Dementia, Humour & Me
By Martina Davis
(Living with PCA)
“Why are you laughing? it’s not funny”
“Because if I didn’t laugh I would cry”
“But you’ve got PCA”
“Yes, I know I have”
Hello there, my name is Martina & I was diagnosed with PCA (Posterior Cortical Atrophy) a week before Christmas in December 2019.
Having always been a glass half full kind of girl I can remember as clearly as if it were yesterday the consultant starting to say “there is something to remember” at this point of getting my diagnosis I thought, “this sounds like every cloud and silver linings etc”
Strangely enough he was right.
One of the greatest gifts I was granted by the great man upstairs is having the ability of being positive, being able to take the positive out of the negative along with the capability to laugh and make other people laugh…..but don’t ever ask me to stand up and tell a joke it’s less about it being in my own inimitable way, more that I’m not one of life’s natural comedians. I do however, have three jokes in my repertoire that I’m asked to wheel out from time to time.
If I have any comic skills it’s more in the story telling about real life situations injecting humour and anecdotes along the way; such as the time I worked a few hours on a farm, got my foot stuck climbing over a gate, did a lot of wobbling then went splat into several cow pats (the cows were waiting to be milked) as for the rest of the story well….thereby hangs another tale.
And things continue merrily since my dementia diagnosis, yes the humorous stories just keep on coming and I now describe them as the adventures of Dangerous Doris!
Somebody said to me recently when regaling my latest exploits “but doesn’t it get you down?” I replied “most of the time it’s my humour, positivity and my passion for being involved in making change for people with Dementia that keeps me going”
I’ve always loved humour and I err on the side of the gentle but quick witted variety. I dread anyone looking at me when they tell a joke as punchlines aren’t my strongest point yet everyone around me is in stitches!
It’s a strange thing to say but humour has dovetailed quite nicely with my dementia because without it I would be completely lost.
It is amazing how many humorous memories can be sparked when the right button is pressed.
It’s a case of remembering that the person in front of you would have had a humorous life too and sometimes a few gentle leading questions will strike a cord that brings a long forgotten joyous beaming smile to a face.
For the caregiver too, life can be tough and it’s too easy to let happy, humorous memories slip into the dim and distant past never to be raised again until it’s too late, rather like the Titanic.
And in the never ending carousel of appointments, meetings, understanding, frustrations and anxiety, humour is definitely not on the list of priorities.
Yet finding the fun in any activity makes it meaningful and therefore life a little more carefree which can make you smile and when you smile sometimes those happy, humorous memories are reborn and suddenly you are laughing even belly laughing.
You find joy again and that weight on your shoulders whether you are the diagnosed or the caregiver just for those few moments feels lighter.
Smile and the world smiles with you and remember laughter really is the best medicine…….as for me I shall embrace my next Dangerous Doris adventure with open arms and laugh.
Finally……So there were three mice in an airing cupboard, which one was in the forces?…..The one on the tank!