Dementia - The Stories (A little humor to lighten the load).

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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.

THE BREAK-INS:
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.

He thought:
-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!

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Oh my GOSH....ypiffani...I'm laughing so hard right now! PewPewPew!! ROFL Dinner can wait, gotta kill those bastards.

Pam - you reminded me of my dad in his final days. He was on dialysis on a *really* heavy cycle towards the end - 5 hours a day, 4-5 days a week. His levels would start creeping up, and when that happened, you'd never know what he was going to say. One day, there were birds flying around up by the ceiling...the next, there were little Santa Clauses running around on the floor - and don't step on them!...then he was quite sure he had walked into the nursing home under his own power when he came back from dialysis that day - but hadn't stood up or walked for weeks at this point (which of course made me wonder, and I had to ask the nurse to be sure he didn't *try* to do that!). Then the phone calls started. He was in a specialty care hospital for a while, where they did dialysis right in his room at the bedside, and he had a wonderful, and very well-meaning dialysis nurse, who kept giving him her cell phone so he could call home..which he did, about 5 times in the space of 30 minutes, each time with a different story. First he had called the hospital cafeteria and ordered breakfast to be sent to his room. Then he called them back and asked to have it delivered to his sister's house. Then he called us, crying, because he thought he had caused a problem by doing that (as if they had really delivered the food to a house 60 miles away). Then he called us again and asked me to bring him his clothes and pick him up, that he was at City Hall. (I had to chuckle at the image of Dad sitting naked at City Hall - that's one way to tell the city what he thinks of them!)

The dementia can do a lot of very bad things to our loved ones, but sometimes, you just have to laugh at their actions - it's the only way to get through it!
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My Grandfather insisted there were Puerto Ricans in the living room. Insisted that Grandma let them in, they were spreading straw all over the floor and when they changed their babies it really stunk. Then he gave each one an apple. Sometimes he saw movies on the garage.
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this just IN!!! There is a gun battle raging in the house, He is walking around at this moment with no pants on he'll walk a few steps stop point his finger and go "pew pew" and then pick up his cane and keep going, its been going on for an hour now. I asked him if he wanted dinner and he said "gotta kill these Bastards" ... well alrighty then.
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I heard a huge THUD from my room and walked into the Kitchen, Dementia Dad is sitting on the floor buck naked (again). I asked "whats up?" Straight as an arrow he said "those GD thieves stole my clothes and my shoes and tried taking off with my diaper". I said why didn't they get your "diaper"? "I tricked them and didn't wear one"
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Thanks, Captain -

Hugs to you - I hope things get a little better for you.

I was just sitting here thinking about my grandmother and her life. She and my grandfather kind of hated each other. I'm serious - they *really* didn't like each other, but somehow managed to produce 2 biological children and adopt a couple more (cousins) when their mother was killed by her boyfriend. G'pa's story of the marriage was that he got drunk one night and woke up with G'ma beside him holding a marriage certificate. G'ma said her mother told her she either married G'pa or she went to a convent and became a nun. No wonder she was so bitter and harsh...you have to wonder if the dementia is worse for people with trauma in their lives. We have exactly ONE picture of them standing next to each other with their arms barely touching - that's the closest thing I ever saw to affection between them.

G'ma kept cockatiels (birds) in a huge cage in the corner of the kitchen. Those things drove us nuts. They're rather noisy birds, and just squawked most of the time. G'ma was also deaf as a post and even with her hearing aid turned all the way up, she couldn't hear you talking to her from across the kitchen table. But she would swear up and down those birds could talk, and that she could hear them! She'd say, "Listen! He's saying Pretty Bird!" "Listen! He said S.O.B.!" LOL

We often devised fiendish plans to do away with those birds...usually involving electrodes attached to the cage.
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you have some good ones there susan. my 90 yr old aunt has been having a good time riding around with me for 9 months since my mom passed but she lies like a dog. shes getting rather late stage. this evening i left her appt for a smoke and she started telling her daughter i was trying to poison her and she wasnt going to take the meds i was preparing with my dirty hands no - how.
meh , eat em , dont eat em, whatever. i put in a hard day in the stone dust and i dont care. ill do my best, she probably hasnt long anyway. one infection after another and swallowing difficulties. im on a promising hepc treatment and she aint gonna derail it ( again ) .
dont let them kill you iz what im sayin..
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