Sunday, January 31, 2010

Round and Round We Go...The Circus (for real!)

I went to visit with mother this afternoon. Her dementia causes her to get into conversational "loops" least that's what I call them. There are generally three or four themes that she talks about over and over and over and over and (you get it) for an entire visit. To keep from screaming when she's on a theme for, say, the seventh time in half an hour, I've developed a little technique which, as it turns out, generally spins that theme out of the loop.

Let me say, here, that Hank doesn't always like my techniques BUT I don't always like how he deals with his mother so there you go...I happen to think that mother would approve. The more she "loops" the more agitated she gets. It can't feel good.

For example this afternoon the first theme was "do I have enough money to take a little trip...I'd like to see the beach one more time before I leave this earth." My answer for the first several rounds was "yes, you have enough money to take as many trips as you'd like...When the weather warms up we'll see about going to the beach." When I felt as though I might scream, my reply changed to "yes, you have enough money, although you're REALLY going to need to give me a time line for when you're going to leave this earth so that I can make plans." First Theme--CHECK

Second theme...mother announced that she's developed a bad habit of saying, "doggone it" when she can't find something or drops something etc. She doesn't believe this to be at all ladylike and needs to use another expression. (Apparently "golly doodlebugs" isn't working for her any longer.) My reply for awhile was, "oh my goodness." After several rounds of theme two, I suggested that she might substitute, "dammit" for "doggone it." She informed me in no uncertain terms that she'd never said that word IN HER ENTIRE LIFE and is not going to start now. And theme number two spins out of the loop. YES!

Third theme...I noticed when I arrived that she had a new little doodad in with her framed photographs. It was three or four inches tall and had "I Am Someone Special" written on top with a little verse below. After about five minutes she picked it up and said, "Did you see this? The lady who sat with me when I was sick brought it to me. I always show it to people when they come in because I don't want them thinking that I think that I'm special. I most certainly do NOT think that I am special and would never have purchased this for myself. It was a gift from someone ELSE who thinks that I'm special." My reply..."well wasn't that sweet of her."

Theme three X 5... My reply..."If it bothers you, why don't you put it in your bedroom where guests can't see it?" She didn't say another word about it, but put it right back in its place of honor where it will be noticed. AWAY with theme three!

I'm tired now! I drank a large Pepsi and ate a cheeseburger and french fries from a truck stop McDonalds on the way home. I don't even LIKE McDonalds. Do NOT judge me!

On a brighter note, Ned and his housemates are going to the CIRCUS in Columbia this week. He loves the circus and used to go every year until mother got where she didn't want to leave home. Think good thoughts for him, though, because he has a nasty cold!

Have a fabulous week!


  1. Mothers or such are duanting-keeping youself sane is the key.

  2. This is another gem. I don't mean to laugh at someone's expense...I am laughing at the way you handle things. Always creative!! And you deserve a truck stop break!


  3. Some days are truckstop McDonald days!! The loops can be beyond frustrating. I have dealt with that with my grandmother. I love the Circus! I hope they have a good time and that he gets over that cold. I think I am fighting something off right now.

  4. Well, my friend, if all you picked up at the truckstop was a hamburger and french fries, you did okay! ;D

    It's so stressful dealing with these types of things!One MUST have some sort of stress relief!


  5. I think you are a genius. And so hoping that Ned feels better and has a fabulous time. xoox

  6. I'm laughing so hard, I love your creative way of getting your mom away from her themes. Seriously, it can't be good for her to get agitated, so I think that you are handling this well. I hope that Ned has a good time at the circus and that he gets to feeling better soon. Kathy

  7. I'm so sorry for your mom's loops but I'll tell ya, I think you've figured it out. Your new responses are working like a charm! I'll have to remember this because I have an 85 year old FIL that can drive a person insane. He'll get on a topic and then beat it to death. Plus, he'll hold onto your hand so you can't get away! Needless to say, thanks for the tip!

  8. Thank you for this post. We are dealing with the same situation with my husbands father and I tend to just play along. I'm sure this is going to get old before long. BTW....I HATE HATE HATE McDonalds. I haven't eaten there in at least 10 to 15 years, not even a pop. My kiddos have no desire to either. However, I haven't found a burger joint that I do like.

  9. You are lovely and have so much grace! And so cute to share these stories. I know that writing about them helps your sanity. I am waiting for these days when my parents get older (they are 65 and almost 70).

  10. I'm sorry but I'm giggling over this one ~ only you can find humor in what the rest of us would be pulling our hair out over.

    Have a great week~

  11. What a sweet, gentle way to veer the conversation off/onto a subject! It's really hard when a loved one is still with you, but wanders away, but your handling of it seems exactly right.

    And some cold days, with a hard task completed successfully, and the world IS too much with us, the magical elixir of a warm Double-Cheese will soothe the cares away.

    You have my deep admiration,


  12. I am giggling also. I sometimes "manage" my Mom's pity parties with somewhat the same technique. Ha.
    I wonder if we'll realize it when our own kids work us in the same manner. haha

    And I would've gone for a Mcflurry. :)

  13. I think you handle that beautifully. If it works, well, it works!!!!

    And a cheeseburger from McD's sounds AWESOME. But I would drink a real Dr Pepper instead of a Pepsi.

  14. You are a genius...I wish I would have thought of comebacks like that when my mom had her outbreaks...doggoneit!

    Thinking positive thoughts for Ned to get better!


  15. Oh my! I am so sorry to hear about your mother and her loops in conversation. I am sure that it can't be easy for her or the one she is looping with. But, it looks like you may have figured out how to keep it going into infinity. I laughed several times as I read your post today. Not at your mom, but at you and how your sarcastic humor worked like a charm. :)

  16. I have been in that drive thru window myself- at times in my life.

    You will find no judge here.


  17. What a visit! And you just went to McDonalds for a burger and fries? You're very strong, I think I would have needed something a little stronger (when I got home, that is)!

  18. My aunt has dementia and she stayed with my mom for about 6 months last year and it liked to have driven my mother crazy. It is always so much harder on the caregiver than the person that that is sick. :(

  19. As usual...i like your style!

    I do hope Ned is on the mend.

  20. Maybe this is why God gives us two year old that say "NO" and "Why??" endlessly. It is to limber up our minds for the next chapter: Elderly loops.

    You rock girl. Keep up the good work.


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