Humor Can Get You Through
We're going to be on this Alzheimer's journey for a long time. If we want to come out of it with our sanity, we had better lighten the mood a bit from time to time.
In this section, you will find stories and anecdotes of my own and from our readers. I hope they give you a chuckle in the midst of your sorrow. E-mail me your funny stories and I will print them here.
From Ol Don
Well, we have a black lab that is about 50#s overweight from LO feeding her anything from cheeseburgers to bacon ice cream whatever; anything LO eats she shares with lab. After visiting the vet, she was told no more milk bones or treats. Since nothing makes sense to her, she continued to feed anything and everything, and I made it known to her in no uncertain terms that she was killing the dog. She went into a rage and told me it was HER dog and she'd feed it anything she wanted whenever she wanted. I remineded her that we had each paid half for the dog. She left the room and came back in a few minutes and threw $25 at me and said she wanted to buy my half. After stifling a laugh, I told her my half was the front. Thats what made me so angry - she was using my half without permission. This seemed to calm her down for the time being but I knew we wern't done with this saga. The following day, I caught her looking thru the telephone book. Thinking I could help her, I asked whose number she was looking for. She informed me the number of a good attorney, as she was going to try and get custody of the front end of the dog. She still feeds dog anything and everything, but I've lost the will to argue. If she wants to use my half without permission so be it.
From From Fritz
My DH is a pastor and even though he struggles with AD, a small local parish likes to have him come and do "supply work" a couple Sundays a month. The thing is, the parish is made up of about two dozen very elderly parishioners, many of whom have memory issues. It is a great fit because they introduce themselves to my husband every few weeks, he forgets who they are by the next time he is there, but it doesn't matter because they have forgotten they introduced themselves! I stand there sometimes and feel like I am in the old "Whose on First" comedy routine! It's a match made in heaven :)
As soon as my husband, Sid, was diagnosed, the neurologist immediately put him on Aricept. He gave him a sample package. I left Sid at home with the package and its accompanying literature while I went out to do some errands. When I returned, he was sitting on the couch, looking quite depressed. He told me that he had read the pamphlet, and then said, "Well, I guess it's downhill for me from here." Trying to be as gentle as possible, I said, "But you knew what Alzheimer's is, didn't you?" He looked at me in all seriousness and said, "Well, yeah, but I forgot."
This morning, Sid and I somehow got on the subject of how some older movie stars looked. Thinking he was giving me the ultimate compliment, he said, "Well, I think you look pretty darn good for a 65 year old woman. Yes, I really do - you look terrific for 65." Taken aback quite a bit, I said, " I should look good for 65. I'm only 59!" And only because he has Alzheimer's Disease was he spared a bonk on the head with the newspaper.
My husband of 55 years has AD. He decided a few weeks ago that he didn't want to be married any longer. In fact, he didn't think he was ever married. Later that evening I was chatting on the phone with a sister and was telling her he didn't want to be married and asked if perhaps I was free also and could start looking for someone. I heard this small, quiet voice behind me saying, "I'm available."
My husband has AD and I had asked him to take our Yorkie out for a walk this past winter. He promptly put his coat, gloves, and hat on, got the leash, walked out the door, and down our long driveway while our Yorkie still sat beside me on the couch. I turned and asked our dog if he enjoyed his walk. My husband finally came back to the house with his head hung low and said he forgot the dog.
Several years ago my wife was being evalated by a speech therapist. One part of the test was to explain some common axioms. One of them was, " No ifs ands or buts." When the therapist asked her what that meant, she said, " I don't know, but it has something to do with asses."
Andrea wanders through the house, asking to go home. There's no place I can take her that is "home"; we're not even sure where she wants to go. We usually tell her, "OK, we'll go in a minute." Sometimes she'll forget what she was asking, but more often she'll just keep asking to go home. The other day I heard her in the living room, saying "Do you want to go home? Come on, let's go!" I peeked around the corner to see her talking to the grandkids' guinea pig! He was so excited, but neither one can drive, so it was pretty much doomed to failure. After that she tried asking Polly Pocket to take her home, but that didn't pan out either.
My husband had a very short marriage (less than a year) before he met me. Sid’s grandmother, who most probably was showing signs of Alzheimer’s Disease at that time, attended the wedding.
My LO and I were in bed watching TV and holding hands. We were both in our underwear. He turned to me and asked, "You will be leaving before my wife comes home, won't you?" You gotta laugh sometimes.
