Amy Marcott

Posts: 1

Posted September 18, 2008 6:25 a.m.
I'm new to these discussion boards—hello—and I'm hoping someone can help. About two days ago, I put my husband into an assisted living facility (I refuse to call it a nursing home). I've visited him each day, and honestly, I think it was more difficult for me than for him. I can't stop thinking about it, and now here I am, up earlier than I wanted to be because there are these birds outside my window that are loud enough to wake the dead. They're here every year at this time. I barely feel like I've fallen asleep when I'm awakened by them. Always a minute or two later each day. I imagine it has something to do with the sunrise? Their screeches are like rusty hinges, and I always picture fights being picked over females, although I know mating season is over. So what I wanted to know is, does anyone know the names of these birds? I know this sounds silly, but it's important I figure it out.

Posts: 512


Posted September 18, 2008 7:03 a.m.
Isn't this supposed to be an Alzheimer's forum? I don't mean to be cruel, but I think we should stay on topic. I'm sure there are plenty of places to ask bird questions.

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 2


Posted September 18, 2008 7:09 a.m.
My husband, the Alzheimer's patient, wanted to know as well. We're trying to discuss them. I guess I should have made that clear. Won't make that mistake again!

Posts: 513


Posted September 18, 2008 7:18 a.m.
My comment still stands. This board is for people with serious issues. Now, if you want to talk about your insomnia, that's one thing. But the birds could be left to others. Right now, I'm trying to find a way to rein in my roaming father, which I thought this thread was about, since you named it Flying the Coop. I've tried baby monitors in the rooms but I'm a sound sleeper and he's fast when he wants to escape. I also have a home security system (which was not cheap) but the alarm scares him into running outside even more quickly. My dad's been a runner all his life and I haven't, so it's quite a challenge. I also fenced in the backyard but he managed to climb the fence—I'm not kidding. I tried deadbolts with keys but he somehow managed to get those open. (He was an engineer. That might have something to do with it.) I don't want to lock him in his room at night because if there's a fire I worry he won't be able to get out. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I'm almost at the end of my rope.

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 44

Posted September 18, 2008 8:30 a.m.
Hi Molly, glad you're joining the boards. How long has your husband had AD? I put my husband into a nursing home six months ago, and I know how difficult that can be. I felt so guilty, always wondering if he'd wake up terrified of his unusual surroundings. I had some insomnia too. The doctor gave me sleeping pills but I didn't even fill the prescription. Didn't want to go down that road! I wish I could give you an easy solution, but eventually, maybe a month later, I was able to sleep. Still not very soundly, but it's better. I know that's little comfort but just wanted you to know I understand what you're going through.

Posts: 3


Posted September 18, 2008 8:48 a.m.
Thank you for the kind words, Sunny_Day, but I don't have insomnia. RonS made an incorrect assumption. I do find the birds incredibly annoying, but I am able to sleep. I know my husband is trying to talk about these birds, but he can't remember the words. So I have to nod and smile, but he can tell when I'm just being polite. If I could learn a little about them, maybe I could understand what he's trying to say.

Posts: 12

Posted September 18, 2008 9:42 a.m.
What kind of tree are they in? What state do you live in?

Posts: 514

Posted September 18, 2008 9:46 a.m.
Honestly, I don't think we should be encouraging this behavior. I don't mean to harp on this, but these boards are an important place for many of us. I understand you want the answer for your husband, but this isn't the place to find it. Try Wikipedia.

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 4

Posted September 18, 2008 10:02 a.m.
I'm not very good with trees. Elm, maybe? Or oak? Ash? Walnut? Something deciduous but not maple, I know those leaves. In Pennsylvania. After several minutes of their obscene chattering, what appear to be scouts shoot forth, like they're feeling out the air or maybe testing their take-offs. Then the great, noisy exodus. Hundreds flooding the sky, soaring right then sharp-hooking left, in sync, noisy about it. They can’t shut up. Invariably, a couple of stragglers clue in and quickly follow. I always wonder why they missed their cue. Or maybe they do it on purpose? Maybe they want to feel what it would be like to be on their own, but it terrifies them, the idea of being forgotten with no way of following? They return in the evening—I have no idea what they do all day—chattering away until they finally quiet down. Those are about all the details I can give, other than they bleach the ground with their noxious droppings. It's too slippery to walk anywhere near there.

