This evening’s dinner conversation was a bit interesting. For background, I’ve been talking to my mother about the incident of the NFL player who whipped his son, and is now suspended. It is my premise that what has been done to him is racist. That is NOT this tale of football, junk food, and the near impossibility of keeping Princess Sadie out of the dinner plate when my father left the table. FYI we were having marinara, ziti, and mozzarella. Because I’m tired and don’t want to cook, I used sliced cucumbers and onions I made yesterday, and were marinating in rice vinegar, sugar, and a touch of pink Himalayan sea salt.
One of the more interesting aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease is that my father picks up on a conversation, something on the news, and blends it into his own little world. He’s basically in a different orbit from the rest of us. I’m not adding more to inform. It is rather like a mystery, trying to figure out what he’s talking about.
We’re at the table.
“Do you think I should go check on the team?”
“There are some good guys on it.”
“Can he drive us tomorrow?”
“He said he was sick. I wonder if he was faking.”
“Most people aren’t when they say they’re sick.”
“You need to call Jimmy Southerland (cousin by marriage, dead for at least 25 years) and tell him that someone is sending him a bus ticket to come down and play for the team.”
“If someone said that to me, I’d hang up on them. That’s an insult, sending a bus ticket.”
My mother just sits there, shaking her head. “You get someone a plane ticket.”
“You’re going to call him for me. The team needs him.”
“They’re waiting for me to join them.”
“No they aren’t. It’s raining. It’s been raining all day. They postponed the game.”
He became quite angry. “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
Playing along with him. “It’s been raining all day. I guess they thought that anyone who can look out the window has sense enough to know they can’t play in the rain.”
“I need to go meet the bus with the team. Someone needs to get the bus across the road to the field.”
“There’s no game, it’s been canceled.”
“I need to go over to the high school.”
“No you don’t.”
“If I hire that guy, he can take your tests so you can pass.”
By now he had left the table and was foraging for junk food. “That’s why you can’t go over to the school. You hired the guy to take your tests and was caught. You’ve been expelled.”
“No one told me!”
“That’s why you aren’t playing with the team.”
“I need to meet the bus and make sure the guys have dinner.”
“The game has been called off due to rain. Besides, you’ve been expelled.”
“I need to go over to the school.”
By this time my mother was just sitting there, shaking her head. “He’ll wake up in the middle of the night and complain about being expelled.”
“That’s a smart guy. He makes good grades. Your grades aren’t that good.”
My mother looked at him. “You can’t hang out with them. You were expelled for letting all the air out of the teachers’ tires.” (This is true. He and his BFF, Herbie Johnstone let the air out of the right front and left rear tires of all the teacher’s cars during a parent-teacher night. They then threw away the plug cap thingies. Today, they would have been sent to prison. Then, they became legends in their own time.)
“I can’t believe you aren’t interested in helping the team. This is all your idea.”
“I’m not interested in any team.”
“You are the one pestering everyone about it.”
“I don’t care.”
“You need to support the football team. I need to go play. They know I’m good. Jimmy Southerland is also good.” (Neither man ever played a day of football. My father never even watched a football game, much to my knowledge).
“I don’t like football. I hate football. I don’t approve of high school sports.”
“But it was your idea.”
“No, it’s not.”
“I need to get to the team bus.”
Finally…from my mother. “There is no team. There is no bus. You are not in high school. You are a 90 year old man. You don’t even like football.”
“Then, where is my $90 social security. We need to get the government to pay me.”
“You get $1200 a month.”
“That’s not enough. We need to make the government give us more.”
“I need to check on the team.”
“It’s raining. It’s dark. No one in their right mind is outside.”
“No one told me.”
And so forth and so on….
They say, when the person who has AD drifts into their fantasy world, to just go along with them, then gently try to reel them back to the real world, if possible. Eventually, within the next 6 months or so, it will no longer be possible for him to comprehend the difference.