Thursday, January 26, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
“Last night, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know. But I’m sure capitalism is to blame.”
He also proclaimed, “Marxism is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?
”I have given up listening to political pundits for a few months because they dissect ambiguity to death. Politicians make extreme, apodictic statements while speaking to a group leaning in a particular direction and then they must scramble to clarify when the position is reported to the general public. The complete picture takes too long to communicate.
Sound bites may be memorable but they leave the speaker open to various interpretations.
Families with a declining loved one grasp at reported sound bites. If they are not intimately involved every day, evaluation ranges from detached acceptance to criticism.
Families attempt to judge the primary caregiver without recognizing the ever present paradox. Especially when a second marriage pulls in unrelated adults who have spouses and who all swing on their own rope. The caregiver experiences enough stress dealing with the loved one’s contradictory behaviors. He or she does not need outside opinions from within the family.
When Dementia has been diagnosed each family member must recognize that they are now living with ambiguity. To deny the reality is to curse the primary caregiver. Distant relatives who rarely see the family member are often the most easily deluded.
A daughter caring for her father might say, “Last night I wanted to strangle Dad in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I don’t know. I’m so exhausted I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Grace was both normal and imbalanced. She was present in her chair but simultaneously absent from reasonable conversation. She could express preference, lapse into vacancy, and strike out in anger, all within minutes of each other.
Years ago we inherited an outside, calico cat who occasionally ventured into the garage. She perched on the stair rail where we would pet her. We quickly learned to lean in, reach for a soft stroking of her back and then raise the arm out of reach of her claws. I would give her two strokes and quit. I accepted the ambiguity of a cat who could tolerate only so much attention.
Dementia from alcoholism will force us to recognize ambiguity as the person ages. We never know if his reactions will be jovial or violent. It is a precarious way to live.
No one enjoys ambiguity. But the people we care for may force us to accept contradiction and paradox. They are both here and gone, a loved one and a stranger, affectionate and dangerous.