I don’t understand – can only feel what is happening. On Friday my love’s youngest son came to see his dad for the first time in 15 months. This was just a visit, finally allowed.
It went very well, in a quiet room. As Don relaxed and we all chatted, I could see him homing in on his son’s voice. His son was calm and unperturbed which helped. We just sat and chatted. Don seemed satisfied and content. It was actually a great visit, for someone so very disabled, i thought.
Gave me a happy glow all weekend, just because it worked.
Had no expectations of anything as good today, when i bopped in to give him supper. I had a new baby doll for him too.
We were given a distant room, away from the noise of dinner, with a lovely view, which felt great to me.
It took about 15 minutes to get him to open his eyes and relax, and then 15 minutes of an outpouring of his words, none of which i got. Asking him.to repeat is pointless because he has zero short term memory, except if he is triggered by a feeling like a threat (for example, pulling his wheelchair backwards, or loud laughter.)
As an aside, i do not know how much his care people realise how extremely sensitive and fearful he is.
So anyway, supper came and was greeted with his usual eagerness. It was quiet like the last visit again in this new room and we were relaxing. I was for once not in a hurry, had no secret To-Do list for the evening.
I slowly interspersed small spoonfuls of food with love talk and praise (got a tad carried away talking about what a good man he was for me and had to stop and wipe my eyes! hurts when i think that way).
Anyway as the meal wound on, small spoonful by small spoonful, his words more frequently fell into place.
I was gobsmacked when he asked “when he is coming?”
He clearly commented, “Good supper” and for pureed food it was indeed very tasty. i stuck a spare spoon into each item before i gave it to him, and then used my sanitized little finger to sneak that taste under my mask. Probably not quite allowable behaviour but i did not want to taste stuff his spoon had been in. Infection runs both ways.
It was a sweet time as he sang as he ate, and then later, we hummed and sang. I know we were communicating in our own way and truely just contentedly being with each other.
It was one of those deep connections words cannot capture and i do not want to destroy with words.
Then, because the care aides said his dresser drawers were stuffed with useless clothes since he now needs clothes slit down the back for easier dressing, we wheeled to his room and i loaded up a bag of clothes to take home.
I asked him to hold it for me, (helping still usually gets a positive response) and then we went back down to the common area, him with the bag of clothes and Baby doll, whose name might be Shirley.
I swear i heard him say, as we wheeled, “I’m going home.” The significance of what seemed a random remark, has only struck me — packing and carrying clothes piled on him as we did in airports –oh my!
He insisted as we parted, commenting “Heavy” as i took the bag of clothes, that i took Shirley’s little blanket but he kept the baby doll. We will see how that goes.
Dementia comes and goes in waves – and the situation, noise, over stimulation, and time to focus all play a huge role. Apparently, a love connection helps if one gives it time.
There is so much more cognition buried under those layers of seemingly insensible dementia than i have realised.
For me, i can hardly wait to dip again into that blissful passing peace. I will be joyful in the while.