Take Me Out to the Ballgame

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Mother has loved the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team for many years.  She’s never attended a game in person but rarely misses one on television. A few years ago, she kept a printed schedule by her chair and waited anxiously for the game to start.  Now, I keep the calendar for her.

Then, she knew all the players, but she no longer knows their names.  She doesn’t even know the score when asked unless she glances at the screen.  Nevertheless, she watches and delights when they win.

She once told me the day was boring if she couldn’t watch her team.  No other television show brings her so much joy.  So, when we moved her into our home in Florida, I purchased the MLB Network, so she wouldn’t miss a game.

Still, there are days when the Red Birds don’t have a game, and no other team will hold her attention.  So, I record all the game; saving the best for later.  When they aren’t on live television, I play a pre-recorded game.  However, if I tell her it’s a replay, she won’t watch it.  So, I don’t tell her.  She hasn’t noticed she’s seen the game before or that it’s being played at night while she is watching in the afternoon.

When I turn on a previously recorded game, I proclaim, “There’s a game on, Mom!”

I’m not completely honest with her, but I’m not dishonest.  There is a game on the TV, and it makes her happy.

Genesis 20: 1-3 New American Standard
Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.  Abraham said of Sarah, his wife, “She is my sister.” So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.”

Abraham didn’t lie to Abimelech because Sarah was his half-sister.  Since he was afraid the godless people would kill him to take his beautiful wife, he didn’t tell the whole truth.  In the same way, I don’t inform Mother, she is watching a recording.  I’m not misleading her.  I am redirecting her.

Abraham misled Abimelech for his own personal benefit, but I mislead Mother for her benefit and pleasure.  I don’t mislead her to make it easier for me.  That is how it must be for we caregivers.  To provide the best care for our charge, it may be best to redirect them with a not-completely-truthful direction.

For instance, a few days ago I dropped my mother at her daycare.  As I was leaving, Robert, who has frontal lobe dementia, approached and asked, “will you help me find my car?”

Of course, I couldn’t let him follow me out the locked door, so I replied, “Sure, I’ll look this way.”

Pointing to a staff member in the opposite direction I said, “She will help you look over there.”

Satisfied, he scurried toward her.  The staffer redirected him, and in a few minutes, he was no longer searching for his vehicle.  In the same way, my mother is enjoying her team even when they don’t play.  Not surprisingly, they always win on those days.

(©) Copyright 2018 Ronald Milburn

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