It made her laugh.
The only good thing about the lead up to today’s colonoscopy was that it made a good story to tell my dear client that had just been put into a care home.
Anne has Alzheimer’s and I’ve worked with her for ten years. I’ve seen the steady decline. But I’ve also seen that our shared strange sense of humour has remained. We laugh at the same things and most of the time they’re ridiculous.
Settling someone into a care home can be difficult. But it’s the best decision for Anne’s well-being and I wanted to help with the transition. Dementia and change don’t mix well. It causes confusion to run rampant.
So I sat with Anne in her new little room, held her hand, and hugged her close when she cried.
Through the tears she’d ask me what she was doing here. I told her about her mild heart attack and the care she needed. When she asked if I could stay with her for dinner, I told her I wasn’t able to because I was going to have a colonoscopy the next day.
I laughed and said, “They stick a camera up your bum!”
This made Anne giggle. “That’s ridiculous!”
I would stand up, bend over, point to my bum, and we would laugh even harder.
Laughing opened the door to better things to chat about.
But in less than ten minutes she would start to cry and ask what she was doing in this strange room.
I would repeat my same answers. We would both end up laughing.
The cycle happened again and again.
My only concern was to make my voice sound like this was the first time I was answering the question. I would keep at it as long as it made Anne laugh.
Anne’s son was in and out of the room trying to organize things and get the move sorted.
An hour into my visit he had had enough, “Are you telling Mom that stupid story again?”
#1 Yes I am.
#2 It is a stupid story.
#3 It makes her laugh.
#4 I will tell it for as long as it’s needed.
No doubt the look I gave him conveyed all this information.
I’ve been asked if it takes a great deal of patience to do this for someone with dementia. That’s never been an issue for me. No patience is required when you get to tell a joke that makes someone laugh.
It all comes down to intent.
And as for that colonoscopy? Three years ago the same procedure left me buckled over in pain and rushed to the ER. (It made a very good story for a blog) This time the doctor and staff were more than ready to make sure things went smoothly. I was nervous as hell, but hoped for the best.
Three hours later I was back at home feeling more blessed than I’ve been in a long time.
Then the sun came out and I got in my daily 10k walk.
Life really is good.