By Charles Towne
I had been working in my cactus garden in the front yard when I decided to take a break, perhaps get a drink of water and do a little writing. No sooner did I open the front door than all of my mental alarm bells went off. I can imagine that between the time that the Titanic struck that infamous iceberg and the time it sank into oblivion there must have been a cacophony of alarm bells ringing, whistles whistling, and horns horning.
Oh, I’m sorry, horns don’t horn they blare. That’s what it was like in my head except for the fact that my horns were definitely horning.
What could alarm me this way you might ask, so I will tell you; the house was full of smoke and my dear sweet loving wife was sitting on the sofa staring through a pall of smoke at the T.V. just as calm as can be. The smoke was coming from the kitchen. Nan had attempted to fry an omelet. The omelet was slightly burned. No, the omelet was not slightly burned it was charred black! No, excuse me, I misspoke, it was not charred black it was sort of cremated. You might imagine that it can’t get any worse but if that is what you imagine your imaginer is busted because it could definitely get worse, much worse. Enter the real problem shrouded in black-stage right amidst dramatic music. The real problem came when Nanny threw a towel over the skillet as it started to smoke. Now smothering the smoking skillet was not a bad idea, but most people would most likely have turned the stove off at the same time. I walked into the kitchen just in time to see the towel burst into flames.
This little episode is one of many in my life as my wife’s caregiver. Nanny is really a wonder. I never know what she is going to say or do next. She smiles a lot, always has. (Her mother told her the reason she smiled a lot when she was little is that she had gas! I like to think she smiles a lot today not because she has gas but because she is happy.) She has been in the nursing home for a little more than a year now and to be honest with you I miss her being at home a lot but she is well cared for and happy most of the time and there is no danger of burned omelets where she’s at. Well, there is always that danger but if it happens it will be the cook that is the culprit and not my wife.
One evening a friend’s mother asked Nanny if her mother was still alive. Nanny, without missing a beat replied; “No, she was on a cruise ship, fell overboard and the sharks ate her.” This was definitely creative on Nanny’s part and it might have been a bit of wishful thinking because at the time her mother was definitely still alive. When dealing with a loved one suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s dementia it is wise to be prepared for the weird, the wonderful and the whacky, and to know when it is prudent to relinquish control.
And make a difference, today
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.