Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Today is Wednesday - One Word Wednesday, to be exact.  And today's prompt word is WEIRD!

I love weird.  And it's a good thing! Because since mom brought her Alzheimer's to live with us, weird is a constant companion.

And these days "hidden treasures" is our new WEIRD.

Unfortunately (as with many ALZ patients) mom is distrusting of everyone...even me.  And she hoards things.  So, when she hoards things or thinks someone is trying to steal something from her - she hides whatever it might be!  And she hides these things in places that probably make sense to her.  Of course she promptly forgets where she has hidden things.  That she has hidden things.  What she might have hidden.  Life is like one big scavenger hunt!

Mom has very few places to hide things in her room - or so I thought.  She has her basket.  She has her television stand that has a small cabinet below the receiver shelf and she has this penny bank that looks like a dachshund that mom bought with her first grown-up paycheck 59 years ago.

We mastered looking in the basket long ago and although I thought the tv stand cupboard would be too low to the ground...I check it every now and then.  I've found kleenex - both clean and used in there - so she can get down lower than I imagined when I'm not looking (can I tell you how nervous that makes me???).

I've also found dirty underthings in the tv cabinet, a stack of papers my daughter was using to play teacher and a strawberry.  Poor strawberry.  It did not fare well in the tv cabinet for however many days.  And the cabinet has a pale red reminder on the shelf that the strawberry overstayed it's welcome.

I can always tell when she's putting things in the penny bank - it makes a lot of noise when she takes the top on or off.  Besides - these days mom thinks it is a real dog most of the time, so she wouldn't dream of taking its head off.  She might try and feed it an old strawberry, but I don't believe, animal lover that she is, that she would try and pry its head off.

What I'm learning is that mom can find so many other, non-traditional places to hide things.  Under cushions.  In pockets.  Down the sleeves of her robe.  Inside her pillow case.  Under the chair.  And inside her slippers. 

Her favorite things to hide are food and coins.  The food either gets discovered by Sophie, our dog, and eaten, or it starts to smell and I get to find it and clean up.  The coins disappear into cushions and pockets and all sorts of other tiny places.  When I clean on Mondays, I usually end up with a few extra pennies to put in our coin jar. 

But lately, I found a key - no one has any idea where it came from - hidden in her slippers.  I found my driver's license behind the big cushion of her chair...and I was frantic trying to find it.  And she was in there when I found it and she was mad!  She swore up and down that she was me and that it "was her driver's license" and I'd "better give it back".

But the weirdest thing - so far - that I have found is a collection of things stuffed into the sleeve of her blue fluffy robe that she doesn't like to wear anymore.  (I have no idea why - it is so warm and soft and pretty)  She was cold one night and my daughter was having a sleepover, so the girls had all the extra blankets in use on the family room floor.  So I grabbed her robe off its hook and went to lay it over her when I felt something out of place.

In that sleeve was one Nike Elite sock - black with white stripes, a pair of my husband's boxer briefs - navy with gray trim, a folder up, unopened letter addressed to me trying to get me to switch our cable provider and a paper towel full of grapes.  Thankfully, the grapes appeared to be pretty fresh.

I wonder what made her choose those things to hide?  I wonder where they came from and when she finched them?  I wonder how she got them past me?  I wonder how she remembered that her robe sleeve was her preferred hiding place?  I wonder how she balanced her treasures in there so she could add the second and third and fourth?  I wonder?  I wonder?  I wonder?

WEIRD?  Right?


  1. It is weird how all alzheimer patients seem to do the same kinds of things. Mom has hiding places we still haven't found. When we do find it we should find one of Pop's hearing aids, one of her diamond rings and a check that my pops got and showed to mom and he never saw it again, even though we tore the house apart looking for it...and God knows what else. Keep your sense of humor Lisa, I love sharing laughs with you.

  2. It is not just Alzheimers patients that do is most of the elderly. My grandmother hid money in purses and she had a bunch of purses. My mom hid money in between the pages of books and there were lots of books to go through. Lots of my patients in the nursing homes would hide food. I think many of them were afraid of not having enough to eat sometime in the future. So far I haven't found that Richard hid very many things, but by the time his dementia became so profound he wasn't very mobile any longer....Loved your stories

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