shava23 (shava23) wrote,

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My mother discovers Atlantis

So my mom is 90 and she lives with us.  She has Lewy body dementia, which to save you jumping through the link, means she has Parkinson nodules (Lewy bodies) in her forebrain, so instead of a tremor in her limbs she gets tremors in her imagination.  It's a damn good thing she has pretty good karma, because I can see how someone with a bad history in their younger years could be completely psychotically horrified with the lack of boundary between dream and reality that comes with this disorder.

Sometimes we talk about creating a show called "Shit my mom says" to counter the TV show.  My mom, who was in college in the sciences as a woman in the 1930s (inspired by M. Curie) is a reasonably curious and intelligent, cultured woman when in her right mind.  The dementia type is such that, sometimes, this shines through even on her bad days.  For example, one day she came into the kitchen while I was cooking dinner and told me, "The most amazing thing was just on TV.  All the anchors on MS-NBC were talking in iambic pentameter for an entire half hour."  "Oh, *really*!" I responded.  "Yes!" she told me, "Well, of course, except for the commercials."

Now I'm *pretty* sure that was her losing the boundary between some amusing dozy dream and reality.

Another time, as Fish and I were working in the home office at 2am, she appeared (having originally gone to bed at 10pm) fully dressed, wig on, jewelry, best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, and at the office door, in a very official sounding tone, announced, "Someone needs to give me a ride to church!  They need me to sub for the choir director."

Without missing a beat, I just asked, "Which church, mom?" 

She stopped for a moment, said, "The church in Montpelier.  I've been dreaming haven't I?"

I nodded, and just said, "Yes, probably.  But if you get back to bed, you've got a good deal of the night you can get in some good sleep still."

Add in to the obvious points:  We're in Boston.  My parents left Montpelier over two decades ago.  My mom can neither sing nor read music (in fact, I think among my sibs, me and my dad, she's the only one who doesn't read music; not sure I've ever heard my older brother sing...).

Admittedly, sometimes it's a bit like monsters under the bed (a recurring one is asking us to check if there are people outside the driveway-side window in her bedroom, which is odd because the *other* window is on the porch so there could be people at that one -- the driveway window is about 9-10' from the ground).

She also has some pretty mundane hallucinations, like when she thought a book I was reading was marked on the pages with diagonal blue lines throughout, and actually thought that Joseph, Fish, and I were being mean because we were telling her they weren't there to tease her about her illness (because, of course, they obviously really *were* there and we were lying for some irrational reason).  (and for those game folks out there, the book in question was Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun, which she thought was something like the New Yorker for the drawings).

All this to give you context for a small dinner conversation tonight.  We're sitting down at dinner, and mom tells me, "So, they've discovered Atlantis, did you hear?"  And I say, "Oh, really?" and think "omg, is she wonky?  did she mishear something on the news?..."

Mom just gets this little smile and doesn't say a word more.

And I think, "Should I ask her more about it?  Would she see that as persecutorial?  What's my motivation in this scene?"  My final conclusion, let her talk more about it if she wants to.

After dinner, we do the usual bits, she's off to bed, and I sit down at the computer and hit google.  Sure enough, some enterprising and publicity hungry archaeologists are opportunistically framing a find in Spain as the rediscovered Atlantis, destroyed utterly by a tsunami millenia ago. 

I imagine her going to bed with that same little smile on her face thinking, "Ha!  Made ya look!"


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