My Dementia Diary 69 – 6501

There are about 6500 spoken languages on Planet Earth.

Based on what I heard come out of my wife’s mouth this morning, I believe there are now 6501.

“Tu mencha ki mo laga pimo meo woo?”

Some might dismiss such an utterance as mindless babble, but as she seemed to be waiting expectantly for an answer, I pondered what I’d just heard.

One possibility is that dementia had restructured her brain’s neural pathways so that she is now communicating telepathically with a life form in a far away galaxy. Following this language logic, I responded-

“Fongu ma blata wo bela vandu urgono!”

I held my breath, hoping my Earthling accent had not spoiled the alien dialect.

She hugged me and turned back to her coloring book.

I smiled. My “of course I love you, dear,” response had gotten through.

Yes, it has been suggested that these strange sounds may not be attempts to communicate with extraterrestrial beings.

dementia may be scrambling my own neural pathways. My retort is-

“Bong atu singu!”

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 67 – Feeling Normal

We have two dear friends, neighbors down the street, who are quite resourceful at finding fun things to do on the cheap. This past week, they asked if we’d like to go to a free noontime concert.

“You bet!”

Friday noon found us in the center of a sunny downtown rooftop garden. comfortably shaded by trees, we sat on the lawn directly in front of the stage. While his wife took mine over to greet a mama duck and her ducklings in a nearby pond, my friend described the setting. 

It was magical, a garden paradise filled with trees and flowers surrounded by towering office buildings and All around us, the buzz of voices as the lawn filled up with other concertgoers.

The wives returned, the tuna sandwiches were passed out, and we munched happily to the delightful sounds of latin jazz. 

For a moment, there was no blindness, no dementia, just us in the midst of happy people enjoying summer music on a glorious day.

Sometimes, it’s just nice to feel normal.

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 64 – Holding Hands

we have reached a place
where holding hands
is a pleasure
beyond orgasm

we have become
an incalculable oneness

after miles
years
of laughing, loving, sharing
a life together
I reach
expect
her soft, strong, tender fingers
to entwine with mine

my heart banishes all thoughts
that one day her hand
will not be there

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 59 – Growing Down

 

“Oh, what a cute baby!”

If you, like me, have been blessed with baby experiences, you’ve often heard this phrase, or even uttered it yourself.

“Oh, what a cute corpse!”

Bet you haven’t heard that one though.

With too much time to think lately, it occurs to me that life’s two extremes, birth and death, get vastly different types of coverage.

Growing up is much more popular than growing down.

Consider the many different options for how to have a baby, from home births to dropping the newborn into a pool of water, then the  countless ways to approach and deal with the phases of child development. Of course, the celebrations of “firsts,” the first word, “dada,” (or was that “dodo?”), the first step, then walking, running, and on to the first day of school and driving a car.

Why do you think there isn’t the same attention and celebration paid to the steps in the death of a demented person?

“Oh, wow, can you believe it, mom just started babbling.”

“Oops, he doesn’t remember our names anymore, let’s have a beer.”

“Ewww, Mom didn’t find the toilet this morning.”

No, folks don’t pay nearly as much attention to growing down as they do to growing up.

Seems staring mortality in the face is scary.

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 58 – Good People

We walk every morning. These excursions are usually noneventful, visiting the fishing pier to hear squawking gulls and honking geese, wandering around the marina with its hundreds of lonely yachts, or meandering through residential neighborhoods smelling a barrage of flowers. Our route depends on my energy level, which, because I’m not a morning person and don’t drink coffee, is never high. Needless to say, we don’t walk fast.

Imagine a slug crossing a road.

Given our relatively sedate walking pace, I was taken by surprise when my wife tripped and fell yesterday. Fortunately, I was holding her hand and this grip allowed me to ease her crash onto the sidewalk. Still, she was stunned and started crying as her knee began aching.

As I knelt to comfort my fallen companion, I heard voices.

“Are you okay?”

“Do you need help?”

It seems that two women, driving by separately in their cars, had seen our accident, stopped their vehicles, and hurried over to help.

Fortunately, when the initial shock wore off, my wife was able to stand, gingerly test her knee, and take a few steps.

“Would you like a ride?” offered one woman.

Feeling we would be okay, I thanked the good samaritans for their kindness and they returned to their lives as we slowly continued our walk

I can’t see them, but I take comfort in knowing we are surrounded by good people.

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 53 – The Walk to Paradise Garden

In 1946, W. Eugene Smith, a photo journalist who had been severely wounded in the latter days of World War II, was recovering at home, depressed and wondering if he’d ever pick up a camera again. On a quiet Spring day, he noticed his two young children, Pat and Juanita, walking outside in the garden. He followed them and the photo he took has comforted and inspired millions, including me.

I can no longer see this picture, but it is vividly etched in my memory, an image I often recall as my wife and I walk, hand in hand, discovering the delights of our small town world.

The Walk to Paradise Garden.jpg

“The Walk to Paradise Garden,” copyright W. Eugene Smith, Time/Life, Getty Images

tio stib

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My Dementia Diary 52 – Drowning in Sadness

Because my wife’s dementia is deteriorating slowly, there are times when I forget it is happening at all. then, she says something-

“Do you have a wife?”

We were making breakfast when this question came up. My heart froze.

“Do you have a wife” she asked again.

I hugged her close and whispered, “you are my wife. You will always be my wife.”

“Of course,” she answered, kissing my cheek.

I am drowning in sadness.

tio stib

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