I blow off a lot of steam in my blog. I’m really not as surly as one might think as you read through my inner most thoughts. I write about them because---well, because I’ve been writing about my inner most thoughts in diaries since the early ‘50s and I wrote with such bad spelling back then you’d need a decoder ring to figure out what I was saying. Most of us have busy minds that take us to places, at times, we wouldn’t announce out loud---unless we’re a blogger. Bloggers do tend to over-share which works out great because no one has read us the way one would be stuck listening to a rambling, old uncle at a Thanksgiving Day dinner.
I’ve had the above paragraph in my computer for over a week of wondering where it will lead me. With my stream of consciousness writing style, I don't usually set out to write about any particular topic. But with all the crappy things going on in our world I feel like I should take a bite out of the elephant in the room and write about something that matters. Where would I start? His leg? His trunk or maybe his belly? The problem is the damn elephant is too damned big and diseased and he's completely out of control, destroying the damn Republican Party tent. Why should I care about their tent when it was the RNC who let the damn crazies out of the asylum? The same crazies who are marching that damn animal around the drain of Democracy. Some writer I am. I just repeated a swear word five times in three sentences. Good writers---if they use swear words at all---use them judicially.
The point is I feel like a cork barely holding a fermented liquid in its bottle. Hey, maybe I could study the anatomy of elephants and aim that bottle so the cork could become a kill shot missile. Metaphorically speaking. I really love elephants I see baby elephants every day on my Facebook page. Facebook with its steady stream of baby elephants, puppies, kittens and panda bears is my happy place. Where else can you find memes like Keri Beevis, author of gruesome psychological thrillers, churns out saying things like: "I'll bet giraffes don't even know what farts smell like." Her mind truly is an paradoxical place to live.
I had my yearly dermatology appointment this week which was as welcome as getting an STD, not that I’ve ever had one but I’m binge watching Netflix’s Grey’s Anatomy and an episode I saw recently had the interns passing a case around to each other. My old dermatologist retired early because of covid and his son took over his practice and I was worried he’d look like Doctor McDreamy or Doctor McSteamy which would have made the process of being naked so much more embarrassing. But thank goodness he's skinny and looks twelve years old. At one point I wanted to smack him for patronizing me by calling many of my mole “wisdom moles”---never putting a real name to them. He seemed so pleased to find so many of them that I wanted to hand him an ink pen and tell him to play connect-the-dots. He did a biopsy of a spot on my ankle and I’m still waiting to hear back about it. Last winter I thought it was a tick and I pulled it off only to discover no critter resided inside that black, crusty thing. It grew back. I picked it off again and it wouldn’t heal up, got itchy and bloody, grew back yet again.
I wasn't the least bit worried about the spot until the doctor said he sees cancerous moles on ankles all the time. Then this week while I've been binging on Grey’s Anatomy Izzie Stevens got brain cancer from a mole on her back and was given a 3% chance of survival. What are the chances that out of eighteen seasons of that show I'd be watching the metastasized skin cancer episodes while waiting to hear back about my mole that looked like a tick?
Change of topic: We have a new resident who moved into the CCC a month ago and she became the topic of conversation at dinner one night…after she left. She’s got short term memory loss and the question came up about how/why she got into the independent living section on campus and didn’t go directly into the Memory Care. She constantly repeats the same questions. If you sit next to her at a meal she’ll ask you literally ten times in a row how long you’ve lived here, if you like it here, how long can we stay here and she’ll tell you how her family supposedly put her here without telling her a head of time they were doing it. She walks about with a schedule in her hand, afraid if she misses something she’ll get kicked out.
A lot of compassionate people were at the table who have all tried to help her. We talked about the criteria some of us knew about for how the CCC decides when you get moved to a higher level of care and most of us agreed she’s not there yet---she’s not a danger to herself or others.
When I got back to my apartment I googled the question of how to respond to people with dementia who keep repeating the same questions over and over again and I got some tips I can’t wait to share others. We’ve been doing it all wrong, we’ve been trying to reason with her, giving her sympathy for the way she thinks she got dumped here, urging her to talk to her family about it. Telling her it takes time before she'll feel at home. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
In a nutshell we’re supposed to be responding to the emotions, not the words. In her case we need to say variations of: "Your family made a good decision putting you in this beautiful and safe place where you can stay as long as you need." Keep our answers short then quickly use distraction to change the topic. "How do you like Mary's scarf? Isn't that a good color for her?" I don’t know if we can make a difference by changing the way we react to her but we all have a vested interesting in this issue because who knows which one of us will get to that stage sooner rather than later.
However, the way the world is headed maybe having a dementia brain is not really such a bad thing, especially in a place like this where so many residents are looking out for each other. ©