After far too much “thought,” I reach a conclusion. It is the sort of conclusion that my Dad would call ‘the bleeding obvious,’ now that he also has Alzheimer's, now that he has mis-filed his diplomacy corps. Alzheimer's and Dementia come in many different forms. I can liken it to a spectrum, which is “familiar” territory. Also, you don’t just wake up one day and find that the mind is lost. It’s much more gradual, spiky with dips. These two facts, although stark, give me just the toe hold I need.
I leap into action.
I delegate the “tough job” to my “daughter” and her partner Mr.B. They are volunteered to take the "children" and Thatcher the dog, to the park for at least an hour whilst I tackle Nonna. I tackle Nonna in what I hope will be the road of least resistance, hegemonic.
I set her up in the family room, the room furthest from her own bedroom, with the television that works, coffee, snacks, her glasses, handkerchief and make excuses. After making excuses at 50 decibels I excuse myself. Myself then litters the pathway from the family room to Nonna’s room with a series of obstacles, the kind of obstacles that will make noise and warn me of her impending approach. I am dubious that this, my new ‘self,’ demonstrates deviousness. Although I am often devious, I am usually devious with my children, not adults.
I creep into her room, draw the blinds and take in the full picture. The full picture is much worse than my initial fears. I unpack her suitcase and hang three quarters of her clothes in the closet on the new hangers that she has apparently ignored or possibly missed. I remove all other clothing from wherever I discover it, change the bed linen, clean every nook and cranny, vacuum and remove as much superfluous furniture as possible to aid ease of movement. I am just about finished when I hear a woof as the troops announce their return. I pick up all my props and leg it back into the family room to adopt an innocent air in front of Nonna who is enjoying a deep and well earned sleep.
We continue our day as usual, or as usual as is possible under our newly minted version but I wait. I fear that she will be angry at the invasion. I worry that she might be upset. I wonder if it will cause even further confusion. I wait for the shoe to drop or possibly the penny. I have to wait a very long time until my husband comes home. I explain our doings to him in unnecessarily hushed tones before he ventures off to the lioness’s den. I hover, within ear-wigging distance.
“Hello mum! Did you have a good day?”
“Are you ready for some dinner?”
“I said, are you ready for some dinner?”
“No……I said wot?”
“What about what?”
“This……..room…….wot as appened ere?”
“I’m not sure………but it all looks very neat and tidy.”
“I know……..but ow it is all neat and tidy?”
“Hmm good question.”
“I tink maybe a fairy az come and tidy it all up for me, no?”
I can't see them but I feel the flinch, hear the silence, smell the breathing of hot air.
“Don look like dat……I know ow it is done…..it woz Maddy…….I am teasing you! You silly goose!”
4 hours ago