Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Caregiving: Horton Hears A *!
“Involvement of the frontal lobes in the disease course might provide an explanation for the great numbers of psychological, behavioral, and personality symptoms that are manifested in MS.”
Hester-Louise Henderson, “Living with Multiple Sclerosis” University of South Africa 2005
Legally blind from Multiple Sclerosis Patti could not see me enter the activity room yesterday where crafts volunteers where working with residents and patients decorating foam crosses for Easter.
Patti was chatting and laughing at a table with four other residents and a volunteer.
Alerted by one of her more hawk eyed table mates, Patti exclaims (well actually loud enough for the entire room), “Thank God! These f#cking crosses are making me nuts!”
Grabbing a foam cross from the nearest stunned ‘artist’ I did my best improv casting out of the tongue demon ritual to the amusement of an audience suddenly finding excitement in an arts & crafts hour.
“The frontal lobes are very important in regulating our behaviour. Whereas we might think something internally, our frontal lobes are able to ‘stop’ us from saying it. People with frontotemporal dementia in particular are unable to do this. They fail to inhibit their innermost thoughts and do not modify their comments according to the situation.”
Cerebral Function Unit, Carer’s Support Group, Salford, UK
Then we were off to the movies, “Horton Hears A Who”. No matter what age you are, 90 minutes spent with Dr. Seuss is just plain fun.
Fortunately we made it all the way through without disruption from MS dysphagia and related choking in spite of buttered popcorn, Junior Mints, and sodas.
Trying to engage Patti in a “what did you think about the movie?” conversation afterwards I offered – maybe it was a parable about compassionate Republican government (the elephant) protecting individual rights (the Who’s) against the thought police Democrats. (Hey now! That’s topical, and atypical.)
Patti stares at me and responds, “It was about a f#cking elephant.”
<SIGH> Obviously the casting out of the tongue demon failed. I have got to work on that.
Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer
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