Here’s Your Sign: I have Dementia

Remember the Redneck tour guys, with Bill Engvall?  He would talk about certain scenarios and if the person was really acting dumb, he would make a smart comment and say, “Here’s your sign.” Like, if you have a flat tire, pull into service station and the attendant walks up and says, “Tire go flat?”

Here’s your sign.  Bill Engvall’s sign was “Stupid”, and I have made my fair share of “Here’s your sign” comments, trust me.  I have made statements that caused me to cringe after they came out of my mouth, and think, “Here’s your sign, Tina”, because I knew that it was sign-worthy. My husband could definitely tell you that I am sign-worthy a lot.

Today I needed a sign.  My mom and I took Dad to his neurologist for his 6 month appointment, and for the record, his doctor said he is doing well.  Well for my dad means he has improved from the drug induced Parkinson’s symptoms he had the last time he saw the neuro.  Dad is not as slow as he was, and is more alert, and that is both good and bad.  But overall it was a good visit.

But the doctor was a little behind today.  We walked into the office and my dad is not happy about waiting and is making conversation with the nurse and about the fish tank, and I am sitting a little away from him and hear the man behind me say, “That old man is too loud” and a few other things, and I am sure he was there for the same reason my dad was (dementia), but oh me, I wanted to JUMP OUT OF MY SEAT and beat him down!!!  How dare he call my dad an old man, and how dare he say “that old man is making too much noise”!  I was ready to kick some butt!

Until we have been sitting there another 20 minutes, and that man has been called back, and another man walks in, very slowly, and has a little (okay a big) belly, and my dad says, loudly, “You’re too fat, man”, and my first instinct is whipping my head around to Dad and saying “DAD!!”

Here’s Your Dementia Sign.  I want to hang a sign around my Dad that says “I have dementia, and I am a person. I was a chiropractor who helped thousands of people realize their full potential. I once adjusted 484 people in Nigeria during a mission trip. I raised 3 very successful, loving, bright children, who are in turn raising bright, loving children. I loved God, and worshipped Him. I sometimes say things out loud that you want to. I was a person who loved, laughed and lived to the fullest.  I have Dementia, and now I am not myself.”

I texted my younger brother the interchange, and we laughed about it, and he texted, “Don’t let them get in a fight.” We still laugh a lot.  Because we cry.

We took Dad out to eat afterwards; Waffle House was our first choice, but wouldn’t you know it, they were closed for a deep cleaning at 3 that afternoon, so we went to a Wendy’s that was in a gas station, and lo and behold, Mr. “That Old Man Is Talking Too Loud” and his wife were sitting at a table in the restaurant.  REALLY???

And of course Dad had to sit down right by them, not because he meant to, I think he just picked the first place he saw.  But the wife was filling out all this paperwork and I just began to feel sorry for her, because what if they are just beginning the journey we are on?  It took her the whole 30 minutes we were sitting by them to fill the paperwork out, and it makes me wonder if her husband has what my dad has, and in that case, here’s my sign: COMPASSION.

Because the man my dad said the fat comment to, he walked in by himself.  But a few minutes later an older woman walked in and the man immediately said, “This article says that you shouldn’t marry someone that forces you to eat eggplant.”  And the lady said right back at him, “I have never made you eat eggplant.”  He laughed and they continued talking, and I could feel the love.

Love, it seems, is the key. But compassion is the lock that love opens.  Because love and compassion allow growth, and without that, well, here’s your sign.

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