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 Dementia: the source of marketable job-skills? 
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:36 am
Posts: 135
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Post Dementia: the source of marketable job-skills?
Warning: Clinically demented sarcasm ahead. Watch your feet. I take no
responsibility for opinions expressed here...most of the time I don't
even know the dude making them up....



I am not even sure what kind of story this is. Like all great dramas
warfare is experienced, love and loss, laughter and tears and finally
a Hollywood-esque happy ending when there really shouldn't be one. Oh
and only a little nausea so if you just ate, it's cool.

It is however another living example of how wrong I was when I thought
of dementia before having LBD and living it. I was so
wrong...mis-informed but wrong nonetheless. Take tonight for example,
a drama I guess I will call Jeff makes dinner out of love, avoids
burning the house down out of fear and laughed about it all thanks to
dementia. As an added bonus, Jeff finds that dementia has blessed him
with unexpected job skills to boot. I am not kidding.

Situation: the missus and I are chilling at the end of a long day, her
pain meds making her lethargic and mine are making me hungry. I was
happy too because today was a day I didn't have to figure out and make
dinner...the figuring-out part is as hard as the making part and any
time I don't have to concoct dinner based on whats on the shelf, I am
good with that. Then the hour grew later, she grew more tired, I grew
more hungry and against my better judgement I started thinking of what
would be good for dinner based on what what had (and I thought I could
make). And this is where it all went wrong.

First thing to go wrong actually had gone wrong yesterday; I only
found it today. In going to the garage to check the canned goods and
freezer for ideas, I find I left the freezer (big stand-up job) wide
open last night when I tried to make hash browns...and everything was
thawed, like totally room temperature. The bagels felt sickly like
marshmallows. I call this a job skill and not an accident because its
the third time in a month I have done this, so its obviously something
I am good at and as such, should be marketable. Hope my SDI agent
doesn't find out.

So taking a deep breath and concocting Plan B (and kids, once LBD sets
in far enough, your whole day becomes Plan B..I don't even start with
A anymore) I figured out something with one bowl, one pan and a
spatula: Tuna Patties. Lame I know but a simple-night fave around
here. Basic recipe is crumbled up crackers, diced onion, eggs, cheese
and tunafish. Makes a dough-like ball in a mixing bowl (groovy part is
mixing/squishing it all with your fingers), then make into
sausage-sized patties, brown in some oil and drain on a paper-towel.

My wife has remarked to my speech therapist about my cooking
style...not French or Italian or even American. Its not the way my
food turns out, its how it gets made that has been a blessing all my
life and now is my curse. With the exception of exactly one recipe, I
simply don't follow recipes if I even use one to start with. Most
times I can think about how a dish tastes and kind of reverse-engineer
what it would take to make that taste. Or I "mood" cook; like I might
be in the mood for something comforting and easy to eat, sometimes I
want something fun, sometimes I try to make something serious,
occasionally I drift into the comedy department. This is usually when
something has gone wrong I don't want to admit. One side effect of
this is I cook by feel, not by amount or size. For example I have been
making cream of potato soup with grilled sausage and onion for 30-some
years, it always turns out right but if you were to put a gun to my
head right now and told me to recite an accurate recipe for it, I
really don't think I could do it. The ingredients and amounts just
come to me and so when cooking I am actually mentally somewhere else
because my body seemed to do it on autopilot. As screwy as that sounds
it keeps coming out right to the point that my wife has not
hand-cooked more than 10 meals in 20+ years of marriage. She has
totally loved my making all the meals (and thinking up menus, etc).

But that was then and this is now. I have made this hundreds of times
over the years and so scraped up the ingredients, put some crackers,
chopped onion, tuna and cheese into a bowl, then started adding
eggs. By then I was bored with the process and I was thinking about
this new comic book I got last night (graphic novel for the Logan
film) and my hands doing eggs just kept going on autopilot until I had
cracked nearly the entire 18-pack of eggs into the bowl. So my
demented thinking went: if there are too many eggs and they are too
wet to make the dough-consistency, add more crackers which are dry to
balance things out. Seemed reasonable to me until I realized I had
added much of a box of Ritz to it and now it was like rice cakes or
insulation. By now the bowl which should have worked fine is almost
over-flowing by the way, adding to my problems when mixing which
reached a climax when I added the other three cans of tuna fish in a
final Hail Mary to save dinner...

Now we approach the exciting war-like drama of our story. You see
kids, before Jeff started this odyssey of ingredient abuse he started
the pan of oil heating. On high because I could everything on
high. Said ON high, wise-acre. Only way I do it and so watch it extra
close which has always been easy. As I said, that was then, this is
now. First I give up on the mixture about the time I am slopping it
over the edges into the dishwasher full of freshly-washed dishes and
since the goo is up to my elbows at this point, I wash my hands and
arms well, then noticing the oil is REALLY hot, I turn quickly to
start adding patties to give it something to chew on but the water
still on my hands and arms fly into hot oil.

People may think that folks with dementia don't lead exiting lives but
tonight, that kitchen felt like Normandy Beach, sometime around June
of 1944. For those who are not cooks, adding cold water to hot oil is
a recipe for all kinds of mayhem, not limited to what happened to me
which is hot oil splattering all over hell, including me, as I tried
to figure out how to make it stop doing it so I could throw in the
patties because thats all the mission I could deal with.

Digression: you know you have had dementia and LBD too long when you
come back from making dinner covered in fresh scars *and your wife
isn't even surprised enough to ask what happened.*

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

Once the fire-safety issues are dealt with to be at least reasonably
certain the house would not burn down before we ate, I fried up this
now-sawdust like mixture and thinking of nothing better to fix it,
added a ton of cheese. When I brought it to my wife and she asked what
it was, I simply answered "protein" because I could not think of a
better one for what was on the plate. Yes, the kitchen is kinda
destroyed and yes, Beth doen't know that I could not find a spatula
and so used a wooden salad fork instead. It didn't weather the hot-oil
process well at all. I will have to speak to her about a better class
of salad forks.

So where in all this is the happy ending? Well, I don't always know
how I screw things up so bad but I sure know how to fix them: more of
my LBD meds and I put on the movie "Deadpool". You just can't think a
grim or serious thought with that one. And as of the end of that and
with proper medication, everything was once again okey-dokey in
Jeff-land. Time to make the Chimichangas...

Happy Friday all.


Fri May 05, 2017 9:14 pm
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Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:02 am
Posts: 35
Location: Near Fort Bragg,NC
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Post Re: Dementia: the source of marketable job-skills?
Freaking hilarious Jeff, glad you lived through it to tell the story....now go shut the freezer lid...lol

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Jim


Mon May 08, 2017 2:32 am
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Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:30 pm
Posts: 14
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Post Re: Dementia: the source of marketable job-skills?
JeffCobb, I could read about your Lewy-assisted antics all day. You're a hoot. If you're still having troubles with that freezer, there's a delightful gizmo at the hardware store ($12?) that will shut that troublesome door for you. On the freezer, of course, the enclosed screws would be a bad idea, so perhaps a dab of Goop and the suggested drying time of "8 hours or overnight" would be a good idea. Oh, and you might consider accepting the help of a kind neighbor so you don't wake up glued to the freezer door... Just a thought based on your story...
My husband left every door he touched open, so I have these gadgets everywhere. Your writings make me see his world a little differently, and I appreciate your outlook! SO glad the whole neighborhood didn't go up in smoke...


Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:05 am
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