Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dementia Can be FUN! Part Two

Well, this weekend found my grandpa back at the hospital after another stroke. We're not yet sure if he'll be able to go home or if he'll have to be transferred to assisted living, so at this point all we can do is wait and see.

I haven't had the chance to speak with him since it happened which means I am unaware of the quality of his speech, his thinking and memory. I doubt it's improved his ability to remember though, so I'm sure there are some interesting chats ahead.

Case in point: I have to remind my grandparents every time I speak with them that I'm having a baby. I only do it about once every three times now because each call goes something like this:

Ring, Ring, Ring...

Grammy Net: (in a southern Georgia accent) Hello?
Elizabeth: Hi Grammy Net, it's Elizabeth.
GN: Oh, hi. How are you? (Sidenote: I'm almost certain she doesn't know who I am at this point in the conversation).
E: Kyle and I are just plugging along, doing our thing.
GN: KYLE! (She now recognizes who we are as a couple because she loves my husband... I'm still not sure at this point if she knows who I am, however). How is he doin'? You know, he is just the sweetest boy. They are hard to come by like him these days, you sure are lucky.
E: (now comes the fun part) Well, I'm sure you'll remember that we're having a baby.
GN: A what?
GN: A baby?!? Are you kidding me?!
E: Nope. Not joking! We really are.
GN: Well this is certainly a surprise (at this point I nod into the phone because they have "known" since December). Who's the father?!
E: Kyle... remember? My husband?
GN: KYLE! How is he doin'? You know, he is just the sweetest boy. They are hard to come by like him these days, you sure are lucky.
E: He's doing good. Hey, can I speak to Papa George?
GN: You want to speak to George? You know, something happened to George. I can't figure out what it is (she has very little recollection of his health issues over the past 2 years). Let me see if I can get him.

At this point, I hear her plod along or I hear the sound of the dial tone. If she hangs up on me, I usually wait a couple days to call back. Occasionally, she'll actually remember that (1) I've just told her I'm having a baby and (2) she needs to hand the phone to my grandpa. If these two things have happened, the phone call progresses as such:

Papa George: (in a Texan accent) Well hi there, Ginny!
Elizabeth: It's Elizabeth, Papa George. Not Ginny.
PG: Oh, Elizabeth! I'm sorry, I don't know why I did that. Is there some reason I associate you with a Ginny?
E: Yeah, she's my sister, remember?
PG: That's right. So, your grandmother (this is a good sign because he's referred to her as my aunt in the past) tells me you're pregnant?
E: Yup. Due in August!
PG: (in a very stern voice) Well I hope you'll be getting married, young lady! How are you ever going to graduate?
E: Papa George, remember, I graduated in 2006. And I am married. You were at my wedding? It was 3 years ago.
PG: WHAT? That can't be right. You're still a teenager.
E: No, I'm actually almost 28. Pretty crazy, huh?
PG: (long pause) Time sure does fly, Ginny.
E: Yes, it does, Papa George, it certainly does. Well I have to go, I'll call you soon, ok? And take care! Love you.
PG: Love you too, Ginny. And say 'hi' to your mom and dad for me (please note there is no mention of Elizabeth in this sentence... Still not sure how I got ranked last in my family).

And then I call back about a week later and we have the exact same conversation if I'm lucky. If I'm not lucky, a usually drawn out call happens, where the same pleasantries and questions are repeated over and over and over again.

Naturally, I'm Ginny the entire time. 

So ends Part Two of our three part series, Dementia Can Be Fun! Tune in next time when I follow up with an unexpectedly racist joyride and more.

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