Dementia Land

Journeying through the looking glass,
Into dementia’s topsy turvy world,
Here truth is stranger than fiction,
Sitting comfortably now, boys and girls?

Follow me down the rabbit hole,
Into Alzheimer’s strange new land,
Full of strange quirks and whimsies,
That you’ll never understand…

Here husband and I are Tweedledee and Dum,
Waiting on mum-in-law – White Queen,
Who’s either grinning like a Cheshire Cat,
Or a Jaberwock – fearsome and mean…

Each time we’re all around the table,
It’s a tea party with the Mad Hatter,
Deciphering her riddled talk,
Working out what this time’s the matter…?

Her illness seems to shrink and grow,
Who knows what goes on inside her head?
We both bend reality to her whims,
We’re just painting white roses red…

We both could just cry a pool of tears,
Always running in this Caucus race,
Never know what what’s round the corner,
Or what next will be the case…

The wine is calling out, “Drink Me!”,
The future fills me with pure dread,
This crazy, cruel world of dementia,
Screams out now: “Off With My Head!”

She’s lost her gloves and lost her fan,
Someone has stolen her tarts,
We’ve all lost touch now with reality,
We’re falling like a pack of cards…

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Limitations

If you gave me a whole vine of grapes,
I wouldn’t see the wine,
If you gave me a whole pile of yeast,
I’d not see bread rise over time…

If you gave me a whole field of oil,
I wouldn’t see the fuel,
And given a whole cloud of mould,
I would not penicillin tool…

If you gave me a whole beach of sand,
I would not see the glass,
And if an apple fell upon my head,
I’d not think “gravitational mass”…

If you gave me a notch and tinder,
I’d not think “fire” on my own,
And with a pile of cells and wires,
I’d not know to craft a phone…

Over millennia of history,
Though many years of trial and error,
All of this has been brought into being,
True testament to human endeavor…

Thanks to clever folks who came before,
So far we’ve all managed to get,
Which for me raises the question:
Why still no cure for dementia yet….?

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Family Tree

I wish Michael Palin were my uncle,
And David Attenborough my granddad,
Think of the travels we’d have been on,
The adventures we’ve had had….

I wish Toni Collette were my sister,
And Olivia Coleman as well,
Two fantastic actresses,
Think of the stories they could tell…

I wish Tim Minchin were my cousin,
Eminem and then Doc Brown,
What a family gathering we’d all have,
When these three rolled into town…

I wish Richard Dawkins were my uncle,
Some might think it a bit odd,
I’d have been raised in evolution,
And the lack of any God.

Wish Lynda Bellingham were my auntie,
And Aunt Delia I’d also got,
They’d fight over the cookery,
Oxo cubes or homemade stock…?

I wish Maggie Smith were one grandma,
And the other – Judi Dench,
And Julie Walters were my aunt,
And let’s not forget Dawn French!

Billy Connelly and Michael Burke,
Debbie Harry and John Cleese,
Oh, I wish they all were members,
Of my extended family tree!

But there’s one person that I can’t replace,
Without whom I just can’t do,
Of all the people in this world,
Husband – I’d still choose you

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Driving Test!

Hoorah!!! I passed my driving test!
On second attempt, I must confess,
But never mind – passed yesterday!
The traffic Gods must’ve looked my way,
No disasters, but a few close calls,
Managed to navigate them all,
A near close encounter with a bus,
Avoided that without a fuss,
Some git cut me up on carriageway,
I dropped back – kept safe distance away,
At one point my car started to beep,
Struggled my nerves right then to keep,
Remembered the handbrake – pushed it low,
(Knew that from a few lessons ago),
Talked my way through the whole exercise,
Find it helps me the steps to verbalise,
Didn’t panic, didn’t scream or cry,
Kept my cool – somehow got by,
Tried to take it all within my stride,
Parallel parked – a tad too wide,
But it must have been good enough,
Cause even after all that stuff,
No serious flaws, minors just eight,
Examiner said I did just great,
Was so relieved, up on cloud nine,
Plus gagging for a glass of wine,
Met my husband all beaming with pride,
Oh the irony! Our car’s just died…

 

 

driving2

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Confabulations

Confabulations and tribulations,
When you take mum-in-law outside of her routine,
Confabulations towards relations,
To be believed, it needed to be seen…

Confabulations – ran out of patience,
Hearing mother-in-law history re-write,
Confabulations, false declarations,
About how we spent the pre-funeral night…

Confabulations – her limitations,
Meant she forgot last night in the hotel,
Communications and explanations,
About where we the last night did not dwell…

Confabulations and protestations,
That we stayed at sister’s home – all of us three,
Confabulations, and affirmations,
That she thought that she could use the company…

Confabulations and false fixations,
Are testament to her declining mental health,
Confabulations, misinformation,
If didn’t know better, would have believed it all myself!

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Where Are We…?

Where are we? We’re in Yorkshire, Mum.
That’s a long way! Why did we come?
Doesn’t my sister live up here?

