Dementia - The Stories (A little humor to lighten the load).
We all know that dementia is a horrible disease that robs us of the relationship we once had with our loved ones. It changes them into strangers right before our eyes. However, there can sometimes be levity in the face of tragedy. Let's hear some of the funny stories that come along with dementia - not just what they said (I don't want to take away from the "funny things they said" thread), but the whole story - or stories.
I've started remembering stories about my grandmother (my dad's mother) - I loved her, but she was a harsh, hard woman to know, and I hope I *never* end up like she was in her later years.
G'ma had dementia from about age 65 - it started out slowly, but once it started going full force, we were all in for the ride of our lives.
G'ma lived in an old 3-story house with a sun porch. During one of our twice-yearly visits, we discovered that she had nailed all the windows shut with huge square-head nails through the frames and into the windowsills. How she did that without breaking the single-pane glass, I have no idea. Every single window was nailed shut, from the bottom floor up to the attic. Why? Because she said someone was breaking into the house. When we asked her how and why, this was the sequence of events she gave us:
-Someone is putting a ladder on the roof of the sunporch up to the attic window and getting in through the window. (Never mind that the attic window is a full 15 feet above the sunporch roof and the sunporch roof would collapse if anyone stood on it.)
-They are coming down the attic stairs and then down to the kitchen. (The attic door was deadbolted and nailed shut, and had a steamer trunk weighing about 80 lbs in front of it - and those stairs creak loud enough to wake the dead)
-They are getting food out of the freezer and cooking it, then washing and putting away the pan and dishes they used. (Aren't they considerate criminals? Freezer was also locked, and she wore the key on a chain around her neck, along with several other keys.)
All this was to justify the fact that she couldn't find her favorite pan!
PAINTING THE CAR:
G'ma decided she no longer liked the color of her little blue Maverick hatchback, so she decided she'd paint it - with a brush and roller and flat red barn paint. It was the talk of the town!
THE SECRET AGENT:
G'ma wanted to come for a visit, so she told Mom and Dad she was leaving her house that morning to come see us, and would be there later that night (it was a 10 hour drive). Dad was a bit worried, because of G'ma's mental state, but he couldn't stop her. 4 days later, she still hadn't shown up. We had every state, city and county cop from here to her house looking for her. Eventually, she showed up about 150 miles from our house and the cops delivered her to us. She told us she'd been on a secret mission from President Bush, that she was a secret agent and was watching for drug dealers. She skulked around our house for a week, wearing a blue felt fedora with a scarf tied over the top and down under her chin, with the brim pulled down over her eyes and dark sunglasses on. She hid behind bushes in our yard, watching the neighbors (which prompted more than a few phone calls from said neighbors when they saw her blue fedora popping up from the bushes), called the cops several times to report alleged drug activity, identifying herself as Agent X from the FBI (or the CIA, depending on the day). She wouldn't eat anything we'd cooked for her, saying it was poisoned. She sipped her Coke, smoked her cigarettes and drank her coffee - but only HER coffee, which had been in a thermos since the beginning of the trip.
And then there's my ex-husband's father. While we were married, we moved his parents in with us due to his father's advanced terminal cancer. He was a tough, hardened man, a lifelong alcoholic, smoker and abusive spouse/father. He broke his wife's fingers once during a fit of rage because she wouldn't let him have any money to buy liquor.
When he was dying from cancer, his mind started to go. I was usually the target of his wandering mind.
-I was a witch, who had put a spell on his wife so she wouldn't listen to him. He told me I had to take the spell off - so, to humor him, I walked out and told Momma, "Hey, Momma! BOOGIEDIEBOOGIDEBOO!" She laughed and asked if I'd gone crazy - I told her no, I was just taking the spell off! I went back and told Daddy I'd done it, and he was fine after that.
-I'd married his son for money. I told him I married him because I loved him - he glared at me and said, "You love GREENBACKS!" while rubbing his fingers together in my face. I told him that was like saying I'd married him for his big you-know-what. LOL
-There were people trying to break into the house and he wanted his gun - and a beer. (What?!?) (Then there's the time he threatened to shoot me because his wife walked my daughter to school while I was sick with strep throat.)
Love to read more stories!