The Humorous side to Dementia and Alzheimers?

In 2014 we are committed to sharing fun stories, ideas etc, not all of which will necessarily totally relate to Pilates. Sometimes we may simply share interesting stories with our fitness and Pilates enthusiasts. There is a story I tell my mom about every three months, because each time I tell her, it’s all brand new to her. Mostly I like to tell her the story because she laughs her head off.  Mom would be quick to tell you she doesn’t have Dementia, or Alzheimer’s, but instead has been diagnosed with a condition called, “Mild Cognitive Impairment.”  The bottom line, without wasting too much time here, is that her short term memory is not good, and her long term memory isn’t the best either. This, however, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a great sense of humor.  That has gone nowhere.

Each time I re-tell her the story she begs me to write it down and share it. Heck, she has even (morbidly) asked me to eulogize her with this particular story when the time comes. It’s that good.

In 2010, Mom had torn her achilles tendon. After rehab and getting out of the wheelchair, she was pretty unsteady on her feet. My brother was hosting a big party in San Diego at ComicCon and mom was coming to that party through hell or high water, even though it was going to take a car, a train, a taxi and a lot of walking to get on this party boat. Wild horses couldn’t keep her away. We car pooled to a hotel outside of San Diego and walked to the pool. After lounging for a few minutes on the chaise lounges, she rose and said she lost her cell phone. “Mom, just stay here, I’ll get it for you.”  “Nonsense! I can walk just fine.” She limped off to her car. 20 minutes went by then 30. I was concerned, just as I was about to go searching for her, I see her being escorted by a hotel employee. She is limping and holding a large bag of ice on her face. “Mom! What happened?” She pulled the bag away and her lips were really swollen. It was a bit scary.  Her voice was deep and muffled through her puffy lips. “Ahh, F*c%! I fell. I was stepping out of the golf cart this young man was driving, and I fell.”  All attempts to get her to the hospital were shut down immediately by the matriarch. “Mom, I’m taking you to a hospital, you may have a concussion!” – “No! I’m not missing this party!”  5 minutes of arguing got me nowhere. “Okay, let’s get to your room, and you can shower, change and we’ll see how you’re doing. But for the record I think it’s a bad idea for you to try to wade into downtown ComicCon.”

Now, I’m responsible for transporting other people to this party too, meeting someone halfway, carpooling, meeting at a firm time at the train station etc.  Mom is dressed in a full length black Mink coat and looks great, except her face has swollen even more in the past hour. Her voice somehow a bit deeper, and every word coming out of those lips sounds just weird. Now, we’re a bit late and I’m in a hurry. I have a friend in the car with us, and we pull out and hit the highway. 10 minutes into the ride mom says, “Ahh F#&$! My shoe broke. I look back. Her shoe literally disintegrated. It didn’t break. “Mom, what the hell happened to your shoe?” “I dunno…it broke. These are my BEST shoes!” she cries. “Your best shoes? These shoes are 30 years old! You have to be kidding me!”Now, my patience is beginning to wear just the slightest bit thin. I flip a u-turn. “Where are you going?” she asked. “Back to the hotel to get you another pair of shoes.” – “Ah no, I only have sneakers.” she said. “Well, then you’re going to wear sneakers,” I cried out. “With a mink coat?!”
“Yup! With a mink coat. We’re late!”

I pulled into the hotel lot and asked for the key to her room. “Ahh f#&$!” She digs like a puppy through her purse. Just digging and digging and digging.  “Where’s the key?!”  She hands it to me, I run 15 steps before realizing she just handed me her AmEx card. “This isn’t a key, Mom!” – “Ah f#&$! I locked it in the room.”

I run like a cheetah to the front desk, explain the situation to the clerk, he runs me a new key and I take off for her room, passing the car. “I found the key!” Mom yells triumphantly. “Arghhhh!” I scream to myself. Inside the room, I find her only other pair of shoes, a ten year-old pair of white Reebok tennies. Oi! Are these ugly, I think to myself. Back to the car I hand them to her, and she was pretty game and only complained a little as she slipped them on her feet.  Full length black mink coat, big costume jewelry…and white Reeboks.

Miraculously we meet with the other following car only a tad bit late, and we all make it to the train station. We get out of the car and look at the where the station is. Up three flights of stairs, not an elevator in site. She looks at me, I sigh, take her arm and we trudge up those steps one at a time.  Finally up on the platform I find myself staring at her. Big, swollen fishy lips, long mink coat (do people still wear mink??), white tennis shoes with worn out soles and a chain link purse. She won’t look at me, preferring to stare off into space. My arms are folded, I’m tapping my foot more than a little agitated, wondering how I’m going to get this lady past all the masses and then…it happened.  I could hear it. It all went down in slow motion…

I heard the chain pop on her likely 40 year old purse.  In what seemed like slow motion, the purse fell to the ground…hit…and exploded into a million pieces.  I couldn’t keep my shock to myself finding myself simply saying, “What?! What?!!” – to which she replied, “Ahh fu&%!” My friend, that had witnessed the entire experience from hotel to the train, fell on the floor in tears with laughter. All I could say to my poor mom was, “You’re a very wealthy woman, why do you have such junky things?!” Typical mom, her reply was the best, “That’s my BEST purse!”

“Ah f#%&! is right!” Somehow we got through all of it and got to the party. There were over 400 people there celebrating my brother’s new business success. Mom puffed out her chest, and through puffy lips, and white Reeboks told each and every person there what a genius her son was. Yes…truly takes after his mom.

I love you mom…I’m so happy that you still find this story so entertaining each time I tell it to you. Even 4 years later. You’re the best.