June 27, 2012

Aren't We All Just a Little Bit Misunderstood?

"Mom.Mom.MOM!" Cathy yells.

Bernice finally looks over. She's not deaf but occasionally she forgets who she is.  

"Mom, I had my eye operated on." Cathy points to her eye and the new bifocal lens in the off chance Bernice has forgotten what an eyeball is. I start to roll mine.

Dementia is a misunderstood disease. Even the nurses are confounded by what Bernice does and doesn't understand. It leads to many patronizing gestures and comments which irritate the hell out of me because having witness Bernice's smile when we enter her room and her frown when we leave it, I'm convinced she's being marginalized. Still vivacious, empathetic and social she's every bit the person she was before dementia robbed her of memory and articulation. Yes, Bernice knows what an eye is. She knows the word 'mom' and she's heard her daughter speak. But that doesn't stop the alarm and disbelief.

"You operated on Mom??

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