DOCTOR: I’m sorry to break the news to you, Mr. Smith, but you have cancer, and you also have Alzheimer’s.
MR. SMITH: Well. At least I don’t have cancer.
Implied fornication aside, I love the movie, Groundhog Day. Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a weatherman who finds himself repeating the same day over and over again. As of this morning, I totally get that.
Effie spent part of yesterday relishing cherries in a sunny orchard, but last night was fairly lucid, and this morning was yet coherent—except for the amnesia again: Yup, Groundhog Day. I had to go through the explanations all over again. I dare say two days of that is plenty; caregivers no doubt learn quickly to skip the details.
Our first hour was really fun! “Is this your house? How long have you lived here? … Do you have a pussycat? Do you have a dog? … Can you give me something to read? Do you have a TV? Can I watch Little House on the Prairie? … I’m so happy!”
Then she wanted to lie down. Enter the rough patch: “I don’t think this is going to work out. David lets me walk around at the apartment. You don’t want me to walk because I’ll mess up your living room.” I placed her feet on the floor: “It’s okay with me, Dear; see if you can walk to your bed.” After a minute she said, “I think I’ll take a nap first.”
After nap time she tried to get up. I was ecstatic that she realized it on her own: “I didn’t know I was so weak.” I untangled her gangly bones, changed her doodled-diaper, and switched her back into a one-piece (yeah, she had disrobed). She uttered tenderly, “You’re a brave woman to do all this for me.”
I served crackers and juice, and we talked. She had quite a few false starts, obviously confusing reality with delusion: [Pointing at the closet] “When I was up there, David came in.” … “I have a relative that comes; is it my sister?” [daughter.] … “Am I dead?”
Movie Spoiler Warning: Quite possibly, we may begin living that Groundhog Day experience. But I just hope I’m less like Phil Connors in Punxsutawney: May God allow that I don’t have to repeat the trip time after time before I finally let it teach me something. And may God have mercy on this feeble, confused, sweet, little widow. Amen.