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Therapy Couch

Granny Ruth on the couchDear Diary,

There is something definitely UP this week.. over at Happy Daze Assisted Living. Every time I go in to see my MIL Ruth on the dementia floor (or floor ROAM as I so affectionately call it) I find myself suddenly thrust into the position of therapist to whomever has an issue or a gripe to get off their chest or needs counseling. I’m not sure why all of a sudden I look like a person who has any great wisdom or knowledge to share. Could it be the sunglasses? Hmmmm. Maybe THAT’S what makes me look as if I have a clue to the mysteries of life. Today the first person to jump in line and pull me aside.. posed an agonizing question to me that really rocked my world because lets face it.. what do I know about dinner seating arrangement thievery.. SELMA?

You should have seen poor Selmas face. Positively desperate. I couldn’t just turn her away and tell her that I’m not qualified to dish out advice. She was depending on me to guide her in a healthy direction. To fix a problem that she saw no answer to. So what did I do? I took Selma into my office (the bench in the hallway across from the fish tank) and sat down. In something WET.

“EWWWWWWW Ga. NOT a-g-a-i-n. Who PEE’D on the cushion?”

I don’t get why I can’t come into my office.. for ONE stinkin’ time and have a DRY place to sit? It’s like they wait for me to walk through the faux bookcase, key padded door and someone yells, “Quick. Here she comes.. Ruth’s DIL. Who has to go really badly?”

SELMA: Can you just deal with it? We’ve got bigger problems than your wet KAZOO. Now you see..we have these.. places. I always sit by Greta, Myrtle, Shirley and Glen. Everybody knows this and…

ME: (fakey soothing tone) Yes..I understand JUST. HOW. YOU. FEEL. (moving head up and down). I was at Starbucks once and I have this drink— that is MY special drink and then I heard someone ELSE order it..OMG I couldn’t believe..

SELMA (interrupting): Excuse me. But, I don’t SEE how THAT has anything to do with MY situation.

I glanced up in the middle of all my affirmative nodding to notice a line starting to form starting about a foot away and curving around the corner into the dining room area. If I didn’t think of a way to speed this session up..I might NEVER get to Ruth’s facial hairs, which by the way.. I had been promising to pluck for the last TWO weeks. I wouldn’t want HER to develop some weird complex because she had a thatch of two-inch hairs sprouting out of her chin that could probably be BRAIDED.

Next up in line I Blanche. Fab. I’m guessing I could do her in three..maybe four minutes tops. It’s either going to be missing car key problems or inability to remember the code on the keypad lock. Next in line pushing..Jon (in his wheelchair) out of HER way and into Herman’s ROOM is FAYE. This may take a little longer..I’ll be dealing with hostility and defiance issues. “Nobody around here plays POKER by the rules. They all cheat..and I want YOU to pay me my winnings. Plus..interest.” Yup. That’s always fun. Woo Hoo. I LOVE it when she punches me. Yeah. Just the normal who’s who down the line..but wait. I see a face that I don’t recognize.

“Selma. I hope I’ve helped you work through your little issue but I would like a follow up appointment..maybe a week from today? Go ahead and check in with my secretary Ruth..she’ll book you for my next available.”

SELMA: I hope I don’t have to PAY you for that?

ME:(clearing throat) No..don’t be silly. That box of SEES Chocolates in your room will be payment enough. You don’t eat nuts and chews anyway.

Selma gets up and I walked over to the lady who looked very upset to the point of tears. This didn’t look good.

“Are you OK?” I ask. Checking out the guy she’s holding hands with. I K-N-O-W this dude..he’s Ruth’s boyfriend. Nothing really serious yet.. because they’re mostly stuck in the early courtship stage. Remember those first few dates with that someone special? You ask their name, you hold hands, you gaze into each others eyes and memorize every detail of their face. Then you ask their name and question where you know them from because they look.. familiar. By brilliant deduction I realize that I am now staring into the eyes of the distraught WIFE of boytoy boyfriend. Accckkkkkkk.

