Saturday, September 5, 2009

Duping Dementia

Yesterday, my name mingled with the likes of Benedict Arnold and Judas Iscariot. I delivered my unsuspecting mother into the enemy hands of the bus driver.

The day started off like any other; begging and pleading (me), digging heels in and clutching the sheets like grim death (my mother).

“You know today is Friday, Ma, and Dan has people coming from work.”


“So we have to leave, both of us.”

“Where my goin’?”

“To the Dream Center.”

“I’m not going to the Dream Center.”

Though my mother loves the Adult Day Health Program in the heart of Worcester, there are mornings when she just wants to stay in bed. In her case, however, a day without structure and stimulation means another creep forward for our friend dementia.

Five minutes into the battle, I knew I had to change tactics.

“Alright, fine. Then come to work with me.”

“To do what?”

“I have a kitty sit and a dog walk,”

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” she said, whipping off the sheets and pulling on the pants I set out for her.

“The only thing is, I’m not telling the bus driver you're not going. She’s coming all the way from God knows where just to pick you up. You’re gonna have to do it yourself.”

“Fine, I will. It doesn’t bother me.”

I heard the bus about fifteen minutes later as it turned into our tiny dead end street, and the squeak of the breaks as it stopped in front of our house.

“She’s here, Ma.”

“Will you go tell her please?”

“I will NOT.”

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!”

“Stop swearing!”

Out went my innocent and unwary mother. I grabbed her pocketbook and jacket and followed two paces behind. Half way down our small driveway, she called out, “Robbie, I’m not going in today, I’m gonna stay here with my daughter.”

Shaking my head wildly and mouthing the word "no" as if tutored by Marcel Marceau himself, I got my intent across to Robbie.

“What's that, Jill?” she said, craning her head and cupping her ear as if she couldn’t hear, hence getting my mother closer to the steps of the bus. Beautiful!

“I’m gonna stay here today with Lisa.”

“Oh, come on! We’ll have fun today. Get in, and let’s blow this joint,” Nice touch, using one of my mother’s favorite expressions!

I patted my mother’s bum and said “Up you go, Ma. You’ll have a great time.” And before the poor old woman could get what was left of her bearings, I draped her pocketbook over her shoulder, slung her jacket over her arm, and nudged her up the third and final step.

Robbie gave me a big smile as the doors closed. We did a mental goal-line dance.

I’ve JUST started to feel comfortable using any means, honest or misleading, to get my mother to daycare. The benefit to her far outweighs the guilt I might feel. And if I have to go into the annals of family history as a traitor because of it, so be it.


  1. This one is darling! Sorry gotta comment on all.

  2. I'm so glad you liked it! It wasn't until about an hour after she had gone that I was able to see the humor in it :-)

  3. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” (Cute and I never knew that was swearing.) I love your initiative and smarts. And I'm glad you came to see the humor in it. It is important that you survive.

    Straight From Hel

  4. Oh yes, its a biggie - taking the name of the lord in vain. She says it a LOT! I am getting better at seeing the humor in things. Slowly but surely I am learning!