It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Alzheimer Annie, whose misadventures in long-term care are based on real life situations I have witnessed or which have been recounted to me by others. This is another in the series of vignettes I’ve create based on the Nursing Home Behaviour Problem Scale (NHBPS), which is used to measure agitation in people who live with dementia. The vignettes are told from the point of view and in the voice of a fictional character called Annie, a woman in her mid-eighties who lives with dementia of the Alzheimer’ type in the mid- to later-stages of the disease. Annie resides in a long-term care facility somewhere in Canada. This vignette is called “look who’s talking now.” There’s a link to all the vignettes at the end of the post.
look who’s talking now
I look down the hall. Not a soul in the place. I’m alone in this chair. I’ve been here for ages. Mummy must wonder where I am.
“I’ve got to get out of here,” I say aloud. “It’s getting dark, almost time for supper.”
A girl dressed in blue appears out of nowhere. “What was that, Annie? What did you say?” She asks as she passes by.
“Nothing,” I say. The blue girl stops. She turns her head, looks at me.
“That’s not true, Annie. I definitely heard you say something about supper.”
“Then why did you ask?” I whisper.
“What’s that?” Why does she always sound so mean? I feel like I’m in the principal’s office.
“Then why did you ask?” I repeat a little louder. Maybe she’s hard of hearing.
“Don’t be cheeky, Annie,” the girl says. “It’s not nice. You had lunch half an hour ago. Supper isn’t ’til five. You know that. Supper is another four hours from now.” She starts down the hall. Good riddance.
“I don’t care when your stupid supper is,” I say under my breath. “All I know is I’ve got to get out of here and get home to my mum. She’s going to be worried about me.”
The girl stops again. She turns around and comes back until she’s right in front of me. She plants her feet wide. She has white running shoes on. The laces have pink cats on them.
“What did you say? Did you just call me stupid?” Her words are sharp and pointy. I look straight ahead, stare at a place below where her belly button must be. Her hands are on her hips. Her fingernails are gold with silver with sparkles.
“I didn’t say anything,” I lie.
“I’ve had just about enough of you, Annie. You’re really trying my patience,” the girl says.
Piffles. You’re the one who’s trying MY patience. You make me crazy. This place makes me crazy. It’s full of crazy people. All I want to do is get out of here. I look up at her. Careful. Don’t get into trouble. Back down the hall she goes. Her running shoes squeak.
“Thank God I’m off tomorrow,” she says to the air. Thank God is right. You won’t be here to boss me around. The girl turns into the room with the desk and the drawers and all the papers in it. That’s where they sit.
“Annie’s talking to herself,” I hear her say.
“Again?” Not the blue girl. Someone else. The tall one maybe.
“Yeah,” the blue girl says. “And she called me stupid.”
“Okay,” says the second voice, “I’ll make a note of it. It’s time for her meds anyway. I’ll give her an extra PRN, that should shut her up for awhile.”
“Yup,” the blue girl says, and they both laugh.
- “Talks, mutters, or mumbles to herself” is #5 on the NHBPS
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©2017 Susan Macaulay / MyAlzheimersStory.com