wings and things

“Is that you?”

on September 23, 2014

Today, when I arrived at the nursing home just before lunch, it was a bit like the five seconds of yesterday but this time Anthony said, “Is that you?” as if he couldn’t quite believe his eyes. I think we have now fallen into a new phase of Parkinson’s but then again Ants might just be having a bad week.

I am still surprised at how gleefully I go in every day and I’ve been trying to disentangle the complexities of why this is because it’s only a relatively recent phenomenon and I’m not quite sure what flicked the switch from the dutiful dread of a few months ago to the anticipation of now. The sense of purpose, routine, satisfaction and joy I feel now is wonderful but also a bit disconcerting!

The volunteering situation has been absolute magic. Today, Nat, Edna, Beatrice, Ants and I sat around the dining room tables after lunch was over and played Nat’s version of ‘Memory’. Edna is just in for respite – her first time – and she told us yesterday (during a similar game) that she had been extremely nervous but since meeting Nat, relaxed a bit and now they are like old friends!

So we played and here are some smatters of conversation during that hour and a half of laughter.

Nat: Tonyyyyyyy (speaking to Ants) Come on, darling, turn your cards over.
Edna: Don’t let her boss you around, Tony.
Me: Ants, turn two cards over and hope for a match.
Ants: Jules?
Me: Pick up two cards – here I’ll help you.
Nat: My turn.
Me: No it’s not, it’s my turn!
Nat: Cheeky bugger.
Me: I heard that, Nat!
Edna: Is she cheating again?
Me: Well, even though she is a really beautiful person, I did see her put a card on her lap.
Nat: I never did!
Me: (sneaking around the table to snatch the card) AHA!
Nat: Tonyyyyyy, help me!

I can’t count how many times I’ve played Nat’s version of ‘Memory’ now, but it has become quite popular with other residents too. The best thing about it is Nat’s contagious laugh and her mischief; the best/worst part is Nat wanting Ants to join in, and the worst part is Ants unable to engage very well. Plus, Nat and Edna are nearly blind so this makes for a very sloooooow game and Nat alternates from saying “This is the most fun I’ve ever had in meee life!” to “This is the longest game I’ve ever played!”

Today, we were all exhausted, especially Anthony who often chooses not to join in or else is so peacefully asleep in his armchair that I don’t rouse him. I just leave my stuff (scarf, handbag, book) next to him so that when he wakes up he’ll know I’m still around and not gone.

I help Ants with his tea now because this is a busy time for the staff and why not? He is pretty exhausted and PDish by then so I say my ‘seeyalater’ and am usually home by 6pm.

Tonight, as I left, I kissed Anthony on the forehead and he tried to speak but even the single syllable he uttered was impossible to interpret. He could no more say “I love you” than “Is that you?”

18 responses to ““Is that you?”

  1. I remember playing Memory with my sister and our landlord Mr. Brunner when I was little, it was a lot of fun. I remember playing scrabble with my husband’s 95 year old grandmother, that took hours, the lesson in patience was a hrad one but a good one nonetheless. You sometimes don’t need to understand the why’s of something, just embrace the it and it will make itself knwon later on eventually. 😀

  2. Terry says:

    It makes me so happy that you can see the sun amongst the clouds, just like I try to do. Hugs my friend

  3. contentment comes in many forms–I think you have found one of them–I am so happy for you

  4. Told so well, I could imagine myself there Jules! ❤
    Diana xo

  5. mimijk says:

    Ah, but if he could, he would have affirmatively told you that he loved you..

  6. Rhonda says:

    I can hear the cackling laughter now…and love it! Nat and Edna sound quite a pair. And I agree with Mim…if he could have, he would have spoken out loud that which is ingrained in his heart. xo

  7. I believe when we serve others we are serving God . that in itself helps to bring contentment. Well done Julie.

  8. Trisha says:

    Such a bittersweet experience. I can see how your emotions would be such a jumble it would be hard to disentangle them all.

  9. I love your attitude of adventure and continued love for him.

  10. janeslog says:

    I don’t know if you get these in Australia, but when I cycled round Strathclyde Park on Sunday I saw a woman cycling along with a disabled adult sitting on a chair on the front. It was a specially adapted tricycle with a chair on the front.

    Both seemed to be enjoying the ride but the woman looked a bit tired with all her pedalling. Might be something the nursing home could consider buying to allow the residents to be taken out on short jaunts.

  11. ksbeth says:

    the game sounds like a riot and a lot like playing a game with my kindergarten class, full of action, and words and some not knowing exactly going on, but okay because everyone is playing in their own way. hugs –

  12. When you wrote that Anthony said “is that you?” it just grabbed my heart and squeezed. I felt so much emotion, elation, hope, disbelief but expectation. He seems to be always glad to see you, regardless of the clarity of who you are. He knows your importance to him. That was powerful.

  13. This was a good post it made me think of all the times I played these games

  14. Judith Post says:

    So glad you’re enjoying your new solution so much. Glad there’s so much laughter. My mom’s finally released from her Alzheimer’s, and we’re all happy for her. She, like your Anthony, was surrounded with love.

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