I'd appreciate any help you can give me. I'm trying to find this as quickly as possible. And I have done other research, RonS, but without the name of the birds, it's difficult to look it up on Wikipedia. We're all going through difficult times, perhaps you could be a little more understanding?

Posts: 515

Posted September 18, 2008 11:12 a.m.
How about the Audubon Society then? I'm sure they could help. Now, if anyone has any suggestions for preventing wanderers from leaving the house, I'd be eternally grateful. I just spent an hour running around the neighborhood frantically looking for my father (turns out he was with a neighbor, thankfully).

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 5

Posted September 18, 2008 3:03 p.m.
NatureNut, are you there? Do you have any ideas? I'm desperate for this information, thanks. I just got back from another visit, and it's getting worse with my husband.

Posts: 88

Posted September 18, 2008 3:18 p.m.
RonS, I'm so glad you found your father safe. I know how terrifying that can be. Have you tried placing a wide black rug (or a rug that looks like water) in front of your doors? Often AD patients won't traverse what they think is a large hole (or swim across).

Posts: 516

Posted September 18, 2008 4:00 p.m.
Thanks, Constance. Finally, a rational person on this thread! I just tried that and my father walked right over to the rug and stood in the center of it. Does anyone use a motion detector with a remote alarm? What's range on those? Or are we still preoccupied with the birds?

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 6

Posted September 18, 2008 4:04 p.m.
Listen, RonS, you're starting to wear thin. It's one simple answer. A lot of things are riding on this. Would it kill you to be nice?

Posts: 517

Posted September 18, 2008 4:07 p.m.
I'm as understanding as the next person, Molly, and I'm not meaning this to sound like a personal attack, but I've seen this elsewhere on boards, and no offense, but I have a valid question about AD that keeps getting ignored because everyone's more interested in satisfying your need for trivia.

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 7

Posted September 18, 2008 4:26 p.m.
Here's some trivia for you, RonS. Not thirty hours after I left him at the care facility my husband, Bert, found the love of his life. The woman of his dreams he called her. I wasn't sure what to say. Current dreams or old ones? I know they say once you remove an Alzheimer's patient from their home, their memory loss speeds up but thirty hours to forget me? Is it supposed to happen that fast? (He now calls me Maureen, his dead sister's name.) And for reasons I don't care to get into, I can't help but think there's more to it than that. I even asked him where Molly was, hoping he'd remember me, but he ignored my question and reprimanded me for not feeding the cat until I pulled out the two cans of Fancy Feast I keep in my purse and said, "Chicken or seafood?" Then he reintroduced Mavis as the woman he's been waiting his whole life for. She's nothing like me. She has pink-tinged hair, probably spent many hours in the manicure chair in her life. A real girlie-girl. I never thought Bert was attracted to that.

Posts: 519

Posted September 18, 2008 4:29 p.m.
And the birds? How do they fit into all this?

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 8

Posted September 18, 2008 5:02 p.m.
RonS, seriously, why do you insist on badgering me?! If you must know, My husband sometimes thinks Mavis is a bird. Her bed, top and all, is encased in this contraption that looks like a birdcage to prevent her from wandering and falling. It has screen-door mesh for a window, and Bert sits next to the bed holding up raisins and saying, "Tweet, tweet…tweet, tweet." When Mavis whistles (which is actually more like a hum sometimes), my husband mashes a raisin into the screen and Mavis scraps off what she can with her fingernail and sucks on it, smiling like a girl. At times I feel like both of them are little birds. Bert with his gray feathery hair saying tweet and Mavis perched on her bed with those fat raisin flies stuck to her cage. It's heartbreaking.

Bert calls her Moonie. Like the birds in our trees he says. Only he can tell I can't understand his nickname and he's frustrated and angry with me. It doesn't help that I'm also hurt and not able to enjoy my time with him, which is now spent in Mavis's room or accompanied by Mavis, whom I have to babysit since Bert doesn't want to be without her. I know my husband knows the names of the birds. He's told me before, but neither of us can remember the word. I'd just like to know the nickname my husband has given the woman who's so quickly replaced me. Is that too much to ask? I want Bert to know I understand him. Maybe then he'd at least want to communicate with me more. And the way the disease is progressing I don't have much time left with him before all familiarity with me fades. Is that relevant enough for you, RonS?

Posts: 520

Posted September 18, 2008 5:06 p.m.
I'm sorry for what you're experiencing, Molly. Can you tell me more about this birdcage contraption? Does anyone know any more about it?

