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Marnie and RuthDear Diary,

I believe in consistency. Ruth, if you’re going to have Alzheimer’s than by GOLLY have it. I’m going to need to ask you to play by the rules. Don’t go pulling out anecdotes from last WEEK and replay them for me detail by minute detail. What’s with the exact account of dialogue by a woman you’ve only met once? Is it appropriate that not only do you remember HER name, but what her hair was doing (spazzed out) in the back of her head? Must you recount with perfection that her paisley print blouse was gapping in front because “she was too big across the bust” and you could see her brassiere? Come on woman. That’s blatantly showing off and nobody likes a show-off. There’s a name for what you have. A medical term to define what you experience..selective memory.

The problem with ASMA or Asymptomatic Selective Memory Affliction is that an innocent eldercare provider such as myself never knows when it will strike and with what kind of force. Take for instance the time we went into a very nice and very highly acclaimed Indian restaurant around the block from Ruth’s homestead Happy daze Assisted Living. I knew we were taking a big gamble going in at the height of business shmooze lunch hour, around 1:00 pm. Yet, I felt confident about scoring a table without much lag time, because I had with me my lucky charmer mother-in-law by my side.

ME to Ruth: I’m going to need you to hunker down a bit. Round your shoulders and shrink down. Maybe two inches.

RUTH: Like you do?

ME: Yeah. Thanks Ruth. Like I do. Can you do it?

RUTH: Well, I can sure try. It’s not going to be easy.

Yes, I understand it’s not going to be easy to play the role of an 82 yr old granny with Alzheimer’s but just for TODAY could you humor me? I prepped Ruth on my strategy for gaining entrance without reservations.

ME: I forgot to make reservations.

RUTH: Well you should have told me. I would have reminded you.
How are we going to get in here now?

ME: Just don’t say anything.

RUTH: What if I explained to the fellow that you forgot? He looks like a nice young man.

On top of Ruth’s ASMA she also suffers from AHBAD or Alzheimer’s Halted By Adorable Dudes. I really don’t need this right now.

Up we feebly walk; Ruth working her hunched look and me giving it my all with my “pained and defeated” face with just a pinch of minor discomfort thrown in for good measure. Please don’t try this at home ladies. This is a developed talent that takes years to perfect and if you do it wrong you will only appear to have a major constipation issue and that will get you nothing.

Past the long line of Saville Row suites and Chanel two pieces (some Prada Spring transition wear) to the Maitre d’ stand. All eyes are on us and expectations by audience are sky high. Better make this good Adrienne. I proceeded to explain to “good looking” young man that my dear mother-in-law (I point to Ruth) has issues. On cue mom flashes a doozy of a smile— all eyes bright and gleaming. Chin tilted upward, head thrown back..Cripes!

I kind of nudge her with my shoulder but she is OBLIVIOUS to anything other than “nice young mans” dazzling azure colored eyes. Task at hand. Task at hand!

Thus I begin my monologue du jour. Delivered to what I think is near perfection. “Ruth has Alzheimer’s and she gets fatigued quickly if she has to sit in a room with a lot of stimulus. Guess what? He’s not listening to me. He’s carrying on a side conversation with Ruth. They are chatting away and I hear little fragments like.. “ Oh my mother’s your age.” “You were born in 1927? So was my mother.” “Oh you knew Shirley Smetzer? We lived next door to her.” “ How’s her cousin Ralph? He’s still married to Thelma!” “Do you know how her kids are? Yes, that’s what I thought when I saw her last.”

This is N O T going well.

Finally Maitre d’ Dude looks over at me like I’m a pathological liar and says, “What a great MEMORY your mother-in-law has. I wish I were as sharp as she is.” Feh. We’ll just go sit over in the corner and wait.

Listen up MY SANDWICH GENERATION givers of care. This is not an unusual phenomenon. Alzheimer’s or no Alzheimer’s, pretty much you can bet your COSTCO card on the fact that when you visit the Doctors office with your senior family member this ASMA is going to kick right in. Be prepared as the advocate with written notes of signs and symptoms that you have noticed in a specific time period. If ASMA is in full gear, please don’t start to question your own SANITY hence leaving the doctors office all poor(er) and empty handed. If the Doc is on his or her game, he or she knows that as family and caregiver, you have a much broader perspective of mom or dad’s frailties over time than he or she does in a fifteen minute performance. I promise a good show.



Posted in Uncategorized 14 years, 5 months ago at 9:07 pm.


2 Replies

  1. Hmmm…wonder if you could work a ‘deal’ with Granny? Tell her you will let her have her ‘fun’ with Adorable Dude AFTER you get seated …and by doing it YOUR way.LOL…

  2. Adrienne Apr 28th 2009

    Thank YOU very much for joining us at the table. So glad you did. Feel free to bring a guest anytime!
    All the best!