About Me

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A constantly curious and melancholic wanderer...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I know I am on my farm when...

  • There is a sign in the kitchen saying "Welcome to the Nuthouse"
  • I wake up with cows mooing and a rooster telling me it is way too early to be awake
  • Everyone talks at the same time, all the time
  • There is very bad cellphone reception
  • I see photos of our childhood where we all wore exactly the same clothes (called The Christmas Collection)
  • My grandfather and grandmother comes to visit every night at exactly the same time and sits silently and amazed by all the activity going on around them
  • We eat non-stop (3 big meals and millions of snacks in between)
  • I see my "Thinking Spot" from my childhood (two trees that used to be small and have a space to sit in between to think, but now have grown up(just like me) and has no more space in between for me to sit and think
  • I walk out the door and can look into the future (it really feels like that when I can stare into endless fields stretching out forever in front of me)
  • Geese try to attack me at least once a day
  • We make the same jokes as 10 years before with each other and still laugh as if it is the first time we've ever made that joke
  • I can smell pig poo when I poke my nose out the door
  • We fight and tease and talk a lot of nonsense, but we all know we love each other more than life itself
  • We have quiet time with the Lord every evening (when you are younger and it is in your favorite TV program's time, this does not make you happy, but now I realise that this is one of the most special memories of my childhood and something I miss so much when I am not here)
  • There is 8 dogs (1 that can smile) and 45 cats (this number drops whenever a dog gets hold of one off them) and 1 horse (we used to have a Spanish donkey, but she sadly passed away)
  • I feel completely peaceful and at Home...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dementia 103

Mrs S:  "Charlie, where is my piano?"
OT: (looks around in the room, no-one by the name of Charlie is in sight)  "I am not sure Mrs S"
Mrs S:  "Oh Charlie, you should have heard the music I played.  People were clapping hands, they were singing along, they were dancing...those were the days."
OT:  "That sounds wonderful Mrs S"
Mrs S:  "Charlie dear, no-one cares about us here.  I don't even know where the toilet is, I don't even know what I am doing here."
OT:  "I am so sorry to hear that Mrs S.  I can show you where the toilet is.  Would you like to go now?"
Mrs S:  "No Charlie, I need to play the piano now.  Where is my piano?"
OT:  "I'm not sure Mrs S.  Maybe it is at your home?"
Mrs S:  Do you think my dresses and hats are also there Charlie.  Oh, how I miss my dresses and hats"
OT:  I'm sure it is all there Mrs S"
Mrs S:  "Charlie, do you still love me like you used to?"
OT:  "Off course I do, Mrs S.  I love you a lot. Nothing has changed."
Mrs S:  I'm going to bed now Charlie.  I'll see you tomorrow.  Maybe I can play you some piano like the old days."
OT:  "Sounds wonderful Mrs S"

Dementia 102

OT:  "Hallo Mrs R.  Are you going to join our reading group today?"
Mrs R:  "What?"
OT:  "Our reading group.  A lady reads different articles and stories and then you have discussions about it.  You will enjoy it, because you love interesting articles and reading, don't you?"
Mrs R:  "Yes, I do.  But I'm sorry, I cannot join your reading group."
OT:  "Why not Mrs R?"
Mrs R:  "Because... I've lost my mind..."

Dementia 101

OT:  "Catch the balloon Mrs H..."
Mrs H:  "Oh lovey, I am worried, so so worried"
OT:  "What is wrong Mrs H, what is worrying you so much?"
Mrs H:  "Sweetie, they took me this morning without asking and I didn't have time to bring everything and my cupboard keys...I don't know where my cupboard keys are...I don't even know if my cupboard is locked"
OT:  I will go find your keys and lock your cupboard for you Mrs H. No worries"
Mrs H:  "Oh lovey, you are so sweet.  Thank you so much"
OT:  "It is no trouble at all Mrs H"
Mrs H:  "Oh and lovey?  Can you please look if anyone has any cake on them?"
OT:  "Sure Mrs H..."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Joie de Vivre

So today, as I walked past my favourite porter busy smoking his pipe (64 years of age, also missing a few teeth), I greeted him with my normal chirpy "Morning J...uhm, Favourite Porter" (confidentiality must be kept at all times). He looked at me with his baby blue eyes (as he calls it himself) and said..."You know what...you've got so much Joie de Vivre, it amazes me".  I gave him a puzzled look and then he proceeded to give me my English lesson for the day (something that happens on a daily basis).