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 240

Posted September 19, 2008 12:01 p.m.
Molly, the same thing happened to my mom (falling in love, not becoming a bird!), although she'd been in the facility for about two months. My father was devastated initially but you have to remember it's the disease talking, not your spouse. He's probably just trying to live in the moment the best he can, looking for something to ground him in the present. His world has become unfamiliar to him, without background or context. At least that's what one of the doctors told us. It was difficult for my dad and the rest of the family at first but now we're just relieved that mom's comfortable and happy in her new home. My dad feels much less guilty too.

I think we all can learn a little bit about sensitivity and these boards. Sometimes what seems like an irrelevant question might really be something more so we should treat everyone with respect. If you don't know the answer, don't join in the discussion. It's easy to forget our manners on these personal yet impersonal boards.

Posts: 9

Posted September 19, 2008 3:15 p.m.
I know I'm supposed to feel happy for him, Daisy, but it all came as such a shock. I like what you said, personal yet impersonal. That's exactly how I feel about Bert's Alzheimer's. Him forgetting me feels more like I’m dying than he is. Soon he won't even think I'm familiar. And now Bert falling in love with someone else? I can't imagine a more complete betrayal. It's like his Alzheimer's has reduced him to instinct, you know? His memories are fading yet he's left with the desire to love—just not me. The doctor tells me Alzheimer's patients are afraid all the time. However they act, it’s just their fear talking. Exactly I think. Instinct. And his gut reaction was to forget me. What would it have taken to keep me embedded in his mind? I know, I'm just feeling sorry for myself and shouldn't but I just never expected this.

It's my own fault though. Bert wasn't even ready for a care facility. He was just beginning stage six and once in a while had lucid moments. The Aricept and Namenda were working, though, I admit, not as well as before. But there was still time. Sure, sometimes I’d find him searching for a record player we no longer own so he could put mustard on it. It’s playing my sandwich, he'd say, it’s going to go bad. And he did sometimes hallucinate and see his dead father standing in the front yard. And the exhaustion! I never knew what tired was until caring for someone with AD. But at least Bert was home. My sons took turns coming over and I had a home care assistant two days a week. But she moved away recently and with my bad back I found it difficult to bend and help hoist him out of the tub or a chair if he needed it. I know my sons didn't want to worry about us anymore and they insisted we find a place for Bert. My older son has a family of his own and my younger, well, he and Bert didn't always get along so well. But I'm mad at myself for not fighting back. I gave in and prompted Bert to slip away so quickly. He just needed an opening and took it.

Posts: 241

Posted September 19, 2008 3:35 p.m.
I totally understand your feelings of guilt, Molly, they're natural. But your own health is important too. When you care for someone else for so long, it can be difficult to remember that. It sounds like your sons also wanted to do what was best for you. And you have to know that your husband Bert, the healthy one, is not calling the shots and doesn't mean to hurt you. Try to remember him as he was before AD. What was he like?

Posts: 10

Posted September 19, 2008 3:43 p.m.
Before the disease, Bert always had his nose in a history book. He loved following the threads back to find the beginnings of things. That one decision that, if reversed, could have resulted in an alternate outcome. When the boys were younger and argued, his refereeing always sought a point of origin. What happened before you took the truck? What were you thinking at that moment? How about the moment before that? Maybe his interest stemmed from his own predicament and wanting to avoid earlier mistakes. Maybe I was the bad decision.

Posts: 525

Posted September 19, 2008 3:45 p.m.
Anyone? The bed cage? I'm desperate here.

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 242

Posted September 19, 2008 3:50 p.m.
I wish you wouldn't be so hard on yourself, Molly. He was your husband, and I'm sure he loved you. I know how hard it can be when the person you love seems to have morphed into a different person altogether. It's so hard not to take it personally. But don't let his AD make you question your entire life together. You can't start blaming yourself for his personality changes.

