Just back from another super-quick weekend at my dad's, and there is not one bit of funny left in me. Dementia is simply a monster, folks - especially when the person suffering from it is semi-aware that he's losing his marbles. "I can't...think," my dad says, frustrated, clutching his head.
And, yes, the voodoo priestess is still there. To be fair, I've observed that she really does understand how to handle a person with dementia - she keeps my dad on a schedule for sleeping and eating; she allows him to do some things for himself - tying his own shoes, combing his own hair - even if it takes longer; she makes sure that he is clean and well-fed. But, still, the kindness in her is of a very rough sort; and - control freak that she is - when things don't go totally her way, she gets noticeably angry and impatient. It's a mixed bag: just when I am thinking that no, this caregiver needs to be dismissed RIGHT NOW, she does something caring and compassionate that I know few caregivers would have had the insight to do.
Meanwhile, my father is still (erroneously) convinced my brother is stealing all his money and is planning to put him out of the house. It wrenches my heart to see him trying to make sense of things with whatever scattered pieces of his brain he has left. No matter how senile a person gets, apparently, he never stops trying to derive meaning from what is happening around him. And, really, what can be more human than that search for meaning?
Remember, remember, remember...I needed him to remember, I wanted him to know that he once had a life -- and a good one, at that. I wanted to make him smile, remembering. But the most I got was a confused nod/shake of the head and an uncomfortable laugh.
I don't think he remembers.
[Memory image: BetterThan50]