs me she doesn't have any money. I say, don't worry, I'll pay and we will be partners. She likes this idea.

Only one problem. Dotty has no clue. I say, want a couple of Powerball tickets? She asks, what is it. I tell her you can win a hundred million. She says okay. How about Cash Three? She has no clue. I say give me three numbers, she says 629 (her birthday). I was hoping she would say 813, the number she played for about 20 years. She didn't. I ask, how about some scratch off? She decided that three sounds good (she won on two of them).

Finally, I say, as she pushed the cart, do you want to go up and down the aisles with me, or wait at the end while I run up the aisle. She decided to wait at the end, thank goodness. I want to get home before midnight.

We shop, we pay. Dotty is a bit confused at times. She did manage to throw some things in the cart while she was waiting at the end of aisles for me.

TIP. I kept my mouth shut and just put them back. It is a waste of time to try and explain we don't need those items. Only one thing can happen in the a discussion of that type. Dotty will get upset and start withdrawing. We don't want that.

If you want to know the truth, I am very surprised and somewhat amazed about today's events. In the grocery store it did seem like the days of old. One thing though, I didn't chastise Dotty for putting things in the cart that we didn't need or would never use. Took me a while to figure out that less is more, and to stop doing things that make the day go bad.

In Alzheimer's World its about Dotty, not my real world need to explain why we don't need or want something.

I'm happy. Somehow I just seemed to get amazed over and over. I guess it is amazing in real world terms.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,910 articles with more than 652,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room