wings and things

There’s ‘a Julie’ in the mirror.

on September 23, 2015

There is something beautiful about the fact that sometimes Anthony will see the same camellias I picked for him days ago as today’s – new and fresh.


The other day, as I was leaving Ants to come home, he spotted my reflection in his wardrobe mirror. (His armchair is in one corner of the room and, if he turns his head to the right, he can see himself in this mirror).

Anthony: There’s a Julie over there.

Me: (turning to face myself in this mirror) Yes, that’s me … actually that’s US in the mirror.

Anthony: Oh, of course.

Me: You idiot!
(Don’t be alarmed; Anthony quite likes a bit of gentle verbal abuse now and then).

Apart from the visual hallucinations (often of cats which is weird because Anthony doesn’t like cats), there is also a certain amount of visual confusion lately. Ants’ view to the left is through a window overlooking a lawned area where he often sees cattle; the newsreaders and/or characters on television are sometimes mistaken for real people to whom Anthony will often respond verbally; his walker can become a lawnmower; the staff going up and down the hallway are ‘kids’ or ‘teachers’ or long-deceased relatives; and the blanket on his knees (lately a source of enormous confusion as the day progresses) is unrecognisable to him as a blanket until ….

Me: Will you stop pushing the blanket off! I thought you were cold, Ants!

Anthony: It’s just … I don’t know what this is, Jules.

Me: It’s a blanket, to keep you warm, so I’m going to put it back on your lap and put your hands under it and, if you move, I will bop you!

Anthony: You’re beautiful when you’re angry.

Me: Argh!

This particular blanket has a tartan pattern and a fringe, and is one of ours from home. Other rugs and blankets (particularly those with patterns of any kind) can really confuse Anthony, but I have only recently realised this. For example, if the pattern is one of flowers, Ants might see these as real flowers and want to touch or rearrange them.

None of these visual hallucinations/misrecognitions currently cause Anthony undue distress, especially when I am with him. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder what he might be ‘seeing’ when I’m not there. When I think about this too much, I get worried, so I mostly try not to think about it for the sake of my own peace of mind. After all he is in good care.

But I just wish I could somehow leave myself in that wardrobe mirror so that whenever Anthony glanced to the right I’d be there….


…. like the camellias.

28 responses to “There’s ‘a Julie’ in the mirror.

  1. Ann Koplow says:

    Beautiful. I love seeing a Julie in my reader.

  2. Judy says:

    How about making a big poster of yourself with the camelias in the background. I’m imagining there are already some pictures in his room, but a giant poster of you could really be wonderful. This is definitely a post to “reflect on.” (I couldn’t resist that one!)

    • jmgoyder says:

      There are photos of me here and there (well, two) but a poster? That might freak him out (it would certainly freak me out hahaha!) Your pun tonight is a winner Judy!

      • Judy says:

        Ok – maybe not a poster, but a nice portrait photo of you both together that is very visually accesible could be nice. I guess I thought of a poster because you are quite a “post”er.

  3. Maybe he does see you there? Diane

  4. lensgirl53 says:

    Such a precious post!

  5. artfulanxiety says:

    Your relationship is great. People need to be more honest with one another, and even if Ants doesn’t understand I bet he very much appreciates that you are still you and you’re still using your same sense of humour.

  6. hi Julie , my MIL was blind but when she had a UTI starting she would begin having visual hallucinations long before there was any sign of the infection. her favourites were a red indian chief in full feathered head dress and 3 small blonde haired children. She would also see a full sailed galleon, the local town hall clock and most hated by her were red velvet curtains that were endless as she went through them. Strange what the brain conjures up.
    does Ants have a photo of you in his room. Might that help?

    • jmgoyder says:

      Your MIL’s hallucinations fascinate me, especially since I have been re-reading some of Oliver Sacks’ work. Yes, my photo is in the room but it’s not a big photo – maybe I’ll put a bigger one in there?

  7. susanpoozan says:

    You cope with Anthony’s problems so well, I hope writing about it all helps.

  8. Time to get a portrait painted?

  9. Vicki says:

    Yes, a poster just might confuse Ants too much. Stick to the small photos I think.
    I suspect you’d have to be pretty careful with mirrors around someone who hallucinates. Could be more damaging (than comforting).

    Lovely shot of the Camellia at the start of this post.

  10. Your last line is beautiful! It speaks volumes of your devotion and love to him.

  11. He is still recognizing you. That is a blessing.

  12. tootlepedal says:

    I liked the camellias….and the thought provoking post too.

  13. God, you’re beautiful.

  14. Just the type of post I like to read, so bloody lovely

  15. Such a lovely post, Julie. 🙂

  16. Tiny says:

    Beautiful post, Julie. He is in good care, and who knows he might see you in the mirror even when you’re not there.

  17. Tina Schell says:

    Very touching – he is very lucky to have you, and you him. The future can be quite frightening,

  18. paulaacton says:

    don’t know why but this came into my mind when I read your post, guess it is a good way to make cheap art and also a way to create images of your self and Ants or Ming, I think the reason it resonated was the image at the end is very much like one glanced at in a mirror

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