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Your Alzheimer Story

Jeff Fourney, father living with Alzheimer’s

​My father is one-of-a-kind. Anybody who knows my pops has a story about him…a truly unique man, kind and generous with an amazing sense of humor. He also has Alzheimer’s. My Mom, who is equally wonderful and is the backbone to our family and does a bang up job keeping the wheels from falling off this situation, recently sent me an email…
Here’s her account of leaving LARC (an adult recreation center for people in this situation)… We have to laugh at life. If we don’t. It’s done.

*Just to clear up-my Mom is Joanie, and my father is Dan.

Here it is:
I arrive at Larc and quickly ask for help getting people to/in the car. I am to drive 4 folks to various locations. I see Jim first…

Me: Hi, Jim. You’re coming with me this afternoon as your car broke down in Lafayette & Joan is getting help.
Jim: O….kay…(drawn out)

I suggest he sit in a chair outside. He aims for it and wanders off.(next comes Dan out the door. )

Me: Dan…take Jim….we are all going home together.

I push him on…get Jim.

Me: Chris…I am Joanie..and I am driving you home today.
Chris: mumblemumblemumble NO mumble NO mumble
Me: Joan is having car trouble and I am driving you home.
Chris: mumblemumble NO mumblemumble

NO She solidly stays seated. Director Beth comes by and gets Chris up and moving towards the door.
I grab Ted and steer him to the door.
We all make it outside the door & gate.

Me: my car is being fixed and I am driving that white car over there. Let’s go.
Jim: O…Kay.

He heads for the first black car and tries to get in. Dan looks for our car …can’t find it. Ted wanders away from all cars. Beth has Chris by her hand. We FIND the car. Jim starts to get in the drivers seat. Dan tells him that I am driving, not him.

Jim: O….Kay.

Everyone gets in…and so do I (which is a mistake). Because….we all need seatbelts! Rumblerumblearound…some clicking….some not. We get all belted in.

Me: It’s such a pretty day today.

Ted begins singing the military song “over hill- over dale…” and all the guys join in.

Dan: where are we going?
Me: Home. But Ted is going to get a haircut today.
Ted: What hair? Which one?
Dan: Jim….you still have lots of hair.
Jim: I always have had a lot of hair.
Ted: What’s your secret, Jim?
Jim: I always have had a lot of hair.
Ted: (hands waving for effect)…NO….what’s your secret to having hair?
Jim: I always have had a lot of hair.

We get to Ted’s house. Ted opens the car door and I wait for him to get out. Nothing happening. I turn around to see what’s up and his feet are trying to get out but he still has his seatbelt on.

Me: Undo your seatbelt, Ted.
Ted: Oh, yes. That would sure help.

Scramble…rumble….fidgeting……

Me: Try the other side, Ted.

Ted turns…fidgets…fidgets…nothing. Dan says he will get out and help him, which he does. Lots of clicking and stretching and finally Ted is free. He gets out. All this time Jim is just staring ahead. He then looks at Dan standing outside.

Jim: Dan, do you need a seatbelt?

He grabs the empty belt next to him, stretching it out he offers it to Dan.

Dan: No, Jim. I don’t need one. I have one in the front seat. Where are we going?
Me: Home!!!!!