Fun Lovin' Cannibal
Updated: Sep 16
You never know what Scooby Snacks might appeal to Dementia.
While Dementia ain't never done us any favors, as of late it's not throwing many punches either (well, not counting all that blood last weekend). While Mom won't be taking home the crown in a Miss Congeniality contest anytime soon, she has been mostly content with her world and those of us in it. With a few exceptions...
Bored with our usual treks in the Willamette Valley, I decided to cross the Columbia River and venture into eastern Washington to see what there is to see. Hwy 14 is a beautiful drive with the sun gleaming majestically off Mt. Hood's snowy peaks in front of us, flanked by the rugged grandeur of the river gorge to our right.
We stopped at Beacon Rock State Park, where I discovered a paved ADA trail through the luscious forest and golden meadows of the park. Woot! Out came the wheelchair in which I unceremoniously plopped Mom into for the 1-mile loop, certain she would be delighted with the splendors of nature.
She didn't want to sit in the chair. She threw her sunglasses into the brush in anger. She mumbled dementia expletives (you know the ones where you can't identify their words but are quite certain the intent is a whole lot of damnation).
Towards the end of loop she seemed to forget how much she hated it, and even smiled as Mr. Bones wagged his tail in front of her. But by the time we got back to the van she had soured on Mother Nature, and Eldest Daughter, all over again.
Too bad for her. I got a great workout pushing that old broad into a tizzy in such a beautiful setting. We'll be back, Beacon Rock!
The following day's tour on the Oregon side of the river was better received. She sincerely enjoyed the view of Vista House and the gorge at the Portland Women's Forum State Viewpoint, even though I couldn't get her to raise her head for the camera.
Closer to home, we recently found out we've been unknowingly hosting Dementia TV from our front window. A friendly (but socially distant) chat with our neighbors across the street revealed that they regularly look out their windows to see what's going on in ours as Mom spends a good portion of her day moving chairs and tables (and anything else she can carry) around in front of the big picture window in the living room.
Those neighbors are currently on vacation so I've been talking to Mom about working up a new act to dazzle them upon their return - maybe something a little racy? With dancing! And top hats! She has yet to show much interest in the idea.
We also got an unexpected thrill when Dan Jaworski, a Stumped Town Dementia follower on Instagram, chose to dedicate Mile 56 of the upcoming 2021 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona to Mom. Dan was recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, and, to benefit all of us touched by dementia, has made his participation in this competition an Alzheimer's fundraiser.
We were so touched that he reached out to include Mom as one of his mile dedications we pitched in to boost his fundraising efforts. If you're feeling an urge to splurge you too can contribute on his Alzheimer's Association fundraising page.
Dan has every intention of being the First Survivor of Dementia (although, I'm guessing he'd settle for 3rd, or 10th, or 3,262nd if that's how it shakes out when a cure comes along!). Count Stumped Town Dementia on your team, Dan. We're rooting for 'ya!
Annnnndddd... We are still battling falls. However, they no longer seem to be blood pressure related, just frailty induced.
Actually, we aren't battling them so much as getting used to picking our Humpty Dumpty up and putting her back together again. We've moved as much "Danger Furniture" out of her living space as possible (sharp corners, hard surfaces, anything that swivels), blocked the stairs (ghetto gate is still working!), and keep eyes on her every chance we get. She still prefers motion over sitting or lying down so she's giving us a run for our money trying to keep tabs on her. I'm pretty sure she's determined to leave life with a shuffle instead of a bang. <sigh>
And lastly, the other day while Mom and I were enjoying a peaceful drive through the sun laden landscape, Mom reached over and took my hand and brought it to her lips for a kiss. Except, she didn't bestow a kiss. Instead she tried to sink her teeth into the back of my hand. I laughed and said, "Mom? Whatcha' doing?"
She didn't reply just changed her target and bit down on my thumb! I mean, really bit down! I had to wrench my hand away from her while my laughter evolved into shocked giggles.
That's a dementia first. I have no doubt my cat looks at me lovingly because she's fantasizing about how tasty my eyeballs are, but I never thought that one day Mom would be sizing me up for an afternoon treat.
So, our fun lovin' cannibal is doing okay. Partaking of some pleasure, eschewing other opportunities offered, and apparently ready to Scooby Snack on me at the drop of dementia.
P.S. If you are looking for ADA outdoor opportunities for you and your dementia person, check with your state's park service. Depending on your state you may have to do some digging for your specific area; while Washington has a great map showing all ADA options throughout their state parks, I was unable to find the same for all of Oregon, but I did locate this list that focuses on ADA trails within the Portland Metro Area.