Thursday, October 30, 2008


During my grandmother's first year here, my mom bought her a doll. This was not just any doll. This is one of those collectible named dolls you see in the Sunday paper ads.

Her name is Emily and she is a baby. She even smells like a baby! Real hair cloth body and some sort of plastic or silicon head, hands, and feet.

So my grandmother is very attached to the doll for several weeks. Then she starts acting like it is a real baby. She kinda freaks out because the eyes don't close when she is supposed to be sleeping. Not enough to be concerned about but she can't figure out why her eyes don't close.

The she decides the doll is teething. I can't help but get tickled when I think of her and this doll.

Next she is always telling me what a good baby she is because she never messes up her diaper. Then it really starts getting out of hand. Up to this point it has all been funny and she would snap out of it long enough to realize that it is only a doll. Then she would go back to thinking it was a real baby. We took her clothes off and showed her where she was only cloth the whole 9 yards.

My mom finally snapped when my grandmother wanted her to take the doll to the hospital because she never messed up her diaper. She went into the whole deal again. It is only a doll, it isn't real it was made in a factory, etc. She finally asked my grandmother if she wanted her to send it back to factory. Granny said yes she was tired of worrying about the doll.

So now I have the doll. I know this sounds sad and pathetic but it really isn't. My grandmother really enjoyed the doll for a while. Having it made her more alert for a while and a doctor I sent her to seemed to think that having a doll for women with Alzheimer's can cause their brains to be stimulated in a way similar to when they had small children.

Granny has not asked about the doll since I took it. But she will ask about the baby. Now I am not sure if she is talking about her youngest, or my oldest. So I always give her a different answer. She seems satisfied with whatever I tell her. "The baby is at home or the baby is with it's mama." Those 2 really seem to work. She never calls it by name so I don't know if she is talking about a girl or a boy.

I am posting this because sometimes we think something will be good for someone and it turns out to be more traumatic. You have to consider a lot of things you normally wouldn't even think about when dealing with a person with Alzheimer's. This is a perfect example. While we made it through this incident without too much trauma to my grandmother, I don't know if we would make this decision again.

What my grandmother taught me through this is that we never really outgrow our dolls.


  1. Small Footprints said...
    I can so appreciate this experience. When caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer's, all the normal rules of behavior get tossed out and we have to redefine everything. It's like living in an upside down world. What starts out as sweet and funny becomes heart wrenching. But here's the thing ... we never know what will work and what won't ... so we have to keep trying. And hopefully, something we try will generate that beautiful moment of clarity. Those moments are definitely worth it.

    Thank you for sharing this experience!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Small Footprints
    SeattleCraig said...
    Wow... I've never experienced or had to deal with anything close to Alzheimer's. I never pretend to know or relate to situations beyond my personal experience. I find it distasteful to presume to understand something I don't...

    What I can however tell you is you're a strong and wonderful person and I'm sure every choice or decision you make will be with the best and most loving intentions. No one could ask for more.

    Take care and have a Happy Halloween.

    Midnight Eternal
    Inge' said...
    Seattlecraig and smallfootprints,
    Thank you both for your comments and insights. I appreciate the compliments and insights. SF you are so right all you wish for, hope for, look for is that one moment of clarity. Those moments just don't come very often anymore. I am thankful that she has a very happy and loving spirit.

    happy halloween guys!

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