Saturday, August 11, 2007

come out from behind there. you word, you!

[additional stuff added, 8-12-07, 10:30 p.m. check it out...]

uncle john was visiting mom when i went by today. john is her brother. 2 years younger than she is and about 2 years less progressed in the weirdness that alzheimer's must be for them both. he made a very interesting observation about his own mental acuity. he has noticed a growing inability to come up with a word in the middle of a conversation.

"uncle john, that happens to me all the time," i interrupted.

he continued...
"i've noticed that i'll stop in mid sentence to search for a word and eventually i'll come up with one that's almost the one i'm looking for, but it's not the one. it often has the same number of syllables, but i'm not able to just say it with...the...the...what's the word...see?'s happenning right now...the confidence?...i can't find the word right now..."

me: "so, it's like there's a part of your brain where your words are and some of them are kinda hiding behind others and kinda dodging your lips?"

john (smiling) : "you do understand. that's it exactly."

me: "when you were just now speaking, i had a word on the tip of my tongue. i was thinking you'd say, 'convenience' when you said, 'confidence'."

john (serious) : "yes, that was the word i was looking for."

---3 syllables. both work in context. but the one he was really trying to conjure was hidden somewhere in the synapses.


30 minutes later, mom and i are sitting downstairs watching the birds on the patio. every day she says something to this effect: "i call those pigeons. what do you call them?" or she might ask if those are doves.
but today, out of the wild blue yonder, she asked me if those were...penguins.


2 syllables. pigeons/penguins. birds. funny birds.
funny how the mind works, huh?


and now, for a bit of brevity. er, uh... i meant... levity.
yeah, that's what i meant.

(thanks, terri)

and please click here for some really cool penguins you can goof around with.
(i stole them from kaytie m. lee who borrowed them from


josephine terese said...

what if vickery towers had PENGUINS in the patio!!!
like north park used to (still does?) have the non-cold weather type int he pond in winter.
woooo THAT would blow those old folks' minds.

cornbread hell said...

i love it! i'll make that suggestion.

in the meantime, i added a silly penguin video at the end of the blog.

isis said...

I wonder if its only the words that get confused with alzheimer's, or did your mother think that the pigeons really were penquins?
great video!

cornbread hell said...

in this case, it was the words.

in fact, i can't think of an instance when she's confused *things* with one another.
that would be a whole different psychosis, i think.

(i'm not really sure if dementia is a *psychosis*, but the word seemed to fit.)

isis said...

either way it would be hard to have and maybe harder for the person caring for you..
You are a sweet son, I bet shes knows that.

Orange said...

Dementia works in strange ways. When my grandpa was in the nursing home, senile at about age 90, he wasn't always clear on who I was, exactly. He never remembered when my grandma had last been to visit him—she came every day unless she was sick, but as far as he knew, he hadn't seen her in months (so sad!).

One day when I was visiting, he seemed a bit foggy on who I was. But then he asked where I worked—was it 200 North Clark Street? He'd never visited my office at 200 North LaSalle, which was one street over from Clark, but remembered the street number and direction precisely, and retained his familiarity with that corner of the Loop.

cornbread hell said...

isis - your compliment is much appreciated.

at the same time, i'm reminded of a line from one of paulo coelho's books that goes something like this:

"when people praise us we should watch how we behave, because that means that we hide our faults very well. beware of the dangers of a false feeling of security."

orange - while North LaSalle and Clark don't follow my "no. of syllables theory" they were both early continental explorers in search of the mythical Northwest Passage...

yeah, yeah, i know...they're also streets one block apart, but i like my goofy theories better.