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That’s what we call being full of shit.

June 1, 2012

Daddy and I always have called each other often, but the conversations only last a few minutes. He phoned me a lot when he still was working, told me he loved me and raced back into the mill. Now that I’ve lived on my own for several years and experienced real life, I feel like I finally can connect with Daddy to a deeper degree – however, his condition prevents our relationship from developing toward the level I crave.

Overall, I would say Daddy isn’t much of a phone person, although until recently he frequently called his childhood best friend and a few Army buddies for regular updates. Perhaps because of anxiety or depression, Daddy doesn’t phone them anymore.

I’ve increased my trips home but want to hear Daddy’s voice more often than a couple weekends a month. So I contact him almost every day. Discussion topics are extremely limited because I’ve been forced to adjust to not asking Daddy many questions, as inquiries would require him to rely on his memory. One of the most common expressions to kickstart a chat is “How was your day?” But Daddy usually can’t remember what the day entailed, so he always provides the same answer with slight variations, such as “Oh, we went to the gym, walked the dogs, worked in the yard. It’s been great.”

And when I inquire about dinner parties with family or friends, Daddy delivers believable accounts, like “It was good, period.”

I realized how much anxiety questions can cause when I prodded Daddy to tell me a humorous Army acronym he taught me in March.

“Daddy, what was that funny Army acronym?”

“I don’t know.”

“You know, the MF one.”

“I can’t tell you, I don’t know.”

“It’s something motherfucker.”

“Oh yeah, REMF. REMF.”

“Right, rear echelon motherfucker! Thanks!” (This slang military term refers to non-combat forces.)

I felt inconsiderate and guilty after forcing Daddy to strain to remember, particularly when I heard the anxiety in his voice. From now on, I am going to present him with mainly statements instead of questions.

Daddy and me at the Varsity Jr. on Memorial Day

Daddy and me at the Varsity Jr. on Memorial Day

For example, on Monday I met my parents halfway in Kennesaw to pick up my cat MacGyver. Mother and Daddy were nice enough to host their grandcat while I visited my fiance’s grandparents and extended family in Florida. I already had let Mother and Daddy know how much the change in routine clogged my bowels.

“I lost three pounds when I finally doo dooed,” I notified Daddy at the Varsity Jr., where we ate lunch of course.

“That’s what we call being full of shit.”

I’ve read to focus on what your loved one with Alzheimer’s can do, not what he can’t do. And Daddy still has a phenomenal sense of humor. Plus he clearly isn’t a REMF.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Timber permalink
    June 16, 2012 12:01 pm

    I agree that we probably shouldn’t probe too deeply into Daddy’s immediate memory, but what about the exercises he’s supposed to be doing? Shouldn’t they incorporate some efforts at recall?

  2. June 16, 2012 1:24 pm

    I’m not sure how helpful the study was – if the study is what you’re referring to. Emory still has to compile all the data and call Mother and Daddy back for a final consultation. As of now, all I know is that the study was “boring.” That’s how Daddy describes it.

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