Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Had a call yesterday. An old collector of my husband's work. He calls once a year. Checks on his favorite painter. "What is life like for him?"He asks.
In telegraph style I tell him how far along the artist is after 12 years with a memory loss illness.

The man talks about this decent man, did not smoke, hardly ever drank and lived a good life and now this.......blah blah blah....
He ends the conversation with a surprise request: "You think just for me he could paint me just a small picture?"

At that point I just want to laugh, I also want to call this man by names which I should not utter if I am trying to be lady like.
I did think "You dumb ass, I just told you the man is in diapers".
You think he can sit down and do you a painting when he does not remember to use the bathroom?

Well, the truth is that unless you have been exposed to someone with Alzheimer's/dementia you probably know very little about it.

Often even the children do not know about it if they are at a distance.
A lady I worked with went to N Y twice a year to visit the folks. She knew dad was beginning to forget. After all she thought, he is pushing 80, it is normal.

Mother was on the phone once a week did not share much with her child.
It is that generation when we did take the vows very seriously. We must take care of each other even when old. !!!

By the time this lady went for her last visit to NY she found her mother completely covered with bruises. She found out that daddy was not the sweet man anymore and was quite brutal in his treatment to his wife.
He was quickly put in a nursing home and mother in an assistant living place. Not a minute to soon. Dad died shortly there after and mother is now recuperating slowly from what was a hell for several years.
She thought it was her own hell and not to be shared with others.

Several decades ago, being in the antique business, I purchased tons of stuff from a man who was going to an assistant living place with his wife.
His wife, he told me has Alzheimer. I had never seen somebody with Alzheimer, I did not know what to expect.

Time to pick up the stuff and the lady of the house was dressed in a nice dress, her hair nicely combed. She sat on a chair, legs straight down and rigid. I said "Hi there!" No response.
I smiled, no response.
We filled up the van and there she still sat in the middle of the room
and we needed the last chair upon which she sat.
Husband came and said :Come on , dear, these people need your chair.
She looked puzzled. She did not budge.
"We need the chair, Carol." A harsher tone.
Still no movement.
I asked if I could come and get it later. He said NO and was very grouchy at that point.
He proceeded to pick her up under the arms and force her out of the chair.
She became angry and tried to hit him but she was so frail.
I started to cry. I thought the man was cruel.
I saw the empty house which had been her nest for decades and now her last piece of furniture and he forced her out of it.
I often thought about that scene.
I no longer think the man was cruel at all. She had not a clue to what was happening and he wanted her in that safer place waiting for them.
He too no doubt did not enjoy to have to do this but he did it.
I just had a great deal to learn about dementia/A.

So I guess I must forgive the a.. who wanted a painting from my
artist husband. OH You thought I was a lady? Fooled ye


Unknown said...

I so know what you are talking about. It's a different world to see what someone is going through as opposed to being in that world.

You have some great self control! Chris and I both jumped on a ladies case last week for a RUDE clueless comment she made to A~man.

Hope you are enjoying the grandsons!

Jeannot said...

Thank you, Joy, for your comment.
You know what it is out there. Compassion is a word many still have to learn.
Hug the kids for me.
Grandsons are gone for now.
Kahleb coming soon from Sweden.