“Give me one!”- There is a resident that has officially taken over my nickname “DeManda.” All during mealtimes, tv time, anytime, this particular gemstone of an 80+ year old demands things of me in the loudest, most monotone voice I’ve ever heard! (Similar to this.) She loves to yell “Give me one!” or “I want one” and will keep yelling until I decipher what particular thing she wants and have safely delivered it to her clutches. Typically her demands are in reference to a new bowl of cereal, a spoon, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Most humorously, DeManda often yells, “I want a lollipop!” I have no idea what her affinity for lollipops is all about but, I can honestly say that she is single-handedly keeping the Dum Dum lollipop business recession-proof! On this particular day, one of the volunteers, Bill, came in with his puppy, Daisy. The residents love when the little dogs come to the nursing home and especially when Bill puts the dogs in their laps to get a great arthritic pet-job. Often times, Bill will give the residents treats to give to the dogs. DeManda naturally demanded a dog treat to give to Daisy and after Bill gave it to her, he turned to chat with me about one thing or another. When we turned around, we caught denture-less DeManda vigorously chomping away at the imitation bacon bonanza! I should have known better. When asked how it was, Demanda reported,”it was delicious” in her scary yell-talk voice.
Black M.F.- One of the residents on my caseload has had multiple strokes (5+). He is also in the late stages of dementia (GDS = 7 for you Global Deterioration Scale users) and is predominantly nonverbal. He requires total nursing care, meaning he is bed-bound with very limited mobility. Despite his limited mobility and seemingly nonverbal characteristics, he sure gets his point across by yelling a bunch of nonsense syllables towards me when I come in to feed him his feast of a pureed diet with pudding thick liquid. After I position him as upright as possible to make him safe for eating, things really heat up and he yells sweet-nothings at me consisting of calling me an S.O.B. Sometimes if I’m really lucky, he’ll call me an M.F.S.O.B. (Who’s jealous of my serene work environment?) I’m pretty much unphased by it. I’m actually impressed that the guy can get anything out, given the number of strokes he’s had! Recently he has started calling me a black M.F. which is confusing for everyone! Well, one day he was really going to town swearing at me, so I remembered what my boss said about some study that reports patients with dementia really enjoying music, most notably songs such as, “Take me out to the Ballgame” and “You are my Sunshine.” I want everyone to know right now that if I get dementia I want everyone singing “Roll Out the Barrel” at my bedside in true Milwaukee-form! Tapping into my inner Glee fan, I started singing “You are my sunshine” to him and to my surprise he starting singing with me! He has a really cute voice when he isn’t swearing at me! I loved it!