DARCE FARDY: Meeting the most interesting people

We have a mystery in this house. I do nothing and am always tired, wiped out even. You can guess who does all the work.

I just finished reading The Leisure Seekers, a novel about a couple in their 80s, the husband with severe dementia and his wife with an incurable health problem. The husband more or less goes along for the drive, a long trip along the famous Route 66 in the U.S.

Despite the objections of family they decide to take to the road in their RV. He would drive because she couldn’t and she would tell him how to get there. They drove for days. She often asks: “Don’t you know how to get there?” Sometimes he pretends he does. She is just not convinced “all the memories he has floating in his head are lost.”

That book, as well as a second one, Bob’s Poems, were offered to us by a woman we had never met who brought them back from Florida. We will call Marg to come to retrieve the books and have a cup of tea, as we’d like to see her again.

It was a tough read for me, poignant but funny, and I soldiered on to finish it.

I also read a story on “deterioration of thinking ability and memory and navigating the stages of dementia.” I don’t know my stage. Not all of the advice provided to those with dementia fits in my case. Perhaps that’s because I have a partner in Dorothea.

I don’t know what visiting friends observe but they are never uncomfortable.

You may remember in earlier columns about drug-testing clinical trials I volunteered for. I experienced wild nightmares. When the offending pills were dropped the dreams disappeared but I lost my appetite. So there.

Many Canadians will know who Jann Arden is, a funny Canadian comedienne who frolicks on television with the likes of Rick Mercer. In a new book, Pathos and Humour — Feeding my Mother, she writes about caring for her mother while continuing her career. Her mother, who lives next door, has flows and ebbs. A wonderful read, but a tough one for someone with dementia.

Recently I hung around with 94-year-old Jean, who’s still plenty sharp. She wanted to meet me. I concluded she wanted to show off how sprightly she is.

Donna and Dorothea howled when she bounced out of a chair while I was struggling to stand up. She is lucid and content and speaks lovingly of her late husband.

Dorothea and I are meeting the most interesting people since I went public with my dementia.

And life goes on and I enjoy most of it.


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