This is an essay by Joe, a member of the Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center Patient and Family Advisory Council (MATC PFAC).
Note: All views expressed are opinions of the author of this essay.
Holiday shoppers crowded Walmart as Fran and I had lunch at Subway. We had come from church with its warm, inviting atmosphere, good friends and good cheer. We had our shopping list.
Our neighbor had left a message the day before asking that we pick up two items for them when it was convenient. She called later to ask if we got the message. She wanted four sticks of essential brand margarine (not a spread) from Jubilee Market. A carton of 18 large white eggs was wanted, not a 12 pack & a 6 pack, but an 18-egg carton.
I finished my lunch before Fran. She was busy talking to people in nearby booths and wishing passing children a Merry Christmas. My new Oxygen tank was running low faster than expected. I excused myself to get the spare tank. Fran was still chatting happily upon my return. Excited people were so loud we could barely hear each other. I had to leave to get the shopping done. Fran would not come with me.
I hustled down a couple of aisles in the store. The cell phone rang. “Did you do the shopping yet?” No, would Walmart do? I was not in good shape. COPD treatment and Prednisone were taking a toll on me, including weakness, sleep deprivation, blurred vision, fatigue, joint pain, indecisiveness and shortened attention span.
Back at Subway, Fran simply waved –twice –when I tried to get her to leave. She was into the spirit of the season. I went back to shopping. The phone rang. “Did you remember about the margarine and egg carton size?”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Back at Subway, Fran was gone. I spotted her coming in from outside, then she disappeared.
After I got into a checkout line, I spotted her next to a guy in an elf costume who was singing Christmas Carols to little kids. Fran was having a fine time. Later in the car, she asked “Are you angry with me?” “Of course not,” I replied. She said, “I’m glad I'm not the reason you are upset.”
Back home, the dog had to use the grass. Fran held the eggs as I fumbled around with the apartment security system while holding the groceries and the dog’s leash. Inside the building, a happy crowd chatted excitedly in the hall. Balancing the egg carton on one hand, Fran joined them. Eggs went down. Dog went down the hall.
Upstairs in our apartment, my mood was not good.
Fran looked at me and said, “I just want you to know that I’m really sorry you dropped the eggs.”
Happy Ending: Egg count-- 4 lost, 14 just cracked, and the cookies were great! Fran had a wonderful time, her dementia at bay for another day.
Who dropped the eggs? I did!