Yes, that’s why we’re up, my dear…

We could see her and her husband too!
He’s dead, Mum – we did just tell you…,
Oh, the funeral – oh yes, I recollect,
Don’t know how I managed to forget…

But I didn’t bring up funeral clothes!
Yes, Mum, you did – we packed all those,
But where are we going to stay tonight???
At the hotel we’ve just come from, alright…?

But I’ve not bought any cash to pay!!!
Don’t worry Mum – we sorted that today,
And what time’s the funeral, do you know?
And do you know the right place to go…?

Yes, Mum, don’t fret – we’ll get you there,
On time with the right things to wear,
Nephew and nieces will be there too,
I’m sure seeing them will be nice for you…

Nephew? Niece? Why are they up this way?
For the funeral, Mum, we did just say…,
And where are we? We’re in Yorkshire, Mum.
That’s a long way! Why did we come…?

Repeat ad nauseum for two days long,
I told my husband it would all go wrong,
I told him this; I told him “no!”,
At least I can say “I told you so….”.

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Dear Family

Dear family – please no more dying,
These funeral’s are really trying,
The when’s the where’s and all the whying,
Mum-in-law’s frets and non-complying…

Dear family – please stay alive,
A four-hour or more long drive,
Is more than we can all survive,
Please for a longer lifetime strive…

Dear family – it might sound mean,
But death’s outside of mum-in-law’s routine,
She can’t cope with the change of scene,
On a repeat event I’m not that keen…

Dear family – she’ll want to pay respects,
But will be in a whole two day-long fret,
The death itself will soon forget,
The funeral too won’t recollect…

Dear family – I can’t ask you more,
Please don’t my heartfelt plea ignore,
It’s hard, I know, but I do implore,
You to stay on this side of death’s door!!!

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DVLA Logic

I failed my driving test last week,
A very near-miss though – so to speak,
So very near, but still so far!
Pulled out too close to another car,
So one “serious” and “minors” five,
Still, strong proof that I can (almost) drive!

They say the best drivers pass second time,
And I appreciate there needs to be a line,
To ensure only competents are on the road,
But now to the point of this little ode:
Retest MIL – see if she does that well!
(She won’t – I’ve seen her; I can tell).

The driving test is rightly tough,
But feels a bit wrong and a bit rough,
That the rules to new drivers must apply,
But those with dementia need not comply!
Can’t you understand my real frustration?
J’accuse!! It’s age discrimination!!

I’m a new driver, but I’m not impaired,
Her dementia has been many times declared,
Why do you test my skills and not then hers?
I’m a learner, but she is still worse!!
Why is it that for me and husband’s mother,
It’s one rule for one; one for the other…?

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Highway Chaos

Up gears – DVLA – accelerate!
Get your foot up from off the brake,
Thanks to you, without a doubt,
We’re stuck on an endless roundabout….

All I see is one hundred Stop signs,
I’ve written you now so many times,
Always get from you the same red light,
You don’t have the real hazard in your sight!

We’re at a cross roads – oh, please just go!
Or Give Way for once and don’t say no!
Please indicate to us what’s in store,
No Stopping / No Waiting any more…

This communication is one-way it’s true,
Can’t you hear me sounding my horn at you?
You’d not act even could you see first-hand,
Mum-in-law with white stick and red band!

There’s danger ahead – believe you me,
Can’t you the twin flashing lights see??
Put an Emergency Stop to her on the road,
Please enforce your own Highway Code!!!

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Judgement Call

I should not talk ill of a new widow,
That’s not quite the done thing, I know,
But each call from MIL’s sister is the same,
With her not-so-subtle hints of blame…

She’s one of those do-gooding churchy types,
Into Women’s Institute and the Girl Guides,
A strong opinion on every score,
Most often when it’s not asked for…

She insinuates that we’re at fault,
Mum-in-law’s decline should do more to halt,
That we’re not quite caring as we should,
As if we’d not fix it, if we could!!!

She tells us mum-in-law keeps calling her,
Which we know is a huge pain, for sure,
But we can’t stop her; can’t be there each day,
Why not just block her number – like we say????

She’ll act surprised, like it’s so hard,
To know why from her she gets no birthday card,
Bend our backs to keep her safe – and happy too,
Writing her cards? Got better things to do!!!

Has you got home help in? Yes, dear, long ago!
Has she had her flu jab? Well, not yet, no…
Should she be driving? Ask the DVLA!!!!
Be home alone…? Why, would you like to stay?

Look woman! Sorry your husband has just died,
Our tongues to bite, we both have tried,
But don’t dare imply that our roles we shirk,
You know we both also have to go to work!!!!

If you’re so concerned, and now lonely too,
Take her up to come and live with you!!
Fix her dementia? Well, good luck with that!
More like a constant game of whack-a-rat…

It’s not like you don’t understand,
You’ve seen dementia at first-hand,
The hypocrisy you show is quite exquisite,
When your mum had AD, you’d never visit!

We do our best – more than you did or do,
It’s your supposed “Christian duty” too!
So stuff you and your “do-gooding” tones,
Stay “invisible” – just leave us alone!!!!!!!!!!!!

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