Forgetting the Taste of Muffins
Parables of a Parkinson’s patient
October 9, 2015: Can you tear up if your father forgets the taste of muffins?
I can. And I did.
I teared up because it happened with someone like my father, Anna, who loves all things sweet. Because Anna often says, “If a dish has milk and sugar, it is bound to be tasty”.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I finally managed to go on an eight-day vacation (the first time in four years), when my sister came to visit with my father.
In one of my first few conversations with Anna on my return, he told me that he had not been out. So, I decided to take him with me while I completed chores on a Friday morning. He walked in Aurobindo Place, while I went from shop to shop and quickly ticked things off my to-do list.
When all to-do items were crossed out, I asked, “Anna, do you want to have Badam Milk here or coffee at the Barista opposite IIT gate?”
Anna takes a few minutes to ponder on this very important of choices and decides on.......you got it.......coffee! Off we go to the Barista.
As we sit down at Barista, I ask Anna what he would like to eat with his coffee. Again, he thinks for a while and when there is no response, I reel out what’s on the menu. He latches on to “muffin” and then tells me that he would like it warmed up.
I get us all coffee, and a warmed muffin. I cut the muffin into four pieces and give him two and his attendant one. Anna bites into a quarter of muffin and says, “This muffin is good. It is sweet.” The phrase does not strike me as odd. He finishes his muffin with glee, forgetting his coffee.
I ask, “Anna, would you like the last piece of muffin?”
Anna, looking at the quarter piece of muffin longingly, says, “No-amma. You have it.”
I tell him he can have it and it is gleefully gobbled up.
On the way back home, Anna says, “The muffin was good.” Then he pauses and adds, “You know I had forgotten what a muffin tastes like?”
I am perplexed. “Really, Anna?”
Anna responds with, “I thought muffins were savoury. Only when I bit into it did I realise that a muffin is sweet.”
I tear up.
Forgetting the taste of something sweet, especially for a man who could find the best place to have coffee and sugary-sweet pastry, in a new city, within a matter of hours, must be unnerving for him.
I often joke that if we air-dropped Anna into the Sahara desert he would be able to smell out a place that serves coffee and cake! Him forgetting the taste of muffins is ...... a little bit ...... kind-of devastating......
(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.)
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