Shields Up!

, , , , , | Related | January 8, 2021

When my great-great-grandmother began to develop dementia, she started throwing things at people when they came through the door of her room. Sometimes it was a book, sometimes a water glass — whatever was handy. Nobody was quite sure what to do about this, except my grandmother — her granddaughter — who was then a slightly cocky seventeen-year-old.

Grandmother: “Grandma, you really shouldn’t throw things at people.”

Great-Great-Grandmother: “Why not?”

Grandmother: “Well… you could hurt someone!”

Great-Great-Grandmother: “Oh. Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll warn people before I throw things!”

For the rest of her life, that’s what she did. She would yell, “Look out, look out, coming through the door!” whenever she had a visitor.

Everyone knew that when they were coming to visit her, they should open the door and step in slightly, and then step back and use the door to shield themselves. Once the thing was thrown, they would be able to come in normally.

[Great-Great-Grandmother] never did stop throwing things, thanks to the dementia, but at least she didn’t want to hurt anyone.

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