Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

February 22, 2014

Down Home 02-23-14

Wish I could complain about dementia dilemmas again

While listening to a friend on the subject of forgetful parents who misplace items, forget names, dates and places, I found myself wishing I could “complain” once again about Dad’s dementia dilemmas.

I miss the days of being blamed for everything from owing taxes to him not being able to drive. I miss being the one who supposedly stole his money, invaded his privacy and wrecked his life, while at the same time, being the one he thanked for remembering everything he’d forgotten.

Dad’s birthday is coming up and he continues to amaze me, at 89 years young, he’s still doing his best to cause havoc. He strolls the nursing home hallways in his wheelchair, pedaling his feet as fast as they will go. The chest congestion he’d been battling has now passed and although the prostrate problems aren’t gone, he seems to be doing fairly well.

When he was able to communicate, I remember feeling as though I’d go crazy answering the same questions over and over again. Having to hunt for his wallet, remote and anything else he deemed valuable and would hide, and forget where he put it. Now all I can do is hope for one word that doesn’t sound like gibberish.

I miss the twinkle in his eyes when I’d come home to find him feeding the dog a package of ho-ho’s and then, with a chocolate filled smile, swear he hadn’t eaten any of them. I miss “our” notebook which sat on the dining room table and held the information that would guide him through the day while I was at work. At his place, at the table, he could watch the birds, watch the clock and read and then re-read his daily agenda.

I remember the exact day and time I had to write, in our notebook, my name, as this piece of information slipped his mind and seemed to cause him more anxiety than not knowing what day, month or year it was. At that point in time, it was a fleeting forgetfulness that would come back to him if he stared at me long enough. Since our notebook told him what time I’d be coming from work, more times than not, he’d be sitting at the table, reading the notebook, and then proudly greet me by name when I walked in the door. I love how he worked so hard to remember me.

It’s been three years since he’s recognized me, much less say my name. Even as upsetting as it was, when he went through the phase at the nursing home and thought I was his girlfriend, that was better than nothing.

I miss the days he’d sit for hours sorting the same nuts and bolts, or cutting up cardboard boxes. A small task for anyone else, but for Dad, it was a way to feel useful. When he went to the nursing home I sent him with his poker chips and holder. With poker being a favorite past time throughout his life, he loved sorting through the chips and putting them back in their appropriate holders. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him take any interest in that kind of busy work and assumed the poker chips and holder were long gone.

I decided this visit would be a short one, as he was preoccupied in the wheelchair and wouldn’t acknowledge anything around him but his moving feet. I turned around one last time to see him fiddling with his pocket.

Smiling a toothless smile, he handed me a blue poker chip.

Sandy Turner writes about family and lives in the Midwest.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Columnists
  • The Library Shelf 07-22-14

    Payne County gardeners soon will be reaping the benefits of the hard work put into their vegetable gardens all summer long.  
    To help community members maximize their summer harvest, Stillwater Public Library is presenting “Yes We Can,” an introductory class on preserving food at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7.

    July 22, 2014

  • 1 - PCLC Class 4 Renovation.jpg AND, STILL THE WATERS RUN: The walls come tumbling down

    July 21, 2014 7 Photos

  • LARRY JONES: Remembering a front door in Japan

    July 20, 2014

  • Life at Boomer Lake 07-20-14

    A couple of unusual items made it on the list of notoriety this week, but we’ll hold off on that for the time being.
    Baby birds are still infiltrating the area and are growing quickly.

    July 19, 2014

  • Live Well 07-20-14

    It is way too easy to hit snooze on my alarm clock.
    Exercising in the morning always seems like a good idea until the alarm starts yelling at an ungodly hour.

    July 19, 2014

  • Grow! 07-20-14

    Roses are a beautiful addition to any garden and landscape. They come in a variety of colors that enhance your yard. However, like other plants, roses are susceptible to disease. One that seems to hit roses the hardest is rose rosette disease caused by the rose rosette virus.

    July 19, 2014

  • Seed to Table 07-20-14

    Weed control is an important part of food production. So, I recently undertook an effort to rid my pastures of a particularly noxious weed.

    July 19, 2014

  • Down Home 07-20-14

    No wonder everyone is so smitten with just her voice. She’s smart and precise and I’ve also recently discovered I can’t live without her. Her name is Siri.

    July 19, 2014

  • In the Garden 07-20-14

    Mulch is full of purpose. What it lacks in mystery, it makes up in function. Mulch contributes to healthy gardens. No one ponders or debates it, yet many do not take the time to mulch.

    July 19, 2014

  • Farmers Market 07-17-14

    The Stillwater Farmers Market is open every Monday at Stillwater Medical Center from 2-5:30 p.m. and every Wednesday and Saturday in Strickland Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    July 17, 2014

Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights
NDN Video
CDC Director Warns Of A World Where Antibiotics No Longer Work Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB'
Must Read