A DIPLOMATIC ENCOUNTER

dementia-choices-training-largeThe phone rang and I got the good news, a long time friend and colleague who is a diplomat is in town. We talked often on the phone but our schedules and commitments meant we treasure special occasions we meet face to face. Joshua has keen eyes, an alert and sharp mind, an excellent and competent diplomat. He always gave the extra mile service and dedicated himself to millions he served over the years. He gave time and resources to gladly help other’s better themselves. Joshua dressed smartly befitting his status and profession. He mentioned if I can avail myself for his forthcoming birthday he accurately mentioned is on 30th May. He recounted wonderful memories as far back as he could remember. He cracked jokes and we burst out laughing uncontrollably until I could feel my muscles tightening around my stomach with tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks with his jokes. When his drink spilled on the table I quickly wiped it, so Joshua commented “ever ready for instant service.” Everything about Joshua looked and sounded as normal as possible since I know him. We chatted consistently, recalling times and places we worked in from the past. Then it hit me suddenly like thunderbolt Joshua asked about people he knew well. Some passed on, so he was actively present or organised funeral memorial yet asked, who is so and so and where are they many times.

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Or asking me who am I again for the 5th time. After lunch with him in one of the finest restaurants, he said he had not eaten the whole day yet. Or say he ate an imaginary meal not provided by family which meant he did not eat yet when at the hospital for treatment. Trained as qualified pastoral counsellor life coach it dawned on me the reality of transition dealt with  through Joshua’s changes right before my eyes. Most clients referred are already clinically ill before support in a state before first meeting. I noticed, Joshua talks accurately one moment about precise information confirmed by family, yet in between at times absent minded. Joshua said, ‘a diplomat’s words are carefully selected tools appropriately used to befit the chosen person dealt with for respect and honour.’ His words are polite to ensure a person feels highly appreciated and valued. My personal knowledge of Joshua through years shows he looks the same. Yet different in responses as known before so changing gradually after diagnosis. Although alert and communicates, cannot be left on his own unattended for safety reasons. This challenges with empathy all forced by circumstances to switch roles to become parent of adult with health challenges. Or vice versa as children look after adults. The carer misses original adult personality of parent. And Joshua’s dementia tests confirm changes in behaviour.

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The family adapted to change so now fully responsible for caring for Joshua. He is dearly loved, highly respected, honoured, lacks nothing except memory loss. Well cared for, provided for by friends, family and loved ones by God’s Grace. This journey embarked on is to support and encourages all Joshuas and family. Update on treatment shows haemorrhage on Joshua’s brain caused distortion of information by his mind. At times, families are under immense stress, pressure. So are exhausted from implications of things said unknowingly or done by beloved one cared for. This can hurt at times due to frustrations of lack of appreciation of dedicated service of love. Most intimate family members bear brunt of putting up with dementia changes of second childhood. Some adults become totally dependent like new born infants. So an irony in seeing fully matured grown up act like baby. They are not faking it for attention to cause offense but reality of changes in the brain. Also, is accompanied grief, mourning loss of original loved one previously known. Loved ones are under tremendous pressure to become parent of their parent plus financial consequences as provider carer. One appreciates life more seeing change transitions of Joshua’s life. We hope for the best so continue prayers for Joshua’s family. We give thanks, Glory to God for his wonderful blessed years. And pray for strength, a sound mind, God’s blessings upon caring loved ones in Jesus Name. It is important to heal one self from any caring insults and abuse from loved ones to make peace with them before their demise passing. Forgive for they know not what they were doing. Remember God will not forgive you if you do not forgive all who hurt you.

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