Posts: 11

Posted September 19, 2008 4:05 p.m.
I hear what you're saying and the doctors also say it's just the disease talking. But I can’t help thinking that his AD reveals his hidden thoughts and feelings. Why else does he remember our oldest son's name and not our youngest? He always resented me for Kevin, believing I got pregnant with him on purpose after we disagreed about having a second child. Why else did he become really defensive a few months ago about having painted the little bathroom off the kitchen? Umpteen times a day it was Damn it to hell, I painted the goddamn bathroom. I think I only heard him curse a handful of times in my life. He was referring to a decade ago, when I hounded him for months to paint the bathroom after he promised to do it. He finally bought the supplies and they sat in the corner of the room for weeks more before he finally—as my birthday present that year—finished the job. The matter was settled though he rarely used that bathroom anymore. But I wonder if his profanity and bitterness had just been pent up, waiting for a chance to surface all these years. How else can I explain his aggressiveness? It’s not him but it is him. He’s in there somewhere, right?

Posts: 45


Posted September 19, 2008 5:11 p.m.
I hear you, Molly. When my husband started getting worse, it seemed like all our dirty laundry was aired. But for me, it's all in how you look at it. Once, we were in the grocery store and he started loudly complaining that I didn't give him enough oral sex. Can you imagine?! I was so embarrassed I left my full cart right there by the dairy case and left. Now I laugh about it. You have to have a sense of humor with AD, I've discovered—but I never took him back to the grocery store with me.

Posts: 243

Posted September 19, 2008 6:28 p.m.
Molly, I know it might seem like the anger over the bathroom means everything but you can't think that way. My mom was an absolute sweetheart and turned so nasty with AD. There was no way that was her. No one could have repressed that much anger.  

Posts: 12

Posted September 19, 2008 6:31 p.m.
If he was just angry, I could write it off as the disease. Maybe. But it’s the look of adoration he gives Mavis that convinces me otherwise. He means to hurt me. He wants to show me he was capable of other feelings and loved nowhere near his capacity all these years. 

To top it all off, the birds are back. It's like they're mocking me. In stereo.

Posts: 244

Posted September 19, 2008 6:35 p.m.
Try to ignore the birds, Molly, they'll quiet down soon. And please don't be so hard on yourself. I know that's easier said than done but caregiver's guilt can be torturous.

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Posted September 19, 2008 6:46 p.m.
You don't understand. I was going to leave him. Before he was diagnosed with AD. I had already left him, actually, in my mind, and isn't that sometimes the biggest hurdle? Just thinking of yourself as free? Whenever I went out—to a café, the grocery store, wherever, I smiled at all the men my age and struck up conversations when I could. Nothing had come of it yet, but I kept trying. I never thought Bert noticed. He seemed to have stopped paying attention to our life long ago. But maybe he did catch on. Maybe in his mind he'd already left me too and that's why I'm no longer in his memory.

One time several months ago, after he'd been calling me Maureen all day, I decided to be her. I put on makeup and a dress I no longer have occasion to wear and told Bert I was waiting for my date to arrive. I don't know what I hoped would happen. That Bert would snap out of it? He asked me what happened to Frank (his brother-in-law) and I told him he died. I always liked him, Bert said. Me too, I said, but I've been a widow for many years now. Don't I deserve to be happy? And he agreed with me. There was nothing even approaching recognition in his eyes. You'd think I would have been devastated by that but I wasn't. Getting dressed up, even with nowhere to go, was the most fun I'd had in a long time (how sad is that!).

Posts: 245

Posted September 19, 2008 6:53 p.m.
Molly, however you might have felt about Bert, you still stayed and took care of him and that speaks volumes about your character. Not many people would do that. Bert has to realize, somewhere in his mind, that you do care. More than most people.

Posts: 89

Posted September 19, 2008 7:26 p.m.
Molly, have you had him tested for a urinary tract infection? Sometimes those can have a dramatic effect on the behavior of an AD patient and cause more confusion than normal. That was the case with my mom. Insist on a test.

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Posted September 19, 2008 7:50 p.m.
I'll ask for one tomorrow when I'm there. Thanks, Constance and Daisy. I appreciate your support and listening to me.

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Posted September 19, 2008 8:03 p.m.
Keep us posted, Molly.

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Posted September 19, 2008 8:06 p.m.
One more time, folks. Does anyone know about the cage thing Molly mentioned?

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 111

Posted September 19, 2008 8:43 p.m.
I believe it's called a tent bed. My father had one in the hospital after he fell and broke his hip. It zips around the bed frame (zippers on the outside so the AD patient can open it). He was always trying to get out of bed to wander and other restraints aren't legal. At first I thought it seemed inhumane but the other option was to put his bed a few inches off the floor and I didn't want him catching a draft and the germs off people's feet. And in the end, it calmed him. The option to wander was taken away and that helped him to relax more, surprisingly.

