Honey, I Sold the Red Cadillac
My wife, Carol, was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in 2011. Naturally, the disease progressed, as did her hallucinations.
One morning Carol informed me that the teenage gang in the neighborhood was threatening to trash our red Cadillac. At this point it behooves me to point out that we don’t own a red Cadillac, or any other color Cadillac—we have never owned a Cadillac of any color. Also, as we live in a senior community, there are no teenagers in the neighborhood and certainly no gangs.
The next morning Carol told me that the teenagers had driven our red Cadillac into the creek. A couple of days later, I was alerted that the teenage gang had broken all the windows in our red Cadillac. Then, she complained that the teenagers had thrown trash into the red Cadillac. That was followed by the gang throwing paint all over our red Cadillac.
Finally, after several more days of a variety of catastrophic events befalling our beleaguered car, I told her one morning: “Honey, I sold the red Cadillac!” She had only one question to this revelation. She asked “How much did you get for it?”
My response was the only one that made any sense to me. I said “Blue Book.”
Carol never mentioned the red Cadillac after that day.
That was an epiphany for me. I had come up with a response that calmed her fears. To do that I had to ignore the truth, move my brain into her altered reality, and deal with her concerns, threats, urgent situations, crises, and anything else that was troubling her in such a manner that it calmed her fears. I would use that tactic many times in the many months that were to come. I still use the technique, and it still works.
At the urging of a counselor I wrote this episode down. Then I wrote about another experience, and another. Before long I had a book which I titled, Honey, I Sold the Red Cadillac.* In hopes of helping others in this situation I published the book. I hope it helps you in caring for a loved one with dementia.
* If you purchase books through Amazon, please choose Family Caregiver Alliance
as your Amazon Smile charity!