Friday, March 1, 2019

Sky and Jane: The Incident


Well, it finally happened..a surprise, intense visit from Dr. Dementor, himself… Yes, the Dementor-in-Chief paid me a personal visit just so I don’t forget who who is in charge.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, I suppose, the stage was all set for some chaos…

…. I was tired, at the end of an exhausting day…

…. maybe even running a fever….

…. I was far from home. Over a thousand miles, doing volunteer work at the Texas/ Mexico border….

I was scared.

I was convinced a rowdy Mardi Gras parade would pour around the corner into the New Orleans dive bar where I was holed up with Jane and and the baby I was entrusted to keep safe. 

I was scared.

I told Jane we had to get out of there. It was no longer a safe place. I hear her try to explain to me that we are not in New Orleans. Dr. Dementor was there. I couldn’t see him, just feel his presence in the chaos. The bar was also in the chaos. So was a trampling horde, just out of sight. I know I could only get out of there by a super effort.

I’m in two places at once. Isn’t that impossible? Jane is there trying to talk me down. I can hear her. Beside her is the Doctor, with his heedless trampling street musicians. I know where I have to go. With Jane.

Then, all of a sudden….snap…..I’m out… back… another thousand miles away… again.

I don’t EVER want to experience this again …. but I know it’s just a matter of time.


Sky and I were in San Antonio, TX trying to relax after a week of volunteering at a refugee respite center on the US/Mexican border. All the refugees had colds, and we had succumbed the day before, and were challenged by the six-hour drive to San Antonio. Happy to be in a comfy room, we slept, despite our fevers, runny noses, and coughs.

Sky woke early — 5:15 — and insisted we get up and get going.

“I have to do my hearing aids! Where should I sit and clean them? Over there!” He pointed at the room’s desk. 

“Sky, it’s early in the morning. We’re not going anywhere for several hours. Go back to sleep.” 

He went on and on long enough about the hearing aids that I gave up and made us coffee. As he continued to fuss, I went onto Facebook to pass the time. Friends of ours from New Orleans had been in a pre-Mardi Gras parade the night before, and posted photos. I showed them to Sky.

Within minutes he stopped raving about the hearing aids, and moved onto saying, “I don’t want to be in a parade! I don’t want to be in a parade!” 

“We’re not going to be in parade, Sky. We’re not in New Orleans, we're in Texas, we’re headed to the ministers’ retreat.”

“I don’t want to be in a parade! I don’t want to be in a parade!”

Nothing I said — i.e. giving Sky factual information — helped. He continued to rave about the parade, periodically adding that he was afraid of getting separated from me. I assured him I was right there, and not going anywhere. 

Finally, I said I was going back to sleep, and I hoped he would, too. 

When I woke up, Sky had stopped ranting and raving — about either the parade or the hearing aids. I was relieved. Was he back to normal? What had caused this delirium? A fever? Being in a new place? A new stage of his dementia?

Sky said that he felt like he was “coming back,” yet he was surprised to hear that he had been ranting and raving — he knew something wasn’t right, but didn’t remember what it was. He never told me about the dive bar, the baby, or the street musicians. I just learned about them now, same as you. 

Three days later, still not fully “back,” he said he wanted to go home, sleep in his own bed, be safe.

So, we packed up and hit the road. Five days later we were home. 

I often ponder those three hours when Sky entered into a new reality, one that had no relationship to the reality I was in. It still is a mystery to me why it happened, but it gave me a glimpse of what is to come.


  1. I'm sure the traveling and the colds factored into this. But yes, a hard reality... this could be what's to come, now and then. It sounds like you handled this as well as you could -- Jane being calm and assuring Sky that she wouldn't get separated from him, and Sky being aware that Jane was there talking to him, with Dr. Dementor beside her. I'm sending both of you lots of love as you face ever-new challenges.

  2. Fucking hell! Alzheimer's is definitely the gift that keeps on giving. Ugh. I'm sending good vibes and huge love.

  3. Must have been (and still being) terrifying for you both. Unknown territory, whatever the combination of causes. x

  4. wow... no idea what I want to say here... thinking of you will have to suffice for now. xoxo

  5. A day in the Loft at Wise Acres feeling your presence and the story that is un-folding from an earlier time that now seems even easier. Sending love from Karen and John

  6. What you describe sounds so much like a dream, Sky, that I wonder if one of the effects of Doctor Dementor is to make it hard to sort out dreams from waking events. After all, those of us without dementia can find dreams so vivid that they feel just like memories. Lose the little mental reminder that says "But that was while you were asleep--it didn't really happen," and we tumble into confusion. What do people in your support group say? Is this an experience others have had?


  7. Excellent post! The fear that Sky was feeling because of the disease's assault on his brain in the present coupled with the fear Jane felt about Dr. Dementor's dirty trick.
    I wonder what would happen if Jane joined Sky in what he was experiencing, which would mean Jane having to overcome the natural impulse to try to reassure and re-orient Sky. Either way, it is a hard row to hoe.

    1. And... I did both. I was right there in New Orleans with Sky... and, because he was very scared, I reassured him. This is not an either/or situation, but a both/and.