Posts: 530

Posted September 19, 2008 8:45 p.m.
Do you know if you can buy them commercially? That might just work for my dad.

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Posted September 19, 2008 9:02 p.m.
Sorry it's taken me a while to respond. I've been trying to think of a connection between moon (Moonie) and the bird's name, and I'm fairly certain they're nightingales.

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Posted September 19, 2008 9:19 p.m.
Ooh, that would make sense and sounds about right. Way to go, NatureNut. Molly, you have your answer!

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Posted September 19, 2008 9:46 p.m.
Molly, I've been following your story and was so hoping you'd discover the name of the bird. My grandma has AD and doesn't recognize me, which is bad enough. I can't imagine a spouse doing that. Anyway, I'm so happy you found what you were looking for. I hope it offers some comfort.

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Posted September 19, 2008 9:58 p.m.
Woo hoo, Molly! It may be a small victory, but we take whatever we can get, right?

Posts: 532

Posted September 19, 2008 10:00 p.m.
OK, before this goes any further, nightingales aren't even found in the U.S. Just Europe and southwest Asia. Molly, the bird you're looking for is likely a starling or a grackle (they can roost together this time of year), although starling makes more sense with your husband's choice of Moonie.

Now can someone please tell me about these tent beds? Anyone have one at home?

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 15

Posted September 19, 2008 10:02 p.m.
So you knew all along, RonS, and didn't say anything? It would have taken you, what? A couple minutes of your time? Instead you harass me?

Posts: 533

Posted September 19, 2008 10:10 p.m.
I wasn't trying to harass you, Molly. I just felt—and still feel—that my point was valid for the information you were giving us. You have to admit you were being vague. Now that I know more, I can see why you wanted the information. But it also wasn't wrong of me to direct you to other places where you could have found out about the birds and  thus preserve the true function of these boards. And, lest I get chastised—again—for not being nicer, here's more information.

Starlings, the nasty vermin, are not native to the U.S. Around the turn of the century, a group released sixty in central park. If you believe the legend, they were trying to introduce every bird mentioned in Shakespeare into this country. Ironic, then, that the bird with only one mention in all of Shakespeare's works (Henry IV) proliferated to near epidemic proportions. They are wonderful imitators, starlings. They can mimic rooster crows, horn honks, baby cries, human words, even bacon sizzling in a pan. There could be thousands of them in the roost near your house, not just hundreds. During they day, they feed. When you see the birds leaving or returning, it may appear as if it's one giant flock, but it's actually smaller flocks following each other closely.

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

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Posted September 19, 2008 10:13 p.m.
Now you're a bird expert? How is the Shakespeare stuff relevant, Mr. Know-it-all, if you're going to make a stink about what's appropriate for these boards?

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Posted September 19, 2008 10:15 p.m.
I'm not an expert. Just an enthusiast. But if you notice, I still don't have the information I'm looking for. I gave you more than you needed about starlings. Perhaps you could inquire about the tent beds for me? And just for the record, people—yes, I have tried Wikipedia.

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill

Posts: 247

Posted September 19, 2008 10:20 p.m.
Molly, I know this is an extremely difficult time for you. It looks like you got your answer, which is what's important. Now just try to ignore RonS and focus on you and trying to get over your guilt. It's not your fault Bert's condition is worsening. The important thing is that you are there for him and go and visit him often. Just having someone familiar there means a lot, even if he can't show it. I'm anxious to hear how it goes when you tell him about the starlings.

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Posted September 19, 2008 10:38 p.m.
Have you tried bringing up anything from your past that he might remember? Maybe a song you both liked or a holiday tradition? Perhaps he would remember that and you'd see he hasn't forgotten your life together—even if he does call you by another name.

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Posted September 19, 2008 10:44 p.m.
Thanks for the suggestion. I immediately thought back to when we were newly married and living in this shabby one-bedroom apartment. It was my first home that didn’t include my parents and I loved every dirty detail. From the line of ants that appeared in the kitchen to the poorly insulated windows and wooden floors I could never quite keep clean. We did our best, though, with thrift-store furnishing and afghans I crocheted. We often ate hot dogs for dinner and called them tube steaks. They were some of the best dinners we ever had. Through the years, every time we'd eat hot dogs, Bert and I would share a look of fondness. I'm going to bring him some tomorrow.

