Ch.169 Ron Begins to Recover his Sense of Humor
Nicole, the Director at Azura Memory Care, asked me to be the Master of Ceremonies (the “MC”) at a function Azura was giving in appreciation of all the people who participated in the recent Walk to End Alzheimer’s event. The audience would consist of residents, staff, family members of the residents, and walk volunteers. I nervously accepted, never having taken on that role. I was anxious for another reason as well: MC’s are supposed to be humorous, but I had mostly lost my sense of humor during the five years Pat and I encountered Lewy Body. As one of friends said, “Ron, you aren’t as funny as you used to be.”
I dutifully went online and found three good short jokes. Here they are:
- Two cows are having a conversation. “Mooooo,” says the first cow. “Darn,” the second cow thinks, “that’s just what I was going to say.”
- How are Nobel prize winners and farmers alike? They are both out standing in their fields.
- Two slices of bread were getting married. All went well until someone called for a toast.
These jokes were sure winners. However, in the pre-Lewy Body days I was good at making my own jokes, albeit mostly bad puns. I decided to try again. I set my goal at creating a gentle dementia story, the kind that mixes humor with a tinge of sadness. Here’s what I came up with:
Dick and Jane are in their 70’s. Recently Jane has started having memory problems. So, one day when Dick comes home and asks for a cup of coffee, he wonders if Jane will remember to bring it. She soon comes out of the kitchen with a perfect cup of coffee, to Dick’s relief. However, Jane also brings a large chocolate cake still warm from the oven. Please have a piece, Jane says to Dick. He tastes it and says: “Honey, this is delicious. But you wrote on the cake “Happy Birthday, Dick, and it’s not my birthday.”
Jane smiles a little and says: “Maybe not, but it might have been.”
[Now the story can end there, or you could add this line from Jane: “Eat it all, Dick. Tomorrow also might be your birthday, so I’ll bake another cake.”]
Why this story? Because I remember times when Pat tried to do something nice for me only to get it a little off, such as sewing a shirt button back on but at the wrong hole or cutting my hair haphazardly. I remember how awkward these situations became. I always tried to thank Pat for her effort; I never knew whether to encourage her to do more, on the theory that any activity that made Pat feel useful was good, or whether to gently discourage her from future attempts. I think in these two cases, I encouraged her sewing but discouraged hair cutting.
And now, as I grieve, I wish Pat were here baking my birthday cake.