While Dana and I were wrangling kids into the shower, Dad was sitting downstairs in the living room watching the news. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I only recently learned of the BBC America news channel. I've been subjecting dear old Dad to CNN for such a miserably long time. It may have irreparably harmed all of us in a subtle, unnoticeable yet mind-confusing, brain-washing way.
I think there may be some immediate proof of this after an episode we had tonight.
Dad often stands at the bottom of the staircase, waiting for someone to come out and see him. Most of the time he'll yell up, "Hello! I am here!"
"And I am here!" I'll reply. This seems to make him feel better to run through this routine every so often throughout the day. It grounds us some place in reality; we grab it for just a moment.
I have to beg Lily to please get out of the shower. She's very stubborn and so nonchalant about her belligerence that I sometimes find her frustrating! I find myself trying to bribe her with ice cream if she'll just get out of the shower. God, what am I doing? Then I try reasoning with her about how the water is getting too cold and how we have to keep an eye on our water bill. Neither of these approaches get me very far. Only I'm more frustrated and Lily is more smug. I resort to begging her to please get out of the shower already. After nearly dragging her out, we wrap ourselves in towels and enter the hallway from the bathroom. The door opens at the top of the staircase and at the bottom of the staircase, there was Grandpa Bob. Waiting. Lurking.
There we were in our towels, wet and dripping, kids whining.
Dad seemed distressed. "You better get someone down here right now. You ought to call the police..."
"Dad, what's the matter? What are you talking about?" I asked. I suspected he was watching something disturbing on the news. Sometimes it is difficult for him to discern what is happening to him versus what is happening on the television. This must be frightening.
Alzheimer's is frightening.
"There's a bazooka! There's a bazooka down here! You better come take a look at it! We've got big problems down here!"
"Dad! It's O.K.!" I tried to assure him. "You're just watching TV. There isn't a bazooka in the living room. I promise. Everything is O.K."
"I'm serious!" he said. He was very upset. Dana decided he'd go downstairs to get him settled.
A minute later I heard Dana and Dad laughing downstairs. It wasn't the TV this time. Dad has mistaken Dana's pool cue case for a bazooka...
"Boy, you really got me that time!" Dad laughed.
I am so glad Dad still has his sense of humor.