Monday, October 29, 2007

Caregiving: bushwhacked by artichokes

Across the cognitive universe from FiOS and sharing Sunday newspaper stories on line is keeping Patti involved. 


Our wheel chair accessible van empowers opportunity by minimizing the impact of her Multiple Sclerosis physical symptoms. However, Patti’s MS cognitive symptoms such as emotional lability and pseudobulbar affect can make any outing unpredictable.


‘Appropriate’ seems increasingly difficult for Patti to gauge, in particular her growing use of "f*ck patois".


If you avoid social interactions who knows what impact that has on overall coping mechanisms. As a caregiver you roll the dice.


Stopping by the grocery store to pick up a few items Sunday afternoon, I plunked a basket in Patti’s lap creating a “live” grocery cart. Better yet I should say a totally unpredictable grocery cart.


Within feet of entering the store my living grocery cart suddenly and loudly exclaims “What the f*ck are those?” Scanning my head 360 degrees to find what alien entity warranted such a response, I guessed at a display of artichokes.


Quickly trying to diffuse Patti, I suggested it was not polite to insult vegetables. She was however undeterred in her abhorrence and loudly continued, “Who the f*ck would eat them?”


Asking her if she had some reason to believe that the artichokes were hard of hearing, I rolled her away to hopefully less offensive products. It would have taken a brave soul to try and buy an artichoke during that exchange. <grin>


Now on the other hand the remainder of the store visit was fine. Patti had appropriate dialogue about the advantages of Kaiser rolls over croissants for sloppy joe sandwiches and decided on the unique opportunity for sweet potato pie over pumpkin pie, never once sliding back into more inappropriate dialect.


Patti’s physical and cognitive symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis have left her in a different and unpredictable universe. I believe in the commitment of keeping her involved in interacting with the day to day world. More often than not the interactions are appropriate and I believe healthy.


Of course when one is bushwhacked by artichokes, well then all bets are off.


Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer


  1. I'd love to take Patti on a shopping trip with me in downtown Chicago,
    it would be absolutely hysterical.  I know she appreciates getting out and about the town shopping.  What a great time you must have!
    Have a great week.
    Patricia in Chicago

  2. Lolol they're funny looking things anyway :)  Rache

  3. Don't let Patti come to my house and look in the fridge!! I have a huge jar of artichokes! LOL I love 'em!!  Patti just cracks me  up, language and all!!

  4. you amaze me:) Patti is one lucky woman to have you



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