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Thursday, May 13, 2010

There Is Still Humor With My Dementia

Lime Jell-O - There Is Still Humor With My Dementia, even when I am the only one who sees it

Don't misunderstand - There is no upside to having dementia. It isn't at all funny, but...

Years ago a friend was taking Fen-Phen, a weight control drug. It turned out this medication was associated with heart valve damage. We used to joke his heart muscle was being turned into Lime Jell-O. I am not sure why we chose Lime Jell-O, except maybe that it is nobody's favorite - especially not mine.

In speaking to my friends over the past weeks I have often referred to my brain as turning into Lime Jell-O to help explain what is going on. That carried over to here.

So, last Monday was my first day of not working for a living. I have been on FMLA leave while going through all of the steps and tests resulting in a final diagnosis of bvFTD. It wasn't so different on Monday since I have not been at work for 3 months, but it still felt odd. For the first time I did not have the hope of a goal of returning to work on Monday May 10th.

I wasn't depressed exactly, but I certainly wasn't celebrating. At times I was not at all happy about my situation.  I just puttered around the house, watching some TV, and doing nothing in particular. Well, there is nothing new lately in that.

Then the mail arrived. There was a small package addressed to me in a uniquely annoying way that told me instantly who had sent it - a friend in Upper New York State. Way better than getting a load of bills.

I opened it to find a carefully chosen funny Birthday card. My Birthday is in January, and this is May. Usually if I get a card at all it comes in around August. This was a record! The chuckle was appreciated.

I opened the package, and then fought my way through 2 Tyvek envelopes. I hardly had to use my teeth at all. (Curse the man who invented Tyvek - and Snap Rings - prolly the same guy.)

I laughed long and hard when I found a couple boxes of Lime Jell-O inside. I set them on the dining room table, and chuckled every time I walked by. Walking around in a big empty house laughing out loud may sound crazy to some. Go figure!
I got another laugh today. I went to take a quick picture of the Jell-O for this post. I picked up the box, and laughed out loud all over again. It wasn't even Jell-O! It is an off brand of "Lime Gelatin". I wonder just what the price difference really was?!

So, to paraphrase another common saying about lemons:

When life hands you a couple boxes of Lime Jell-O... Make green Jell-O shots!

I think I will make mine look like little green frogs ; )

Har! This gets even better. I go to use the Jello, and actually make some Jell-O jiggler frogs for a final picture, and the packet inside the box is about the size of a little tiny tea bag. It actually takes 3 boxes or so of this stuff to equal a single box of real Jell-O.

BTW - They taste DREADFUL!!!!

I hope my dear friend way up there in New York State got a great price on this Lime stuff, but in any case the effect on me has been great. I am still laughin... This has kept me in good spirits and busy most of the day today. I actually added this to my "To-Do" list so I could cross it off, and pretend I accomplished something useful today. Everything takes me a little longer, these posts included. I must have looked up how to post a picture elevnty-seven times.

What a hoot! Anybody know if you can mail toxic Jello jigglers?



  1. I love that I found your blog. My friends and family hate it when I joke about my FTD. I know they are grieving and my brain damage makes me look at things in a way that may be a little warped, but sometimes there are things that I just think are funny.

  2. Anne, I hope your family understands that even though they can't laugh, the fact that you can is a good thing. I always looked at the world in a slightly off way, and dementia can lead to funny situations. And sometimes, we can either laugh or cry, so I prefer to laugh. I had this conversation on FB once, I posted some story and a caregiver said 'you poor dear' or something like that, and I said, it was FUNNY, there's nothing wrong with that. Do I use humor as a shield sometimes? Sure. But I've never enjoyed spending time with people who spend their lives complaining. A dear friend of mine died of cancer a couple of years ago, and had the same attitude. Her view was, OK, I have cancer. Do I want to feel sorry for myself, or do I want to have fun and laugh? She had her serious, scared moments, and I do too. But mostly I don't get to choose how long I get to live. I DO get to largely choose what I do with that time. And I spend a little bit of time praying and helping people, and a lot of time watching reality TV and snarking on Facebook and enjoying all my new friends I never would have met if it weren't for dementia. And making bad jokes about dementia. And the best part is, if you do go too far, say something inappropriate etc (I do live in a religious community) -- it's a symptom!

  3. Anne & Karen, Thanks for the comments. Keep smiling and laughing. Some days are funnier than others!