Alzheimer's disease is a deadly serious topic, and deservedly so. But sometimes laughter is the best medicine. I recently posted some funny stories about things my Romanian soul mate, Dr. Edward Theodoru, did when he had dementia. Today, I'm going to share three more stories.
"Bring Me Vodka!"
Ed had always been a prodigious vodka drinker. And as he became more and more impaired, his drinking increased considerably. However, when he entered the award-winning Alois Alzheimer Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was -- of course -- not allowed to have any alcohol.
One evening when I was leaving after a visit, he sweetly said to me -- in his Romanian accent and in flawed syntax -- "Marie, please. Br-r-ring a bottle of Absolut tomorrow to me."
I knew a big fight was looming.
"Ed, I can't. You're not allowed to have vodka here."
"What do you mean?" he asked. "I'm an American." (He was so proud to have become an American citizen.) "I can r-r-really anything I want to have here!"
When I continued refusing he became livid and told me, "That's okay. I will find someone else to get it for me. And believe me -- I won't forget this!"
Later that evening, he called me and was very sweet -- as though nothing had happened between us.
"Marie, please," he asked. "What's the address of this place where I am lee-ving?"
I thought it was a good sign that he wanted to be oriented and I told him the address. He slowly repeated each letter and number, which led me to believe he was writing it down.
As soon as I got off the phone it hit me. He's going to call his driver, Mr. Ellington, to take him to buy vodka. After cursing considerably, I called Ellington to alert him to the situation.
"Don't worry," he said. "I'll tell him my cab is broken down and it will take me a few days to get there."
Ed had just moved to the Center and I wasn't aware that they wouldn't let him leave without calling me first.
I phoned Ellington again after a couple of hours and found out that Ed indeed had called him. I had to admit I was a little pleased that Ed still had the ability to be sneaky. Then the next day I told the story to the Center's director and we both had a good laugh!
Getting Ed to Eat
Ed had always been a picky eater. He was 5' 8" and had never weighed more than 120 pounds. When he moved to the Alois Center he was down to 110 pounds. The aides had started sitting beside him at meals and spoon-feeding him. I think he loved the attention, but that didn't make him eat much more.
One day, one of the aides was trying to feed him some chocolate pudding and he was refusing. Not one to give up easily, the aide kept trying to get him to eat it. After awhile, Ed got a sly grin on his face and declared loudly, "I'll eat it if you eat it!" Then they both laughed heartily.
One day when I went to visit Ed, I found him in the craft room playing bingo with a few other residents. Not wanting to interrupt his activity time, I just sat down beside him to observe. One of the more impaired ladies was in a foul mood and was constantly complaining about the game in an ugly tone of voice.
I guess Ed had his fill of her and loudly announced in his booming bass voice, "I have just to say one word."
The young aide in charge of the game looked concerned and asked, "What is it, Edward?"
He looked straight at the unpleasant lady, pointed at her, and shouted out, "ENOUGH!"
The aide and I burst into laughter. And so did Ed because he was aware he had done something funny.
Note: For more stories about Ed read my book, Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer's and Joy, and go to my website, which also contains a wealth of information for Alzheimer's caregivers.
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