wings and things

Make Believe

on August 24, 2015


When Anthony asked me about the faulty electric fence today, I reassured him that it was fixed.

Anthony: Really?

Me: Yes! Would I lie to you?

Anthony: I don’t know.

Me: Well guess how I know the electric fence is working?

Anthony: How?

Me: Because I put my hand on it and got a terrible shock!

Okay so this conversation elicited one of Anthony’s amazing smiles (when we were married I didn’t realise he was a sadist!)

Anyway, now that I am being more diligent at recording our conversations, I’ve noticed that my responses to Anthony’s questions or statements (often bizarre due to dementia) are really bland. So today I thought I’d liven things up a bit by telling the electric fence story – total make believe!

There was a period of time recently where I thought Anthony had completely lost his ability to speak, converse, tell stories. But now – just like the return of his smile – his verbal skills seem to have improved.

Of course he is still dozy, and/or incoherent, and sometimes has that blank Parkinson’s expression on his face, for much of the time.

The fact that Anthony looked through his nursing home window and saw an electric fence that wasn’t there gave me an opportunity to enter today’s ‘story’. I am so excited to realise something I should have realised years ago – that I can make things up to match what he is saying – that I can use my imagination to meet his hallucinations.

Make Believe


27 responses to “Make Believe

  1. funny story to go with your electric fence. one of my friends was cycling along and an uncouth youth berated him – he’s a large bloke- and a stone shot out of his tyre and hit the youth on the ear. he fell off the wall he was sitting on and on to a live electric fence. Karma. why not tell Anthony this one.

  2. imagination certainly makes life more interesting

  3. shoreacres says:

    Imagination meeting hallucination — that sounds like our current political process! Good for you, for making up such a creative and quite believable story. The process may make the conversations even more fun for you — as long as you can remember what you’ve said, just in case it comes back to you in later conversation!

  4. You are amazing.

    I am totally in love with you and Ants and your wonderful stories!

  5. Judy says:

    Wow, Julie – it sounds like you were “on the fence.” I’m not shocked either. It’s speaking his language once again. I’m certain you miss the connection you once had with him. And I feel for you. A cloud of anticipatory grief hangs over all of this. Know I send my love and hugs from far away. You are navigating his world very well. I hope you are feeling better.

    • jmgoyder says:

      You are right about the anticipatory grief, Judy because I cannot imagine life without him. x

      • Judy says:

        I know that, Julie. I can say those unspoken words. They are a huge cloud over your life. Just know that when your “other journey” begins – I will support you in any way I can. What I do know about anticipatory grief, is that the road you will be on is well travelled. That means you’ve already gone farther than you realize.

  6. KDKH says:

    I have a friend whose father-in-law has Alzheimer’s, and they handle him by setting themselves into his reality and making stuff up that fits his story. They handle the situation I that context. He thinks the nursing home is a bank and he works there. So when he wants to leave, they tell him that he has to wait until his shift is over, etc. it works well and the family has fun with it. Some family members are better at it than others, and he seems to respond best to those who join in!

  7. susanpoozan says:

    I think that’s very clever of you so long as you keep your feet in the real world!

  8. Terry says:

    You are doing exactly as I did. Using your imagination and playing along with his mind. Way to go!!!

  9. How interesting that you can match the unreality with make belief. I find this fascinating!

  10. That is kind of a ‘fun’ thought…. make up stories to match his thoughts… Diane

  11. Vicki says:

    I used to great delight in playing jokes and stories with great imagination when young(er). Now, where did it all go? Sometimes I think I’ve reached that ripe old age when one gets totally boring and mundane. Wish I had someone to play ‘prankster’ with again.

    Maybe I should come across to the west and visit Anthony. He’d keep me young and I’d regain my sense of humour (quick as a flash) Love KDKH’s idea…..what fun that would be.

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