For the last few days Anna has been hallucinating about being on a boat / yacht / ship. His questions and comments range from, “This ship is well decorated” to “I want to go on deck” to “I have never been on a ship”. And though I keep reminding him that he is at home and in Delhi (miles away from the sea), I haven’t been able to stop the hallucination – although he does break out of it for brief periods of time.
Yesterday, on his evening walk, I tell him that there is a rumour that 40 crocodiles escaped the Chennai Crocodile Park and are swimming the streets of Chennai. He finds this interesting and funny, focusing on the escape and not the fact that it is a rumour.
I then tease him that he needs to walk more, to build up strength and stamina, so that we can send Cheenu, the famous Tamil crocodile tamer to catch them. He lets out a loud laugh!
This morning, we are again on a well-managed and turned-out yacht.
Anna: This ship is well decorated.
Me: Anna, where do you think you are?
Anna: On a yacht. I have never been on a yacht.
Me: Are you feeling unsteady? Is the ground swaying under your feet?
Anna: No. Everything is steady. Technology has advanced so much that I can’t feel the yacht move.
Me: Anna, look at the floor. Can you see the granite chips embedded in cement? Like in all DDA Flats? You are at home in Sheikh Sarai.
Anna: Oh! Pause. I have never been on a ship. I want to travel on a ship. Will you take me?
Me: Anna, we are in Delhi. We will have to travel to Bombay or Calcutta or Chennai.
Anna: Aren’t we there yet?
And then it hits me! Ever since the heavy downpour and floods in Chennai, Anna has been hallucinating about being on a boat or a ship or a yacht.
It is that simple.
So till the floods abate and Chennai limps back to normalcy, I know that Anna is going to be on a yacht or ship or boat.
The hallucination is now so much easier to understand and manage.
(After working in corporate India for over 29 years, Sangeeta has taken time off to look after her father, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2008. Sangeeta hopes that these authentic stories will help patients and caregivers understand and appreciate the impact of Parkinson’s Disease. You can follow Sangeeta’s blog here.)
Related Links in the Series
How my Father, the Parkinson’s Patient, Aced the Spoken Word
The Story of How My Father Learned to Swim
From a Real Life Piku: Looking After an Elderly ‘Child’
Dealing with Dependence: A Daughter’s Tale of her Father
What Happened the First Time My Father Visited My Office
Forgetting the Taste of Muffins
My Dad Hallucinates – and Even the Happy Ones are Painful