Friday, October 14, 2011

Not Nearly Normal

As told by Terry:
I was standing at the partially opened front door and saw Milda and Lizzie standing outside. I said, "Hi Milda," and then she rang the doorbell. I thought that a bit odd, but maybe her reflexes were a bit slow today. They both came into the house, and Lizzie asked me, “Is that YOU, Twin Sister?” When I told her no, she asked, “Where IS my Twin Sister?” I told her, “She’ll be home shortly.” As she walked through the living room to the kitchen, she told me “You don’t belong here.” Nonetheless, I reached for her tray of newspapers and magazines and handed her some of them at which time she exclaimed, “Oh THERE they are!” She walked directly to her favorite seat in the house, which is at the kitchen table, sat down, and started her paper browsing. Milda left. I brought her more of the papers, and she said, “Oh hi Honey” and sat there talking to herself for a while frequently asking, “Where is my twin sister?” She seemed satisfied for a few minutes with “she’s on her way home” before she’d ask the question again. She appeared content.

Enter Twin Sister.
Lizzie seemed OK with seeing me when I greeted her at the table, but she would not stand and give me a hug. Seemed like AD Lizzie to me! She started in with, “Are we going out?” Yep … AD Lizzie to me! I got comfortable for the evening, poured myself a glass of fine red, and laid on the sofa to relax a bit. All the while, my sister sat at the table,talking her usual gibberish with statements such as, “They shouldn’t do that to my Twin Sister.” “She didn’t say that did she?” “Did SHE tell you that?” Seemed like AD Lizzie to me all right!

Now Milda had told me she was “independent” about getting dressed this past week. So I encouraged her for her early evening bath, and Lizzie was OK with that idea. However, she showed no clue as to how to undress for her bath. I will say she screamed a bit less than usual through the process, but once out she did not know how to even begin to dress herself. Seemed like AD Lizzie to me again!

Back at the kitchen, Lizzie began asking about going out for dinner. I showed her the pizza I had bought, and she commented, “Oh I can’t eat the whole thing” as she began preparing herself to dive into the unbaked pizza. I said, “Whoa there … in a while, OK?” When it WAS time to eat, Lizzie had a difficult time eating by herself tonight, and I even had to feed her to get it all in her tummy. She kept saying things like, “I’m not stupid you know.” “I can’t eat any more.” “I’m not in the NFL you know.” “I’m not hungry.” She seemed like AD Lizzie to me throughout the meal.

Once we got her early evening medications down her throat, Lizzie is now relaxing comfortably at the table with a pen in hand as she is folding and writing in papers. I am sitting nearby, and every time I cough, she gives an exaggerated startled response and asks, ”What was THAT?” I’m surprised she even hears it.

I tell the folks at the group home to let her do this, but I never see any newspapers there for her. I sometimes take one over, and even then in a few days it is gone. They like to keep the house very neat, but geez … Lizzie can stay busy with this activity for HOURS and be very very happy doing so.

Last night I did lots of research online about what Milda had told me about Lizzie showing a change in her independence. What I learned is that this type of positive change is common; lasts a few days; might preempt a significant decline in cognitive functioning.; and is called a “nearly normal” episode. If this is all true, surely I missed these good days, which I feel sad about.

But you know what? I love Lizzie so much, and I was so happy to see her tonight that I don’t care where she is in this journey of hers … I’m just glad she’s home with me for the weekend!

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