If It's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium


If It's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium

lines-333048_640Boomers might remember this reference to a movie about taking a European tour, and the title makes perfect sense when viewed in that light. But to a non-boomer, this title makes no sense at all, and that's what dementia feels like today.

My mom and dad lived in a conservative, unimaginative, oatmeal-colored world of their own creating. When Dad died and Mom started "embellishing" her conversations with little unfounded assumptions, I reprimanded her and said, "Mom, you don't know that is true. We don't know that really happened." I had no idea we were starting down the path to mental anarchy! Now, three years later, my mother can talk very intelligently about nothing coherent at all. In Florida, we had good weeks, bad weeks; good days, bad days. Now in Ohio we have good hours and bad hours, all within a single day. Yesterday she woke up in a complete rage because all night she had been busy "entertaining the troops", and "how could I let that happen?" It took me 45 minutes of talking to get her to come in off the ledge. Today Dr. Jekyll has gotten up with smiles, hugged me and patted my husband on the head.

How do we possibly outsmart this crazy disease? I put away two of her three purses, because invariably we would get to the store and her wallet was left in the purse at home, the one she had fussed with last. Less choice, less confusion, less failure. So then she accuses me of stealing her purse. Paranoia claims the day.

Well, not yet.

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My mother constantly fidgets with tissues, folding them, placing them inside each other, and placing them on the table in piles at right angles to each other. When I ask her questions like, \"Do you need to go to the bathroom?\", or \"Do you want some toast?\", she will answer \"no, but this is all wet!\" referring to her tissue in hand. She also tries to tell stories about \"the other women\" who were there and \"that's what they do!\", and I have no idea what or to whom she is referring. She does however, love to listen to anyone talk or tell stories. She loves funny anecdotes. We were at the Fox Theatre in Detroit the other night for a show, and we sat next to a very nice and understanding couple. Mom was very sociable with them, but was telling fictitious stories. The gentlemen was saying that he thought the famous Ilitch family was behind the refurbishing of the theatre, and mom was saying \"Oh, I know! I used to come down here with them, and it was like that, and they were really nice people.\" It was really nice and fun to see mom so animated and excited. She had a good time and really enjoyed the show! God Bless that sweet couple next to us for being so sweet and understanding with mom!


Thanks, Cathy, for your reply. Isn't it amazing how we have learned to do an end-run around situations that could possibly cause frustration? My mom offered to do the dishes the other day. She said, \"I can at least do that\". So I let her, walked by to check on the progress and she had the sink full of ice cold water, with the breakfast dishes swirling happily with the dirty cat food bowls, bits of kibble cavorting about, no soap in sight, and that was called \"the wash\". So now she can do the dishes only when I get the sink prepped and sanitary FIRST. Aren't we a smart bunch! \r\nBoy, good luck with that parkinglot permit! That thing needs a GPS chip. It's important!


Jan,\r\n\r\nI am late on catching up on the posts here. I can really relate to the creative stories and imaginary events that \r\nyour mother comes up with. My mom was creating imaginary scenarios this week. She still thinks she works at the Naval Supply Yard. I was told that I misplaced her approval and dismissal stamps for the soldiers .\r\n\r\nAngela


Hi--I hope you're in Paris today. :)\r\n\r\nI find it fascinating how the purse becomes such a focus. Does your mom also fuss with her lipstick?