Sunday, August 23, 2015

"My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you."

Does the title of my blog sound familiar?

It should, it's a famous line from the movie, Yankee Doodle Dandy starring James Cagney in 1942. A classic for sure and "my mother thanks you" is recognizable as one of the top 100 movie lines of all time.

There's something magical about movies, isn't there? A great escape from the cares of this world. Something to spur our imaginations. Most of us remember the first movie we ever saw at the drive-in movie or local theatre. We remember lines and words from our favorite move script. We remember the soft, romantic kisses played on screen, and even closed our eyes and dreamed that it was us experiencing them! We remember the name of the date we were with the first time we held hands in the dark. At the mention of popcorn, our minds and senses immediately recall the smell of this buttery, salty snack, as if the bucket were sitting in our lap.

Movie theatres have become something more than "watching a move" in recent years. From a drive-ins of the 50's where you wore your PJs and ate snacks made at home, to an indoor theatre, to comfy theatre chairs, to 3-D and HD to even having your dinner served to you while you watch a movie.

This past Friday, Mother experienced one of these eat-in theatres for the first time. I'm not sure which was more of a surprise to her, an eat-in theatre or a movie about Minions! There's a part of me that thinks she probably understood their incessant, muffled chattering. She absolutely loves animation and the buzzing to and fro of comical cartoon characters (the cartoon channel is currently her favorite TV choice).

To a person with Alzheimer's, new experiences are often daunting, unfamiliar places frightening. Fear easily overcomes their reality. Uncertainty and despair become tag-a-longs. I'm sure that's what Mother might have experienced this past Friday when she and her caregiver embarked on their latest adventure. A simple request such as, "sit down Joan" can be overshadowed by confusion while experiencing too much stimuli. There are some studies that tell us that the patient with Alzheimer's develops tunnel vision, or at a minimum a distorted view of the world around them. Recently Joan has been telling me that the people staring in a TV show actually live and work at her facility! How bizarre is that? I simply shake my head in agreement that I've also seen them walking around the nursing home campus. But I digress...

For now I'm thankful that Mother is still mobile enough to take a couple of outings each month. And, I'm thankful for something else - my own ability to explore and see things through fresh eyes. There's always the fear that I too, may develop this awful disease. Research is inconclusive that it's hereditary, and I'm certainly not at a point in my life where I want to know if my DNA pre-disposes me to Alzheimer's.

In the meanwhile I'm thankful for safe nursing home facilities, Joan's private caregiver, the staff who daily care for my mother, my friends and co-workers who love me in spite of my bad days, a wonderful job that allows me a productive diversion, a husband who always has my sanity and best interests in mind, a church that hugs me and prays for me, but most of all a God who slathers me and lavishes me with more love and grace than I deserve.

Today I am grateful. My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you and most of all I thank you for all you have done to make this journey more bearable for all of us.

Thank you all!

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