My husband has started talking to a 'friend' in the mirror (it's him, but he doesn't recognize himself sometimes) -- at first I thought this was very sad (still do sometimes) but mostly now I just go along with it for the sake of keeping things light...he was chatting away with the friend one evening and said, as he pointed to his own neck, "hey, you've got one of those marks on your neck too"...as I came around the corner to hear this, I said 'does your friend have a name'? He responded quickly and with a wry tone of humor "of course, everyone has a name"...as i went into the toilet area of our bathroom to tinkle, i said "will your friend be watching me tee tee"? He quickly said "of course, he's a guy"! How cute was that?!
“I was sitting in the family room reading and Vic was walking around the house. He stops and asks me where Vivian is? I raised my hand and said "right here". He stops and waits for a few minutes and then says "lady, I don't mean to hurt your feelings but Vivian is no way as big as you are." I laughed so hard and have enjoyed telling the story many times,. I even told it to Vic when he was as himself and even he got a laugh out of it. “
I went into Gene's room this morning. On the floor where the dog sleeps and chews her toys, was a bottom false teeth. Yikes! At first they looked like the old ones. On closer examination it was the ones he wears. Gene, "Do you have your teeth?", "yes", opens his month and says, "see", " No you do not have your teeth". I clean them up and Suzy must not have had them long because other than the soft lining a little worse for wear they were OK. Now how did the dog get his teeth. Neither one is talking. It's always something,
One day I was feeling kind of grumpy, and my husband was feeling low. He came to me and told me that he felt bad because I was irritated with him because he had dementia. After thinking for a minute, I was able to remind him that I had been aggravated with him countless times in the 30+ years that we were married before his diagnosis, and me being aggravated at that moment had nothing at all to do with him having dementia! (This part of me he definitely could remember!) We've had several good laughs about this conversation since then. We try to find the humorous side of any situation, and we could both see the humor in even imagining that in over thirty years of marriage we hadn't both had the odd moment of grumpiness, long before we started dealing with this situation.
“people who talk to him about the diagnosis, have questions etc., may very likely say, "John, FORGOTTEN any good jokes lately?"
I asked my 74 year old husband of 31 years how old I was. He answered "31". This 58 year old said "That's right".
Dolores' husband said she's 31. I thought I had her beat. Bill and I were talking age and he asked how old I was. I told him 64 and he said "No you're not". I asked him "Do I look 64?" He said no. and I asked how old I looked. "A lot older than that." he said. Boy was I let down, usually he will say anything from 17-30's.
A few months ago, my husband and I visited our daughter in Huntsville. It was dark when we started back to Birmingham. An 18-wheeler came up behind us and then passed us. Out of the blue, Dennis said, "I don't know why we had to be the one to go pick up the truck". It took me a minute and then I said. "We're in our car the truck just passed us." A couple of miles down the road; he asked again why we had to be the one to pick up the truck. I tried to explain again that we were in our car. After the third time, I could tell he was getting agitated so I decided to go along with him and said they knew we wanted to see Julie and asked us to bring the truck back. That answer was fine for a while then he asked where I was going to park the truck. What I was going to do with the keys when I dropped off the truck. I told him that I would lock them in the truck and he said I guess they have another set. He finally said, "That's good but I sure did not know that you could drive one of these big truck."
Well as everyone may have experienced a spouse not remembering to turn off burners or ovens and in our case DH sometimes leaves the oven mitts in the oven..So we have a rule no cooking unless I am home so I can keep a close eye on him. Well, the other night I stayed up late couldn't sleep..I got to wanting something to munch on I threw some buffalo wings in the oven.. They were really good..However in the morning DH came to me looking ever so serious and said you left the oven on all night.. I said oh my goodness, he with a large grin says " Well if this continues I will have to take your cooking privileges away unless I am up to supervise."....I am so glad we have our humor !!!!
My husband Dennis has always been outgoing and can keep you laughing with some of his tales. I dropped him off at the daycare one morning when I went to work. I never have been the best driver but now I have to do all of the driving. He has told me countless times to slow down even though I am usually going the speed limit. When I picked him up that evening, one of the workers said, "I want to see your feet." I had no idea what she was talking about and looked down at my feet. She said my husband had told them that I had small feet but a heavy foot.
We went out to dinner with my oldest and dearest friend and her husband. My friend and I are 59; her husband is 71. He does NOT have AD or dementia, but he never remembers that he repeats the same story to the same person many times over. Well, we’re all sitting in the restaurant, and my friend’s husband starts telling Sid a story he had told him the day before. My friend started to stop her husband, when I leaned over and said – “Don’t bother. Sid will never remember he heard the story.” So L. can tell his stories over and over again to Sid who will think he’s hearing it for the first time, and both of them will be happy.
TV executives have nothing to fear concerning summer reruns in my house. Sid can watch the same rerun three weeks in a row, and thoroughly enjoy it, because he never remembers he saw it!