Apr 1, 2012

Dotty Comes Out of the Deep, Did She Drive Me Crazy?

Dotty is kinder and gentler now. And, so am I. Or is it, I am kinder and gentler and more understanding now; and, so is Dotty?

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

I knew the minute I heard her voice when she woke up in the morning. It was going to be a wild and whacky day.

Dotty woke up with a clear strong voice on Saturday morning. It reminded me of 20 years ago. She was smiling and talking and making comments.

As soon as she got to Harvey she was yakking away with him.

I had to laugh, and smile. I also thought, this is going to be a crazy day.

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It didn't take long. I went into the bathroom and when I came out I heard noises emanating from the kitchen. We have two entrances to our kitchen, so I went in behind Dotty where she couldn't see me. Much to my surprise she was cooking. I can't remember how long it has been since Dotty tried to cook something.

I noticed she had a small frying pan on the stove. This in spite of the fact that there was a bigger frying pan sitting on top of the stove.

After a few minutes she took out a spatula, like you use to flip an egg, and moved her "home fry" potatoes from the pan onto a tiny little plate. Why did she use a tiny little plate? The bigger plates are right next to the tiny plates.

Dotty had managed to cook home fries.

As Dotty took off for the kitchen table, I slid down to the other entrance. Holly mole- E, she carried the plate all the way to the table on her own, sat down and started eating.

I moved in to examine the mess. So far, I had not said a single word.

There was still a lot of oil in the frying pan. It appeared that she poured about 10 times the amount of oil you need to cook home fries into the frying pain. We had little drips of oil here and there.

Next I noticed she had stabbed the back of home fries right in the middle to get at the home fries for cooking. Put me in the WayBac machine right then and there. In the old days, when Dotty on a scavenger hunt for potato chips she would stab the chip bag right in the middle with a sharp knife to get at the chips. That use to "piss" me off. Not today.

I'm so surprised that Dotty went into the lower cabinet to find a frying pan, into the upper cabinet to find a dish, found the olive oil, went into the refrigerator on a scavenger hunt to find the home fries, stab the bag of home fries and threw a couple on handful so potatoes into the frying pan, turn the stove burner on, turned the stove burner off, moved the home fries from the pan to the dish, and picked up the dish and walked to the kitchen table on her own, that I couldn't do much but smile, and think, this is gonna be a rough day.

I finally ask Dotty, did you cook those potatoes enough? She answers, yes. They look about half way there to me, I think. I ask, how do they taste? Dotty responds, delicious. Good enough for me.

I then ask, why didn't you ask me to cook them? Dotty responds, what am I a baby? This brings a good hearty laugh out of me. I then say, well that is the first time you cooked in a long time. Dotty then informs me she cooks all the time. Alright - y.

You'll notice I didn't say a word while Dotty was cooking. I just watched to make sure we would still have a place to live when she was done.

In the old days, I would have jumped in, told Dotty she was not doing it right, and then watched my little penguin scurry off into her bedroom. Leaving me with a stomach ache and feeling confused. Confused about what the "hell" was wrong with me.

During the day, Dotty was on the hunt, the scavenger hunt for food. She moved herself around quite a bit. She was pretty communicative for most of the day.

During the day I thought to myself, the old days were a lot harder then they are right now. Now, I have to assist Dotty everytime she gets up and every time I have to take her to the toilet. She can't walk on her own unless she can hold on to something as she goes from wall to chair to wall. If she can't grab on to something she calls out, YouWHO anybody home? When I get there I ask, what happened? She tells me, I can't move. I ask why not? She says, my feet won't go. I ask, how did you get this far? She answers, I don't know. I assist her.

Helping Dotty now is a lot of work. All day long work. But no where near as taxing as when she was mean and nasty.

Dotty is kinder and gentler now. And, so am I.

Or is it, I am kinder and gentler and more understanding now; and, so is Dotty?

I leave it for you to decide.

So for a small period of time Dotty came out of the "deep forget". I forgot what it use to be like in the old days, and then I remembered.

I wish Dotty could still cook.

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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 3,710 articles with more than 397,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room