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Relaxatives and Softeners

Ruth with Alien Dude and Smart AlecDear Diary,

There are times when I have to act as a sensor. A kind of sorter-outer of all news depressing or aggravating to my MIL Ruth (dementia) so the ACTUAL drama of a particular event doesn’t cause granny to get her GRANNY PANTS in a bunch. Life is dramatic enough over at Happy Daze Assisted Living— floor ROAM..why should I add to it by having to be the bearer of all things lackluster? I came to the realization long ago..that there is really no point in telling Ruth the hard cold facts..when I can make it easier on BOTH of us by dousing them in honey.

Straight truth? No good has ever come from it. Blech. I tried it once. Ruth went over it and over it in that head of hers..reliving it ad nauseam..The anguish and HEARTACHE. Asking me every 45-60 seconds.. “Tell me again, why AlienDude28 can’t play my Wii tennis?” (In front of punished child) “Seems to ME mommy, that THAT’S a very steep punishment for this poor child (child is making “kitty eyes” on cue). Maybe he couldn’t sleep and THAT’s why he snuck out of bed and played Club Penguin till 3:00am. Isn’t that right sweetie?” Then that’s all I’ll hear about for the rest of the day and if I’m really lucky..straight into the next. I don’t tell Ruth fibs..per say. I just make the truth much more palatable for all involved while staying loosely on topic.

Most of Ruth’s chums up on the Alzheimer’s floor have “memory issues” (others fake it.. lured by the promise of the ALL NIGHT parties) and I find myself often in the position of explaining these “brain disabilities” to Ruth because some of the behaviors are..shall we say..different.  It’s a known fact that Irma is a “low talker”. Well.. it actually get worse than that. Irma speaks in MARTIAN tongues a-n-d she’s a low talker. Imagine being my Ruth and having to sit with Irma over breakfast and while you’re still confused from waking up.. trying to figure out how you got to France in the first place..some lady leans over and whispers urgently (in FRENCH?) “Shwer ne rthsjy ehj quiejf!!!!!!”

RUTH: I’m so sorry..but I don’t understand anything you just said. I don’t live here.. I’m just visiting.

IRMA (More dramatically with arms flailing): abnsju herkt, dhjiitfm lkoe feerey tekyre woque!!!!!

RUTH: Ummmm.. “Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir? Giuchie, Giuchie, ya ya dada?”

Impressive Ruth. Just a few plays of Lady Marmalade during Happy Hands class and JUST look what you learned from Christina Aguilera.

The trick is to not give too MUCH information (which will create more problems than it’s worth) during your explanation of “troubling situation” but enough to satisfy the inquiring mind.. for about five minutes. There exists a sweet spot in all this semi fabrication.. you just need to practice to find the right balance. I sometimes don’t take my own advice and end up getting slyly pulllllled into a conversation only to see a little too late where we’re heading..slam on the brakes and honk the horn as diversionary tactic.

Yesterday, Ruth and I were in the middle of a lovely little chat about elementary school (her grandchild..SmartAlec4 just finished third grade). Out of some stray neuron firing in her brain synapses she remembers HER third grade teacher Mrs. Dinkoman. Ahhh yes! Such a gal— ole Mrs. Dinkoman. She had amazing hair. Kind and patient. Wonderful woman. Lives next door. Wants to go visit..



I didn’t get THIS good overnight.


Posted in Uncategorized 12 years, 7 months ago at 8:18 pm.

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