Today, Dad and I were sitting in the front room. He was "watching" TV, I was reading a book on my Kindle. I put quotation marks around watching, because most of the time he seems to just stare at the TV. Not really comprehending what is going on. He will remark once in a while about a game show, but mostly he just sits.
Today he was actually commenting on shows. He was laughing in appropriate places. He seemed to get what was going on. He hasn't done a lot of that. It was fun to actually talk to him about what we were watching. Honestly, I wasn't sure what we were watching, so he was ahead of me on it. We were watching some M. Night Shyamalan movie. I only know that because I saw it in the credits at the end. It was about the plants and vegetation of the earth attacking and killing humans with a poison vapor they were emitting into the air. I was reading at the same time so I was getting confused about the plot. Dad, on the other hand, not only was keeping up, (with an M. Night Shyamalan movie) but asking questions that made sense. One scene, the hero, Mark Wahlberg, got separated from the heroine, Zooey Deschanel, and a little girl who had been with them. Wahlberg was running alone and Dad asked, "where are his girls?"
I looked up from my Kindle, "I'm not sure, Dad."
"Well, they aren't both his girls, one is a girl the other....." he lost his train of thought, "well, the other isn't his girl." He was trying to say that the other was a grown up woman, but couldn't find the correct words. This was amazing! Though he lost track of his words, the fact that he was keeping up with the movie, and understood what was going on in the (M. Night Shyamalan) movie was incredible.
The movie ended and another was coming on. For days now I have been trying to get Dad to go outside. Just go out and sit on the porch. Or come out when Willie and I were planting herbs the other day. He wouldn't do it. At one point I even brought his electric chair out to the front room, hoping he'd get in it and come outside. He refused, and I drove his chair back into his room hitting the bed and the wall along the way. He likes to complain about not getting out, but when we ask him to come out with us, he says no.
Today, the movie "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" came on. I was still reading my book. It is called "I Will Never Forget." About a daughter and her journey with her mother, as her mother faded deeper and deeper into dementia. As you may be able to guess, the book has caught my attention and kept it. I also recently read "Chicken Soup For The Soul, Living With Alzheimer's and Other Dementias." I recommend both, especially if someone you love is or has fought the fight with this disease that rips the very soul from an otherwise familiar body.
Suddenly, Dad sat up in his chair. "Hold the door open for me," he said out of nowhere.
I looked up and said, "ok," not sure what door he was talking about. I looked at the bathroom door, but it was open, and he never needed my help with that.
"I'm going to go out and sit on the porch." He said.
I was completely taken aback by this. This is the first time he has taken the initiative to go outside. I expected him to ask me to go get his electric chair. He didn't. He stood up, grabbed his walker, and WALKED outside to the porch. He walked over to one of the outside chairs and sat down. HE WALKED OUTSIDE! He has not done that since last summer. He only did it then because he had to. We didn't have the ramp yet, and had to walk down the three steps in the front of the house when we had to go to his appointments.
Then he started talking about wanting to go somewhere. This is something else he does and then changes his mind when you offer. Which I did, and he did change his mind. "And he's back," I thought to myself.
"We could drive to Algona next week if the weather cooperates," I told him.
His eyes lit up, "Ok," he said. He grew up in Algona. His parents and brother Don, are all buried up there. He hasn't been up there in several years to visit their graves. He has said several times he would like to, I guess I'll find out next week if he really will or not. I'll make the plans anyway, and see what happens.
He sat outside for about 45 minutes, until "nature called," as he puts it. I worried if he would make it to the bathroom on time, he did.
I still wonder if the coconut oil is helping his brain function better. I hope that is what it is. I don't know how long it will last. I just plan on enjoying the time while it does.
My other thought, and this one scares me, is this might be the calm before the storm. It is a fact that people with dementia quite often will have a short period of lucidity shortly before they either slip into an even deeper dementia, or shortly before they pass away. Sometimes, it is a very short time, even just a few short minutes, long enough for the person to say goodbye to his loved ones. Sometimes it can last a few days. Mimicking a remission of sorts, and just as suddenly as it starts, it ends.
I hope it's the oil, but I am preparing myself for the other.