wings and things

5. Banter

on July 7, 2017

Anthony, Ming and have always enjoyed bantering and, fortunately for us, Anthony still enjoys it, despite his Dementia. He has very thick skin when it comes to being teased and has always loved making people laugh.

Sometimes, he flabbergasts with his one-liners and his quick-wittedness. Last Christmas we all decided to forego presents and instead just partake in some very expensive crayfish.  Anthony feigned disappointment and I became defensive.

Me: You didn’t get me a present either!

Anthony: Well, that was a calculated risk.

For someone who is so often unable to articulate what he wants to say, both cognitively (the Dementia) and physiologically (the Parkinson’s Disease’s effect on this throat muscles) he comes out with some absolutely brilliant come-back remarks. It’s not just us he banters with, he also responds to the banter of friends, family and the staff. If there happens to be a group of more than two in his room, he finds it difficult to follow what is sometimes a very lively conversation but one-to-one his wit is often surprisingly apt.

Nevertheless these kinds of dialogues are few and far between now as much of what Anthony says is either indecipherable or incoherent much to his obvious frustration. At those times Ming and I have learned to divert the conversation back to banter and this usually works really well.

Ming’s style of banter is very boisterous and he will pretend he is going to leap onto Anthony’s lap just as he did when he was little, and/or actually sit on his lap, ruffle his hair and yell things like, “Daddywaddy, my favourite parent!” (He especially likes to say this when I am there too) much to Anthony’s amusement.

Diversion is also a great way of steering a distressing conversation away from itself. For example:

Anthony: When are you taking me home, Jules? This recurring question is always tricky for me as Anthony has no idea that it is now years since I have been able to bring him home. So I resort to banter. I know it seems contrived but it works for us. In answer to the home question, I will often say something totally off topic, as I did the other day:

Me: You have such a BIG nose, Ants. 

Anthony: You just want to see me naked.

And in a matter of seconds the fraught and heartbreaking reference to home is forgotten.

4 responses to “5. Banter

  1. Judy says:

    Humor is great and this one had me laughing off my chair. What a big nose guy Ants is!!

  2. susanpoozan says:

    You are so skillful at managing the situation.

  3. Banter can make us smile and feel good, well it can for me

  4. Vicki says:

    You’ve got to be quick thinking with Anthony around, that’s for sure 🙂

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