I pull the two aside into the quiet of the living room area..blowing off Faye’s protests of “It’s no fair. They have to wait their turn in line like EVERYONE else.” and JoJo’s obvious positioning of herself near the three of us.. so she could eavesdrop on the whole conversation and use it later to shake up the monotonous dinner conversation.

The wife asks me my name and thinking nothing of it I tell her. What’s it to me? It’s not like I did anything wrong. Ummmm. Not a warm hello did I get.

“YOUR MIL is a terrible woman. She’s stealing my husband Gart away. How could you let her do this?”

Let’s take a look at this question..break it down into a few parts..before I go any further in my counseling services.

1. Myth: MIL is a terrible woman. FACT: MIL was here FIRST and YOUR Gart smiled at HER. If that isn’t instigating I don’t know WHAT is.

2. Myth: Husband stealer. FACT: Pfeh. Ruth couldn’t pick Gart out in a line up. In fact..she has to ask ME which one he is. I’ve NEVER seen her steal anything.. except maybe a few packs of tea from the “Free cookies and fruit” room downstairs. His heart belongs to YOU darling..his wife. Ruth’s just a really cool girl, who wears amazing clothes and happens to hang on every word your hubby says because she can’t hear well and also because HE takes the time to TALK to her. When you’re on a dementia floor..nobody takes the time to give anyone one on to one time.

3. Myth: I have say in what she does regarding her PERSONAL life. FACT: Not only has she not asked permission from ME to date YOUR husband..she has told me VERY little about him. All I know is that he likes chocolate pudding, he dresses well and he always waits for her in the hall when she’s out getting her hair done. For hours. Sitting. Patiently. Phew. Too much information Ruth.

I wiped tears, I hugged, I acknowledged..what more could I do? In the end I had to re-brake the news to the poor wife that her husband had DEMENTIA. Although she was having a hard time processing this..the writing was on the walls. Really.. do you know very many people who eat soup with a knife? I didn’t think so. Just as I started to calm her down we had a setback..

“Excuse me? What are we supposed to be doing right now? OHHHHHH. Look. It’s MY friend?”

Ruth has spotted my little therapy group and has come over to help us over the ROUGH patches and Garts wife is shrieking “SEE..see what I mean? She won’t leave him A-L-O-N-E.” Oh great. Where was I? “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do..” I look up and Garts wife is leaning in..listening very carefully to my next words of profound widom. “I’m going to..


“..take a couple of these (pulling out my Motrin caplets) and I’ll call you in the morning.” This session is O-V-E-R.



Copyright © 2009 My Sandwich Generation. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized 13 years ago at 12:17 am.


2 Replies

  1. And a happy good morning to you . . .

    Read your latest. As usual, couldn’t resist a grin. Took another look at your glasses. Yes, maybe they are responsible for your therapy leader title.

    I too have noticed. Most of us eventually lose hair on top but make up for it by growing hair in all the wrong places. You friend could braid her chin hairs. I have taken to shaving my ears. Such a deal.

    Someone told me to keep my brain active. (She presumes I have one). So I read a lot. About a book every three or four days. Set a damn record at Barnes & Nobles. Wife finally put her foot down. Must slow the spending on Starbucks and books.

    Eureka. Discovered that I no longer remember much of what I read a week or two ago. I sit in my den and look at walls floor to ceiling with books. Thousands of them. I can now begin to re-read them all and save a bundle. Who will ever know.

    Keep you blog going. It’s the best.


  2. Adrienne Aug 18th 2009

    Hi Dixon,

    Once again I am SOOOOOO tardy at my reply. Barnes and Noble is DEPENDING on you to keep them afloat in these tough times. Tell your wife, it’s your duty. Books must NOT become extinct..or people may be forced to read only..BLOGS. Hmmmmmm. Now THERE’S an idea. I thank YOU very much for reading and the continued support of Starbucks..whom we ALL know I adore.

    YOU’RE the BEST.