The name of this blog is “Dancing with Lewy”. As I mentioned in the last blog, I do believe Lewy was lurking in the background all this time, we just did not know the name of this insidious disease. We were still rolling with vascular dementia.
How scary this must have been for our strong, independent Dad. Little by little he was losing faculties and independence. We were headed downhill on a roller coaster that wouldn’t stop.
Life at The Plaza
In spite of Dad’s condition, the Plaza was a great place and life was relatively peaceful. Dad could get meals, they had activities and nursing care on site. I had many conversations with the nursing staff – we knew each other by our first names the first week.
There were a few “bugs” to be worked out. The first day they knocked on Dad’s door at 8 a.m. and came right in to the bedroom to give him his meds! Oh, he was not happy, and with his halting speech, I heard about this intrusion! He said repeatedly he was just going to get himself a little bungalow to live in.
I talked the timing through with the nurses, and they agreed they could wait until later in the morning to give him his meds. They were very nice and caring people.
Dancing in the Street
One day The Plaza had a celebration. The local police department closed the street, they had snacks, a band and a street dance. My dad shuffled over to the nurse “Ann”, and together they “danced” in the street. It was an amazing sight to behold, and a happy day during “the storm”.
In spite of his initial annoyance, Dad enjoyed going to the meals where he could talk and laugh with people. Ever the helpful guy, he watched over Mabel, an older lady in the building using a walker. He would make sure Mabel would get back to her apartment after dinner, and even escorted her to a couple events.
Lola from the Old Neighborhood
Coincidentally, Lola, one of our old neighbors from childhood, lived in The Plaza. Lola and her husband had raised their family across the street from us when I was growing up; I was friends with her daughters. Lola was a staunch Catholic. Here was the perfect opportunity for Dad to convert her to Protestantism – and for Lola, who was as tough as him – to convert him to Catholicism!
I’m sure it was a friendly exchange keeping them both on their toes. They would debate and laugh together, and I saw a little twinkle in Lola’s eyes when she’d “confront” Dad.
Often, he would meet up with Lola and the other gals to watch baseball on TV.
We had good times. Dad attended our church, and he naturally made friends. We’d go out to eat, and he would joke with the waitresses (even though it was the same jokes we had heard 100 times). The Rum River was across the street, we’d stroll in the park until Dad got too tired.
One day we were walking in our small town and he spotted a beading store. He got very excited – apparently beading had been one of his side hobbies at one time.
Looking back, it was a pleasant interlude. On one hand, I’m glad I did not know what was to come. On the other hand, had we known about Lewy Body dementia, could we have done anything to stave off the symptoms?
The Lewy Body Dementia Association shares “10 Things You Should know about Lewy Body Dementia”.