February 5, 2008

A Ducky Tuesday

Duck rolling along.

Duck: You mean I won’t be dancing any more.

Me: Felt wonderful after therapy. Lost half the images I had scanned. Very unhappy with myself for not double checking before deleting. Found images - hurrah, finished another journal, and sniveled with the newest Anne McCaffrey over lunch. Happily.

G: Recovered now from yesterday.
Super Tuesday. Fat Tuesday. Today's Tuesday, and we will vote together after he gets off work….tho we will not dance the night away. It’s a Tuesday will be a much happier day if G doesn’t get one of “those” calls as he did yesterday.

“Don’t worry. He’s all right. We had him checked out. He fell on his way to the bathroom. But he’s ok.”

We appreciate the fact that they do call. They keep us in the loop. We know what’s happening, what he’s doing, how he is eating, and even what he is eating. But, sometimes those calls do levitate one right out of the commonplace. “Don’t worry,” they tell G, and, of course, the imagination is stirred into all sorts of ugly images.

We understand. Duck thinks he’s living in a hotel and that he has to tip when he asks for help. At least that’s what he thought yesterday. He never remembers the little button, and he needs to push this to get assistance getting to the bathroom. The button doesn’t exist. No matter where they put it.

If he has to go to the bathroom, he struggles to stand. It was a struggle before he got there as he has neuropathy in his legs. He can’t feel a thing from the knees down. The struggle is worse now that he doesn’t use his legs any more. So up he gets, several tries usually…on pins he can’t feel, and balancing himself while gripping the nearest thing to hand, he totters off to the bathroom at the foot of his bed. Always he grips the bed table…….a flimsy thing on rollers. Perhaps that slipped away yesterday.

“You fell,” G said to Duck.

“Is that why my shoulder hurts?” He curled around and rubbed his shoulder. “It really hurts. It will really be black and blue tomorrow.”

“You have to use the little button now and call for someone help you up,” I said.

“I don’t have any money to tip them.”

Allie remarked, “And by the time they get there, it will be too late.”

We know. But we have to try.

“I’ll pee in the bed,” he said smiling. And with an even bigger grin, “Does this mean I can’t go dancing any more.”

I could see the circular nature of the conversation. I can see the circular nature of the situation too. No matter what they do, he will get up to go to the bathroom. He will continue falling until the day he can’t remember to get up. His mother so ingrained some behaviors in him, that even today he hangs up his clothes, dirty or clean, and makes his bed. So we know, even as he is dying, he will get up and go to the bathroom.

“Don’t forget to use the button,” will be my new mantra.

I’ll bring this up at the next care meeting….upcoming this month. Two things, actually, the button and requesting a slight increase in the meds he gets for his shaking. He’s always shaken. It’s worse now as one of the side effects of dementia is shaking. He has a double dose of shaking. Feeding himself comfortably would be a great help. He can’t easily raise a spoon or fork to his mouth now. Eating soup, one of the things he always will consume, is an abstract experience as the soup is spattered hither and yon off the spoon.

Maybe I need a list. It will be just me at the care meeting this time.


  1. Duck is so lucky to have you. I worry about him now too.

  2. Mage,

    When my Dad was acting just like Duck we really had to humor him to get him to do something.

    Maybe you could give D five one Dollar bills for tips so he would have money to get help in going to the bathroom.Arrange for the staff to put the money back in his drawer so he would be using the same tip money over and over again.

    With my Dad anything was worth a try- If D thinks he is tipping the staff perhaps he will feel better about asking for help.

    I really admire the way you two look after D. He is so lucky to have you....

  3. Nancy........that's a lovely idea. I'll tell G. Thank you. Then again, he doesn't remember the call button at all. And he has money at the front desk he can't remember having either. Poor old guy.

  4. Very moving photo. It is also sweet and sad that D wants to tip everyone for helping. It says so much about the man. Nancy's idea is worth a try, don't you think?

    A friend of mine loves receiving letters in envelops with his name printed on them. He just delights at seeing his name on the envelop. It makes him feel important. He doesn't seem able to read any more, but he can recognise his name.


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...