Posts: 248

Posted September 19, 2008 10:50 p.m.
Good luck, Molly. Keep me posted.

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Posted September 20, 2008 6:22 a.m.
They're back. The birds. They have me all agitated and I have bags under my eyes from not sleeping enough. How long will I have to put up with this? Today's tube steak day and I'm not taking this as a good omen.

I know, I know. Stay positive. I'm trying. I just feel like our whole marriage has come down to a hot dog.

Posts: 249

Posted September 20, 2008 7:12 a.m.
Think good thoughts, Molly, but don't put too much pressure on yourself, OK? Just try to enjoy your time with Bert, that's the most important thing. I'm praying for you.

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Posted September 20, 2008 6:28 p.m.
Well, it didn't go as I had planned. First, I spent the better part of twenty minutes trying to convince the nutritionist I didn't give a damn about her sodium intake levels, that we were talking about one hot dog with a dying man who might not recognize me as familiar tomorrow. Then, Mavis Moonie ended up joining us for lunch. Bert and I were sitting together and a nurse brought her over, patting himself on the back because he was making both of them so happy. I told the nurse I wanted a lunch alone with my husband and I think he felt bad, but once Mavis was seated, there was no tearing them apart. And then when the food came, the attendant gave my hot dog to Mavis, not thinking it was for me. And the hot dog! They butchered it. It was cut into bite-sized pieces and didn't look anything like a tube steak. A disaster. I must have had a horrified look on my face because the nurse was staring at me and raised his eyebrows like, what should I do? And all I could manage was to shake my head. So he slid the plate away from Mavis and told her to wait just a few minutes while he got her lunch.

 I looked at Bert, who just stared at his food. Tube steaks, darling! I said over and over as brightly as I could, but his watery eyes were dim. He turned away from me and reached over and took Mavis's hand and called her "My Moonie." They both smiled at each other with such relief, and I felt like I was watching My Life: The Stage Play only with more feeling. I'd never felt less a part of the world. Before, there was always hope—either that he'd remember me or that I could be someone else with a different life. Now, with Mavis Moonie, that hope disappeared. I was just a forgotten woman.

I tried breaking the spell between the two of them. Bert, I said. Is Mavis a starling? Is she a starling, Bert? And he finally turned to me with nothing but annoyance on his face and said Dammit, Maureen. Go feed the cats and keep them away. He said it again, so I held up a can of Fancy Feast for him to see then rolled it off the table, saying Here, Kitty Kitty.

Mavis Moonie fingered one of the hot dog morsels and for a few moments, I admit, I envisioned grabbing fistfuls off the plate and shoving them into my mouth. There was no way she was going to take this day away from me. It wasn't a pretty sight. But it was hard to resent Mavis sitting there wearing her pajama top backwards, like any minute she'd start fingerpainting.

The hot dogs were getting cold and Bert doesn't like them that way. So I reached across the table and held up a bite to Mavis's mouth and told her to try some. She ate it out of my hand. Once Bert saw her, he put some in his mouth too, and I told them both to chew, hoping that the flavor would invoke a feeling, at least, if not exactly a memory. I took a bite too, off Bert's plate, and we all sat there chewing and chewing, Bert and Moonie smiling at each other, until I reminded them to swallow. What else could I do, with no end in sight, but watch the two lovebirds?

Posts: 250

Posted September 20, 2008 6:56 p.m.
I've been thinking about you all day, Molly. You're a brave woman, and I'm proud of the way you handled that situation. It certainly sounded intense. I don't know if I could have been so gracious.

Posts: 540

Posted September 20, 2008 7:00 p.m.

They're back. The birds. They have me all agitated and I have bags under my eyes from not sleeping enough. How long will I have to put up with this?

Molly, the birds will likely be there throughout October. Then one day they'll vanish, with no fanfare except your prolonged sleep.

"The first quality that is needed is audacity."  —Winston Churchill







The two inspirations for this piece were the birds that roosted outside my window when I lived in Pennsylvania (woo hoo! I finally fit them into a story) and a newspaper article about retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's husband, an Alzheimer's patient, falling in love with a fellow patient at his care facility. O'Connor was reportedly thrilled for her spouse, but I imagine not everyone would be. To research, I read numerous message boards for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients and was struck by the honest, compelling narratives I found there, at once immediate and distant. I also liked how character was hinted at through small cues, like usernames, frequency of posting, and signatures.