 "Joie de Vivre" is the French expression, often used in English to describe somebody with a cheerful joy for life. It literally means Joy to Live, but used in a dfferent context it can also be seen as a zest for life." (I looked this up on the Internet and it was almost word for word how he explained it to me)He ended off with saying:  "You really brighten the lives of the people around here".

I felt so honoured and touched by his words.  Especially when he then proceeded to tell me his life story...
A story about a young man with dreams and ambition whose life was destroyed by alcohol.  How he travelled the world and had so many opportunities and experiences, but cannot remember most of them. How he would have to chew gum and put eyedrops in his eyes to try and hide the fact that he was under the influence 7 o' clock in the morning.  How he ended up on the streets without any money or support untill somebody told him about Rand Aid's rehabilitation centre .He stayed on after rehabilitation and started working as a porter at the frail care centre.  His polite manners and amazing vocabulary as well as his sense of humour is what makes me like him so much.  He often stops me and asks me random questions like "Are you content with life in general?"  "Do you think I am as handsome as the people say?" etc.  He makes me laugh daily.

After he told me his story he says thoughtfully..."I haven't stopped dreaming though"   "One day I am going to teach underprivileged children proper English and leave my mark behind in the world"  He gives a shy smile (hiding the pain in his eyes) and starts smoking his pipe again...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My sad stalker...

Okay, so I have mentioned my stalker before...(90 years old, only a few teeth, very very inappropriate), but maybe I should mention a bit more about him...
He actually used to be very handsome from the photos I've seen in his room, he had the most beautiful wife that looked like a moviestar (she has the same colour hair as me and is very petite - explaining his fetish with me), he used to be a mining engineer and he used to be a very good artist.  He drew me the other day (after asking if he can draw me naked first) and he is still pretty good.
So yes, he is extremely inappropriate with me and says horrible things that he wants to do with me/to me on a regular basis, but he is one of the people in the frail care centre that gets the most from OT (and not just because he can hit my bum every 2 minutes or try to kiss me from time to time) and he reminds me daily that these people had a whole live before they ended up in an institution.. 
Before he had frontal lobe dementia that took all his inhibitions away, he used to be a someone...He used to be a boy who loved building puzzles and saw the beauty in everything and therefore started drawing.  He used to be a young gentleman in love with a beautiful wife thinking he is the happiest man on earth.  He used to be someone's son, someone's husband, someone's dad and someone's best friend.  And because of all these reasons I forgive him for trying to kiss me or lick me in the neck or tell me in graphical detail what he will do to me in his room, because he cannot help this.  This is not all he is, there is more to my stalker than just what the eye sees and the ear hears... 
My favorite conversation with him was when we talked about suprises one day and I asked him if his wife ever suprised him.  His answer was..."She suprised me every day..."

My job description...

Here follows some of the tasks I do on a regular basis.  Yes, I did study 4 difficult years to do these specific tasks...
  1. Pouring the tea:  I can pour tea and coffee for 25 people in 5 minutes.  I also smile while doing it.
  2. I am fully capable of decorating halls for Christmas Lunches, Carols by Candleligth and Valentine's Teas.
  3. The above mentioned activity includes:  designing menu's, invitiations, organizing light entertainment in the background, taking food to the tables and removing the plates and dirty glasses, decorating hats and putting them on diferent old people's heads for competitions, and smile the whole time while doing it.
  4. I make very difficult choices weekly about the movie that we will show this week...Casablanca/ any Julia Roberts movie/any musical (old) movie or Andre Rieu in some or other country (oh how they never ever get enough of Andre Rieu)
  5. I remind people daily what day of the week it is, where they live and sometimes who they are.
  6. I sometimes walk with a dog around the facility and see how people's faces light up when they realise there is a dog and it is not just me coming to persuade them to come to OT (for some actual OT groups)
  7. I sometimes assist in stock take in the shop, buying Jewish bread for the Shabbath, controlling a jumble sale of clothes, chairs etc of the old people who went to Heaven, as well as anything else you can possilby want me for.
  8. I pep talk the porters (who are all above 75 themselves) to convince more people to come to some of the actual OT groups.
  9. I pretend to know what I am talking about to OT students every now and then.  I also smile a lot and then they give me chocolates at the end of the block because it was so relaxing and stress free for them.
  10. 10% of the day consists of running away from or dodging a lick in the neck from my 90year old stalker.  Fortunately I never need to go convince him to come to my OT groups.
  11. 90% of the day I hug and kiss and listen to about a 160 old people, telling me the same stories as the day before, asking me when I am going back to school and saying how sweet it is that I am helping them out in my school holidays and reminding me exactly how much I love old people...
  12. Oh yes...and off course I smile continuously while doing all of the above :)