Monday, November 16, 2009

Aged and Confused...Alzheimer's Stinks!

He vividly remembers combat training in 1942.

He was 20 years old when he was called up in the draft and sent off to fight in the Pacific.

(That's the same age my Oldest is right now.)

The stories he tells to my kids are sometimes frightening and other times humorous.

"Of course, there wasn't no toilets. You was s'pose to take your trench shovel and dig a little hole and do your business in there. And then if it happens at night when you're in your foxhole...cause there's a lot of fear and it makes you have to don't get outta your hole cause you'd'd get shot. And so...and'd take and use your helmet and then throw it out to the side. And you'd hope the fellow next to you didn't throw his too far or you'd get wet!"

*Twins giggling* "Grandaddy! Then did you have to put your helmet back on your head??"

"Well, of course you did. You didn't want them snipers blowing your head off!"

Yet, he can't remember why he wanted to go to the emergency room 10 minutes ago or whether he's eaten anything today or why you're there.

"Are you ready to go to the hospital now?"

"Who's going to the hospital?"

"You are. Your stomach is hurting and you said you feel bad and haven't eaten and all?"

"What? I don't think I could eat. My stomach's been bothering me too much. Food would make it worse."

**Darling Daughter** "Grandaddy, here, have some soup. I heated it up for you. It'll make you feel better. Be careful now, it's a little warm."

"Thank you, darlin' I haven't eaten all day."

"I know Grandaddy, here, have some potato, too. It's really good."

Five minutes later..."Should I eat something with my pill? I haven't eaten all day."

He remembers going on patrols, looking for the enemy in the houses,huts and outbuildings of the island...and sometimes finding more interesting things!

"The sergeant...why, he pointed at me and he pointed to a barn...and that meant I was s'pose to go forward and check it. So I went and knocked that door open and uh...I stuck my bayonet up through the loft into the hay bales in case there might be some hiding in there...and instead there was a...there was a mama hog up there! And about four or five baby hogs! And when I hit all up in there with my bayonet, why that hay jumped straight up in the air and they went to squealin'...and I thought it was the Japanese and I was trying to shoot 'em!"

But he doesn't understand what's going on right now.

"Did you find my blood pressure checker?"

"Yes sir, here it is."

"No, the one with the red button. That one don't work any more."

"Ok, here's the one with the red button. Do you want me to help you?"

"Nah...don't need no help. What's it say? My blood pressure is what?"

"135 over 86, Grandaddy, that's really good!"

"It is? Is that what it usually is? What was it last time?"

"I don't know, I wasn't here last time you checked it, but it's good right now, don't worry."

Blank stare...looking off to the other side of the room.



"Do you want me to put your blood pressure checker up for you now?"

"No, I better check my blood pressure real quick in case I need to take my pill."

He turned 88 last month. He's a family treasure. We cherish the moments we have with him. Especially the ones when he remembers. I hope he understands how much he's loved.


a Tonggu Momma said...

My grandmother is in the early stages... thank you for this.

Chelsea Gour said...

Oh S, This is exactly what it was like with my grandmother. Tell him now. Tell him how much you love him and tell him everything you want him to know. Because now when I see my grandma, she just stares at me. I wish I'd told her more when she could understand it, even if she forgot it right away. Video tape him telling his stories NOW. Grandma doesn't tell stories anymore. She doesn't say much at all. Grandma is 96 and in a nursing home. She is still with us...but not. And, that makes me so sad.