The other day I took Dotty to Walmart. She drove the motorized shopping cart like a champ. She just whizzed around the store right behind me. From one end of Walmart to the other end.
Most of the time when we go to Publix, Dotty stays in the car while I do the shopping. The aisles in Public are two tight and often congested. If I let Dotty drive the cart in Publix it gets her all bent out of shape. Totally disconcerted. Not worth it.
Yesterday the news comes on the television and they announce that that Powerball lottery is up to $212 million. I mention this to Dotty. She perks up. Reaches into her pocket for some money. Pocket empty she is ready to jump up and go get five bucks. Dotty wants 5 Powerball tickets.
I tell her to calm down, we are not going for the tickets right now. This satisfies Dotty. She smiles at me.
Several times I mention to Dotty that we are going to get some Powerball tickets. Each time it is brand new information. The number $212 million gets her all excited and she is ready to rock.
Finally its time to go to the store. Once again, I explain to Dotty that the Powerball lottery is up to $212 million. She just looks at me. I say, I thought you wanted five Powerball tickets. She tells me she does. I say, well, where is the five bucks? She reaches into her pocket and peels off a five dollar bill and hands it to me. Away we go.
When we get to Publix, I ask Dotty if she wants to go in to the store. She says no. I ask her if she wants to go in and get the Powerball tickets. I tell her its $212 million. This pumps her up; but, not enough to get out of the car and walk. She reaches into her pocket for some money. I tell her, you already gave me the money. I ask her if she wants to pick the numbers or let the computer do it. She has no idea what I am asking. I tell her computer is the best way to go.
I go into the store. Buy the Powerball tickets and some scratch off tickets for Dotty. Then I start shopping.
While I am in the store I run into Henry. He is one of the assistant managers. Love the guy. Henry always has a smile on his face and starts every conversation the same way -- how's mom? Henry is going to school, college, part time while working full time. I don't think Henry knows this - he is going places. Works hard, great personality, always smiling. I have to keep track of Henry. I want to see what happens. Its gonna be good.
I get hung up at the deli counter and now it is taking me longer then I expected. I am not worried because I know Dotty is not going anywhere. Nevertheless, I want to get back to the car.
I check out and as I am heading out of the door of Publix -- on my goodness. There is Dotty standing right there. I say, what are you doing. She says, I can't see the car. Its parked about 40 feet away right in front of her face. I say, why didn't you go in the store with me. She then tells me she went in the store. I think yeah sure.
Dotty proceeds to tell me she bought some tickets. I ask what kind of tickets. She can't tell me. I think, no way she made it into the store. She reaches into her pocket. Nothing. She reaches into her other pocket. There it is. The Powerball ticket. I wish somebody was there with me. I wish someone had taken a picture of my face.
I am startled, stunned, and I can't believe my eyes. My brain is short circuited.
Consider this. Dotty walks like a snail. She got out of the car, walked across the traffic lane and went into the store. And bought Powerball tickets -- all on her own, all by herself.
Five years ago when I took Dotty into the store to buy lottery tickets she had no idea what I was talking about. She didn't know where to go, and she didn't know what to do.
Today, Dotty gets out of the car. Walks into Publix. Finds the lottery ticket desk and buys herself three Powerball tickets.
How did she find the lottery ticket desk? Did she ask someone? Or did she use Bunkhouse Logic? Is Bunkhouse Logic genetic?
When she found the lottery ticket desk how did she know what to ask for? Powerball is new in Florida. Dotty never bought a Powerball ticket in her life. Did she noodle it out on her own, or did the girl at the desk help her figure it out?
Why did she buy 3 tickets? Is that all the money she had in her pocket.
I messed up. I don't know the answers to any of these questions. I was so startled, so stunned, I didn't think to go back in and find out what happened. I really wished I had done just that. Alzheimer's caregiving is difficult. Things happen and your head starts spinning.
We get in the car. I am still stunned, amazed. I am definitely happy -- way happy.
I ask Dotty, how much is the Powerball lottery. She doesn't know. I say guess. She says five million? I tell her $212 million.
On the way home I ask her what she is going to do if she wins the lottery. She can't really tell me. I ask, are we going to take a trip? She tells me definitely. I ask where? She can't tell me. In the old days she the first words out of her mouth would have been Vegas.
I suggest to Dotty that we take a trip to Parma, Italy and get a nice big piece of parmigiana cheese. I tell her we will go up town and get a nice big fresh piece of the Parmigiana Reggiano cheese. Dotty has no idea what I am talking about. She does like the idea though.
I ask Dotty if we are going to tell anybody about our trip. At first she says, no. Then she decides we are taking Joanne with us.
So meanwhile here I am. I have no idea how Dotty made it into the store. If she didn't have the ticket I wouldn't believe it was possible. How did Dotty remember the Powerball lottery? What motivated her to get out of the car, walk, find the desk and get the ticket. How and why?
Its an Alzheimer's miracle for sure.
If Dotty starts talking about moving to south Philly, I am going to get worried. Why? Because now I am thinking she just might go for it.
In the meantime? I am so happy I can't believe it.
Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,300 articles with more than 9,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.