The thing about dementia is that it is often very gradual. A person can swing gently back and forth within a certain range, take a dip below, and bubble up above, all in the same time period. I exist in a zombie period of time after four consecutive nights with my nocturnal son. I sit on the edge of the swimming pool with my feet in the water fully dressed but unwashed. Green top, green trousers, green cardi, crumpled and un-ironed with green shoes waiting as it’s the closest I can get to co-ordinated. The washing line flaps in the hot breeze loaded up to full capacity. Ostensibly I am supervising swimming. In theory I would save myself time in the washing and dressing department if I did have a swim, fully clothed but I’m on a strict time limit before Respite workers arrive. It is very important to appear to be co-ordinated before such people, public people, people who measure ‘togetherness’ by a dress code. Nonna appears after her thirty minute warning. Thirty minutes allows the children to work off the edge of their exuberance so that they’re less likely to mow her down.
“You not swim today?”
“No, not today.”
“No? Ow come?” She peers at me, critical. “You know, you look dreadful,” she says with a certain eerie sincerity.
“Maybe you need a break?”
“I’m off to the dentist in half an hour.”
“Ah dats good. Is dat good?”
I give her a quick flash of my retainer, the never ending saga of teeth.
“Change is as good as a rest, hopefully just a clean.”
“You’ll be lying down den.”
“Did you know?”
“I ad a visitor last night.”
“Yes, crawled into my bed at 5:03…..so I suppose it must ave bin morning den.”
“Yes, all like a …..like a……wot it called again….an edgehog! All pointy elbows and knees.”
“You must ave been asleep I tink?”
“Must have been I suppose.”
I shoed im away…….but ee came back again at 5:36.”
“Yes…..al curled up like a little prawn. All wiggly…..like a cat trying to get comfortable.”
“I’m sorry about that.”
“Dat’s o.k. I just wanted you to know dat I know even doh you don’t tink dat I know.”
“Dat’s o.k……….it’s not often I can truthfully claim to ave ad a gentleman visitor in dah dead of dah night.”
* do not make assumptions based upon appearance.
4 hours ago