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57 Wedding Ring

Posted Oct 01 2008 9:08pm
Mayatime:12.19.13.1.16 3 Cib 14 Kayab
Yesterday was Friday, so I had lunch with my parents (99 restaurant). My dad likes the free popcorn. My mother and I have taken to ordering his food for him which is just much easier. He can read the menu okay and pick something (have I had this before? What do I like here? No, that's not it.) but it's hard for him to explain to the waiter.
Our appetizer came (potato skins) and I was putting one on my dad's plate when suddenly he freaked out. " Oh no, it's gone, oh no, I'm never going to get it back, I've had it for 30 years". He might have been crying a little, I couldn't tell. He didn't have on his wedding ring. And BTW, he's had it for 39 years, but who's counting? He had been working at his friend's store rolling change and he washed his hands and took it off in the bathroom. He was convinced someone would steal it. He pushed away his plate "I don't care about any of that, I have to go get it right now" and he started getting up to leave. He was probably going to walk. (Only a couple of miles, but along Route 5-very dangerous.) He was getting louder and louder and my mother and I couldn't calm him down. The chances of someone stealing his ring from the bathroom of a hole-in-the-wall store are very slim. Thank god for cell phones. I whipped mine out, called the store, and of course his friend had found the ring and put it away in an envelope in the cash register for my dad. The ring was safe. My father doesn't comprehend cell phones AT ALL so he couldn't understand how I knew that Rick had put the ring away for him. Probably I should have just driven him down the street to get the ring, but at least he believed me and calmed down to eat his potato skins. But then he forgot to use the sour cream and he was upset and tried to put all the sour cream on his last piece. (You can imagine the mess.) He always tries to give me the last piece even though the platter comes with 9 and we each get 3. And he always tries to share the sour cream although my mom and I don't like it.
That night I went over around 6:30 to do a puzzle. It was a lighthouse puzzle. I thought I'd done it before (I do every puzzle twice, once with Grandma on a Sunday and once with parents on a Friday) but I hadn't. It was really easy--500 pieces, we finished a little after 9:00. My dad likes to put together all the birds and animals so he did the seagulls and put aside a piece with a butterfly on it. Then he said "his favorite" show was on. My mom thought it was some car auction show he likes, but it was actually the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds" with Nicolas Cage. He was talking quite loudly at the TV. When he talks to the TV, like when he talks to my birds and the cats, he talks okay.
When there was a commercial he'd come in to view the puzzle, let out a couple of juicy farts ("What? Why are you laughing?" "Nothing.") and wander off again. He swears he isn't farting. I just make my mother light a candle as soon as I get there. Some of them are not only juicy-sounding but eye-watering. I don't know HOW he can't know. Usually when he gets out of booth at a restaurant he lets one or two rip also. So gross, but what can I do? I kinda wish we could make him wear a T-shirt that says "I've got Alzheimer's, please forgive me." But that would make him look like even more of a freak.
My mother told me she got in a fight with him over something and she was yelling at him. I wish she wouldn't yell at him; I told her to take a walk or something but she says I can't know what it's like, and she's right. But she said later that day he laughed at her and said "wanna fight again?" and she thinks he might enjoy it. When she tells me something like that, or I see it for myself, I know my dad's still in there.
My thing is, if he ignores me or doesn't hear me or isn't in his head at the moment, I don't push it. I say, "Hey dad......Hey dad.....Hey dad..." or whatever and then I continue on with whatever I was doing. My mother and my grandmother will push him, "Berta's talking to you" and all he'll do is look at me and say hello like he didn't know I was in the room, even if I've been there an hour sitting next to him. Sometimes if I call him Bob he listens. It's weird to call my dad by his name but whatever works right? When we finished the puzzle last night I called him about five times and then I was just going to leave when he finally said "Did you finish it?" and came in to look. Then he says "don't throw it away" meaning don't take it apart. If it was up to him every puzzle we'd ever done would be shellacked and on the wall.
My mom said yelling at him works sometimes. But how? It works at that moment, but it doesn't work in the future. He won't remember "when I do this someone yells at me." It seems like rubbing your pet's nose in its mess--it just pisses off your pet.
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