Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Talking To Dementia Part 1

My sister (sitting down in front of my Dad, making eye contact with him): "Hello, Papa."
Dad: "Hello."
Sister: "I brought someone with me." - "Synthia is here."
Sister is moving so I can sit down in front of Dad. I take his hand, make eye contact with him and say: "Hello, Papa. I'm here."
Dad, staring at me, then turning to my sister: "It doesn't look like Synthia."
Pause. Dad looking at me again. 
Me: "I changed my hair, Papa. Do you recognize my voice?"
Silence. Dad staring at me, pulling his hand out of mine. 
I move from the chair to let my daughter sit down in front of her Opa. They make eye contact and I say: "Naomi is here, too, Papa. Do you recognize her?"
Naomi: "Hello, Opa!"
Silence. Staring.
Me: "Remember we call her Putchenut?" (Pʊt-tʃə-nʊt)
Dad: "Well, if you say it THAT way, then I know."
His first whole sentence in a while. He doesn't finish sentences anymore. Only very rarely.
The smile on my daughter's face - priceless. 
She moves to give room to my husband.
I say: "Sieghart is here as well."
Sieg: "Hello, Papa."
Dad: "Hello." 
Me: "It's Sieg. - Sieghart."
Dad: "Mhm."
Staring. Wondering. Scratching his head. Too many people in the room, perhaps.
We move back a little to give Dad some space.
At this point we're not sure if he recognized me or not. I hoped and prayed. I was told he most likely would not recognize me anymore. At the time it didn't matter. I still knew who he was. He was my Papa.