Tuesday, August 08, 2006

90 "tell the people" & Alzheimer's Mad Libs

My mom ordered some hand lotion from my body shop page for my dad (if his skin is soft he doesn't pick at it). It came in on Friday but I forgot to bring it over. I went to see An Inconvenient Truth on Saturday(review coming--check my Shamanism blog or the new review page on my website) by myself at the Cine 1-2-3-4 so on the way back I stopped at my grandmother's to drop off the lotion. At least the dog knows who I am and is happy to see me. Remember that my dad just saw me the night before, and for lunch the day before. He says "Are you coming to Wallingford again?" (A rare, articulate sentence) I say, gently, "I live in Wallingford. I'm going there right now. I'm going home."
Blank look. I start to walk away. He calls to me, "Tell the people!" I stop and ask, "What people?"
"The people." He waves his arms. "Tell them what?" "Tell them." My mother suggests the Mad-Lib plug in of "Tell Willy he says hello." That seems to be correct, so I make my way out to the car. As I put it in reverse, I hear my grandmother shouting, and I turn around to see that I'm about to run my dad over. He does that--he stands behind moving cars or too close to them.
He comes up to my window and starts laughing and talking about black bags. I have no idea what he's referring to. He explains "I'm just making a joke" and laughs again. I'm glad he's amused. Taking a guess, I tell him he can come to my house and take my returnable bottles and cans and that I'll leave a black trash bag out for him. He agrees and nods but they don't come over so I guess he forgot or didn't understand.
My mother claims he doesn't know I'm his daughter. I don't believe that. I believe that he's forgotten my name, but when he sees me he knows I'm someone he wants around. I think if she says "Berta, your daughter" he might be totally blank on that concept, but not when I'm standing there. Same with my husband. He knows Willy's that "guy who eats with us sometime", and that he's supposed to be there, even if he doesn't exactly know Will's name or function.
They went on vacation and what a debacle. My mom called me in hysterics. She was crying because she loves the dog and he was unhappy to be left at the dog hotel. Then the dog hotel wouldn't take the cat because he got his rabies shot 13 months ago even though it's a 3 year vaccine. So I had to truck over there every day before work and feed him and he cries because he can't go outside so I have to go again and let him out for a while. One day I couldn't find him at all. My mother started to tell my father that and I stopped her. No need to borrow trouble, isn't that the old saying? I said "Tell him the cat is fine." Then he was flipping out because he forget to take the garbage bin to the curb. No doubt he was ready to come home and do it. I got Will to do it on the way home.
Then I found Japser (he found ME) with no problem and he was even purring and letting me carry him which means he's lonely. I called the hotel to tell my parents and my mom put my dad on the phone. He asked "Talk to the people for me." After a few minutes of Mad-Libs, my mom figured out he meant to check on the cat. I explained that the cat was right there, purring. I tried to get the cat to meow into the phone but he wouldn't. "Oh, I'm glad, I'm so glad, I was worried." Yes, I know, he worries about that damn mean little cat. The other day I tried to pet him because he was on top of the freezer in the basement crying for attention and the $*er bit me.

Mad-Libs is a game I played when I was little. You bought a book of very short stories, with the key words left out. Under each blank was a part of speech, like "noun" or "verb" or something like "body part" or "Place" or "Man's name". So from a story like this:
(Man's name) went to the (place) to buy some (noun), (noun), and (adjective)(noun), only he got more than he bargained for. The (adjective) checkout girl (verb -ed) his (body part) and then hit him with a (noun).
you could get a variety of stories, most of them dirty because that's human nature.
Alzheimer's mad-libs is a little different. I know not all AD sufferers have the verbal impairment of my dad so everyone might not get to play this lovely game.
My dad says, "They went to that place with the thing." Another common variation is "they went to the place for that thing."
They=person's name
That place=some common location or activity
The thing=could be anything
They is usually my mom, especially if I just called on the phone.
That place and that thing rely heavily on each other. If you can figure one out, you can figure out the other. Common meanings: went for a walk with the dog. Took the cat (or dog) to the vet. Took grandma to the store/doctor. Took the car for a oil change. You can see the possibilities are endless.
Yes, my life is an endless round of fun. Dead pets, insane parents--something for everyone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hallo, thank you for sharing the story with us. Seems your Dad is going through the most difficult (i mean for the family)stage of AD - constant threat, anything can happen and will happen. My mom died of AD, my father´s personality doesnt make things better, sometimes i feel lost. As i read your blogs i especially recall when our city was underwater, our cat had to be put to sleep, mom got a seizure, i got a bad flu, all at the same time... I wish you all the strenght you may need.