Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Purveyors of Despair

OK. Let's just start with the fact that I am totally f***ckd up. My brain eludes me. It works improperly. It is defective. It frustrates me. I try to give it what it wants, but I just don't have the nurturing touch. So I have been on this journey of peace and understanding. Like marriage counseling, or an EST retreat. Things go OK for awhile, but invariably, the relationship decays, we disagree about petty things--and the fear and frustration become overwhelming. So we turn to the professionals, again. Somewhat jaded, or perhaps just beaten down by the rigors of dealing with dementia, we seek a neutral ground, where we might be able to try new things, take some of the fear and frustration out of the setting, and try to find a path forward. I have this feeling that I have written this all before--and that is because the encounters with the dementia docs might not have the broadest range of responses...and because the box we are in is less than expansive, when you get right down to it. So the job is how to respond to the professionals, maintain equilibrium, and try to find ways to retain sanity and good humour, while also trying to learn what the disease is teaching me and how to respond to what I am experiencing.
As a bit of an update (to self), I tried my best to remain calm and un-emotional at yesterday's chamber of horrors meeting, but it was an unqualified disaster. I was almost instantly flooded with red hot anger, as the same drills and impossible questions that I had heard before, but augmented now by a whole new battery of drills and memory tests, trying to look at other areas of memory and experience seemed to pile on, until I just snapped, and walked in blind anger and frustration out of the ward and almost made it to the last door. It was a humiliating and pointedly incisive tableau that I am ashamed to have created, while at the same time it was all that I could do to control my urge to run or smash or do a Jack Nicholson. Nurse Rat-shit was there, and the chief had the 200 pound machine held just barely overhead, ready to blow a hole in the wall and make a break for...oblivion.


  1. "What's beautiful is all that counts, pal. That's ALL that counts." -Jack Nicholson

    Can only imagine what the memory tests are like. We get them all the time in an average day. But the machines and the white smocks and the cold chrome and steel. I get so nervous whenever I have to have any kind of test as the years roll by. I try to carry on conversations with these people like were stranger at some party being held inside my body. Trouble is, if the party sucks, you can't exactly leave. Somewhere between panic and courage we crawl on. But as Jack Nicholson also said "anyone who talks in metaphors can shampoo my crotch."

  2. Well, there may be a place for crotch shampooing, with the right setting and co-ed bathing, something like a Weir Creek excursion, rolling in the snow after good ski in and an illegal smile...