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Thursday, May 12, 2005

a bad case of dementia

some things hurt worse than others. scraping up your knee isn't quite as painful as giving birth to a child. and saying good-bye to your childhood is not nearly as painful as saying good-bye to your memories of childhood.

my grandmother just found out yesterday that she's officially losing her memory. not the usual "i can't remember where i put that book." but more "i can't remember who i just spoke to." i have not heard the word "alzheimers" yet (thank goodness!), but it is in the air. i know that this is difficult for anyone, but my grandmother is not your usual senior citizen. she's been living on her own in las vegas since her husband died fifteen years ago. she took me to my first "booby" show when i was thirteen (not that i had much interest in boobies at the time, but i remember her commenting to my parents that "aw, it's no big deal -- you can hardly tell that they're topless anyway"). she tap dances with "the girls" at airports and nursing homes. she would always lie for us if we were caught gambling underage. she paints and sews sparkly costumes for the "happy hoofers" in her down time. she stops by the local casino to play the nickel machines on quiet nights, and she won't eat dinner till she's had her "cocktail" (absolut on the rocks). she'll tell a dirty joke and swig a beer with the best of 'em and still look the part of the grande dame. this woman has had it together for nine decades and hasn't gone to a doctor for more than a cold. it's just not f***ing fair!

i was talking to her for about five minutes this afternoon, and she asked me three times in a row whether i'd be calling my mom on her cell phone. it's a small thing, but she never did that before. i feel like someone has snuck into my grammie's brain and taken a little of her away from me. i know she feels the same. she's never been one to admit her age, and she's never felt that her age really has anything to do with her. she's insulted that she of all people is losing her marbles, and i don't blame her. there must be far less happy, less attractive, less agile folks who don't need their marbles as much as she! i'm still hoping that someone will discover it is just some kind of bad allergy, and she'll get over it a few days, but i haven't ever heard of a "bad case of dementia."

anyway, here's to hoping...

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