Who knew there was a word for it?  The online caregiving spouses of those with Lewy Body Dementia (or some form of it) recently contained a line of posts titled Anosognosia.  Wikipedia defines it this way: Anosognosia is a condition in which a person who suffers disability seems unaware of or denies the existence of his or her disability.

Actually, those who have been reading this blog for very long, have heard me describe a variety of behaviors that could be described with the word Anosgnosia. 

When anyone asks Mary Ann about cooking, her response is always: “They won’t let me in the kitchen any more.”  What she seems to be saying is that she could cook and chop and handle hot pans and sharp knives and prepare meals, if only we (I) would let her. 

Mary Ann will often start to undress while standing up, even though for a number of years now, her balance and coordination have not allowed her to do so without falling. 

She has headed into the bedroom to get sewing paraphernalia to do repair work, most often on something that ends up being a hallucination. 

While I sometimes do it, I dislike reminding her that what she is attempting  is something she can no longer do on account of the Parkinson’s.  I think the better choice when confronting some attempt at doing something no longer within her capability, is to redirect her attention to something else. 

As troublesome as are the times she acts as if she has no limitations on account of the Parkinson’s, I can’t help wondering if they are not part of the reason she is doing so well.  As much as she has been through, it is hard to understand how she is able to do maintain such a high level of functionality in so many areas. 

Today went pretty well.  She slept in late, essentially tacking her morning nap on to the end of her night’s sleep.  She had a good breakfast, a fairly substantial lunch.  We went out for a ride to Ensley Gardens (I walked through them while she chose to stay in the car) and a treat at the Baskin and Robbin’s on the other side of town. 

Mary came over, brought the promised pork, dressing and gravy, and spent about an hour talking with Mary Ann while I worked at the computer.   Since I tend to be quick to respond in conversation, my presence makes it hard for Mary Ann to be engaged in conversation.  My leaving the room for a time allows her to interact more freely with friends. 

Again, she has gone to bed early, without supper.  I guess by now I should know that a mid to late afternoon ice cream treat is going to interfere with her eating supper.  I suspect she will be up to have snacks during the night.  I will, of course, need to assist in that activity. 

The last couple of afternoons (before today), I have left the house for a time while a friend spent time with Mary Ann.  I have spent the time in a different way from usual.  Rather than sitting in the car in some natural setting to read or listen to music, or going for a walk, I have visited a number of small art galleries here.  I am pretty much devoid of any knowledge in the area of the visual arts, but I am intrigued by them. 

At most of the stops at galleries, there has been a docent or artist or owner there who was willing to spend some time in conversation.  I have learned a bit about the art scene here, and how some of the artists have approached their subjects, what processes they have used.  It has been very interesting, opening a new window on reality for these well-worn eyes. 

The conversations have nourished a discovery I made decades ago.  There is more than what first meets the eye in most of what we see.  Whether it is a landscape, a city street, buildings, trash, telephone poles, growing plants in any stage, people, there are many ways to see them.  What artists often do is provide new ways to see the ordinary.  While I have no natural ability or inclinations in producing visual art pieces, my interest has been piqued. 

One of the artists described her fascination with shadows on the water in a pond or stream or lake.  The shaded area of the water’s surface reveals what lies beneath the surface.  Lighted areas show a reflection of what is above.  It is a phenomenon I have noticed when out walking with my binoculars around my neck.  Often I will look for those shaded areas to see if I can locate fish or turtles or frogs. 

In a couple of the visits yesterday and the day before, the descriptions of a particular art piece triggered the impulse to write and preach a sermon using the piece as a visual aid.  I had enough sense to spare the poor person describing the work from my launching into three part homily on the implications of that piece for their spiritual growth. 

One of the artists described her fascination with shadows on the water in a pond or stream or lake.  The shaded area of the water’s surface reveals what lies beneath the surface.  Lighted areas show a reflection of what is above.  It is a phenomenon I have noticed when out walking with my binoculars around my neck.  Often I will look for those shaded areas to see if I can spot fish or turtles or frogs.   That thought caused my sermon muscles to twitch for a moment. 

Maybe I can convince Mary Ann to consent to a trip into KC to the Nelson again.  There are rooms filled with art pieces, some incomprehensible, some boring (in the eyes of the beholder — me), some exciting, some very thought provoking.  They also serve a great lunch in the Roselle Court.  We will see.

After such a tough time post hospital stay, this one has been a pretty good week. 

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