With Appreciation to Dallas Dixon https://www.dancingdementiadude.com/ for sharing this with DAA:
To: Candy at the bank, her team and boss. From: Dallas Dixon
My father often interrupted me with the phrase, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. Good advice.
Today, as a person living with dementia, I want to say something nice about my bank, its tellers and manager. I was so warmed that I bought flowers for all three and still felt that I had gotten the better of things by a long shot.
In our hyper cognitive world (I stole this term), whenever I ran into something that was too hard for me to grasp, I never admitted that it was over my head. Unless I was into a false modesty kick. My reply was it was either uninteresting or unimportant to me. For example, my college roommate was into black holes. Not over my head really just outside of my interests. Hmm. Or I would think (not say) that these tasks of building this or fixing that were stuff other people did. You know, I could do it, if I wanted. Fixing the screen door or getting behind a telescope, just for the record, are above my head. People who do these things are smarter than I am. Period.
But, with people living with dementia, like me, these hedges don’t really work anymore. There are things you need to know how to do just to move through life in America in 201. You know, like how to pump gas, how to order food at McDonald’s, send overnight mail and manage a debit card with your bank.
Yeah, there I was at the bank, completely turned inside out, upside down, trying to figure out why the debit card wasn’t working in conjunction with my statement. No excuses why I couldn’t figure it out, no black holes, no I-am-too-busy-so-I-can’t-fix-it excuses. It was basic and I couldn’t figure it out. And when this dude runs aground, it’s as if the words of the almost exasperated teller morphed into some undercover code that no one told me the combination to. I know for you that’s hard to understand. Let me try to demonstrate – “Do you need an extra $1,000 cash? I can get it to you today, fast, no questions asked. Just go off the tunnel, it’s not so hard, it’s right here. Ok? Do you think that it is on the right or left. Let me know ASAP and it’s yours”. Garble right? Garble it is. Words that are commonplace can be garble to me.
I couldn’t answer their well-intended questions. Even though the bank lobby was not busy, their patience dripped with patience. I was no help and I began to worry that I was just being recalcitrant, or purposely obtuse for some unknown, passive aggressive reason that could be a little scary it its interpreted.
So… I confessed. The reason I can’t help you solve this, I’m so sorry, I have early dementia and I just can’t get it. Scrambled mind on empty. No gasoline in the tank and no idea where the closest gas station is. The metaphor is for you, I didn’t use it at the bank.
I was waiting for “Oh, I’m so sorry” which is annoying. A comment without meaning that would be heartless not to reply to. But what do you say, really. Not missing a beat, the teller said “No worries, I’ll fix this. Just give me 5 minutes or so. I know what you want, and I’ll make it right”. Then after she did just that, she wrote down on paper the five steps she took and what the results were. She also taped a note on my debit card saying I couldn’t use it until tomorrow. I’m not so advanced in dementia, yet, but that is exactly what I needed. Simple.
I love my bank. I wish I could buy flowers for them forever. (that’s a little over the top dementia talk). I love my bank.