68: French Toast

68: French Toast

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer's & Other Dementias

French Toast

Mirth is God’s medicine. Everybody ought to bathe in it.

~Henry Ward Beecher

Hospital stays are never easy, but they are even more difficult for someone with Alzheimer’s. My dad spent two weeks in the hospital recuperating from surgery. Attempts at physical rehab were not going well because he was unable to understand instructions, let alone follow them. The nurses had to guess at his pain management, because he was not reliably able to communicate how he was feeling. He remained bedridden, sleeping most of the time. His appetite was poor, despite my mom’s best attempts at coaxing him to eat.

One morning, a surly worker from the hospital kitchen shuffled into my dad’s room. He clearly was not happy about his job, his life, or both.

“Scrambled eggs and bacon, oatmeal with fruit, or French toast.” The hospital staffer sighed and waited to check the box by the meal option Dad selected. Dad remained mute and Mom thought she was going to have to make a selection for him.

Suddenly Dad perked up. He had an important question.

“Does the French toast speak French?”

The hospital worker broke into a wide grin that seemed to brighten the whole room. He shot my mom a mischievous look.

“It sure does.”

So Dad ordered the French toast, while my mom laughed with the hospital employee, who was no longer surly.

One of the last lucid things my dad told me before he sank deep into the grips of Alzheimer’s was that you need to keep your sense of humor.

He was so right.

~Joy Johnston

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