It’s hard sometimes to write about my dad’s Alzheimer’s from an objective perspective. Once I am there with him, I sort of enter into that world of a little bit crazy. So things don’t seem odd.
I don’t notice that my dad is up only long enough in the morning to take a shower with assistance, eat breakfast, and then return to bed. Or that he sleeps most of the afternoon away. It’s just the way it is.
It’s normal for my mom to coax him to roll over onto his back when it’s time to get up, and even give him a physical boost to make that happen, or for her to grab his left arm to assist him as he pushes up with his right. The whole routine of getting Dad out of bed is just that—routine.
So when we sat at the kitchen table working on his memory scrapbook together, it wasn’t odd to me that Dad trimmed the photographs in unique ways.
I wanted him to trim the excess photo paper from around the rectangular print I had printed out at home earlier. “Here, Dad,” you just need to cut along these lines around the square.”
He did that fine. And while I was distracted with trying to add color and decoration to the page, Dad continued to cut on the photograph. The square wedding portrait of him and Mom now had rounded corners across the top that cut off a section of each of their heads. The convertible they sat in as they left the wedding had been trimmed from the background at the bottom.
Dad likes using scissors. But since he cut the logo out of the middle of a pair of his shorts while he was wearing them, scissors have been put on the controlled objects list.
“Good,” I’d say, “I think you’re done with this one.”
Not much that Dad does surprises me, because I join him where he is.
But yesterday, Dad did surprise me. As I’ve mentioned before, Dad doesn’t say much anymore. Yesterday the only things he said were “your mother” when I pointed to her in a wedding picture and asked if he knew who it was, and “me,” when I pointed to a much younger version of him.
Then out of the blue Dad asked, “How is Mrs. Grote?”
He was asking about my mother-in-law who was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t respond for a minute because his question took me out of context. His question jolted me out of crazy and back into real.
“She’s doing okay,” I said.