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June 10, 2022

Zetty keeps using the "N" word!

Zetty keeps using the

Zetty, the co-star of the podcast, attempts to lead several groundbreaking conversations but the "N" word continues to arise leaving J Smiles stymied.

Snuggle Up to hear another saga of ALZ's favorite DUO.

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INTRO - J Smiles::

I was downstairs in the kitchen and then I hear JG, JG. I start rambling and wrestling, that's me moving papers, slamming glasses, because there is calling my name. Not just saying hello, hello for any warm blooded body in the house, she's calling JG, her daughter. What, what is it? So I scramble up and I say yes, momma, now I'm looking up at her because she's on the second story and there's a bit of a balcony and I'm standing downstairs looking up at her and I say huh. She says, JG when you get a minute, don't rush, but Mama needs to talk to you. She, remembers my name. She's asking me not to rush. She's telling me when we get a moment. She needs to talk to me. She has something formulated in her brain for me. What, Alzheimer's is a losing today! Parenting Up is the caregiving adventures with comedian J Smiles. It is the intense journey of unexpectedly being fully responsible for the well being of my momma. For almost a decade, I've been chipping away at the unknown, advocating for her, and pushing Alzheimer's awareness on anyone and anything with a heartbeat. Spoiler alert- I started comedy because this stuff is so heavy. Be ready for the joke! Caregiver newbies, OGs, village members trying to just prop up a caregiver. You are in the right place.

INTRO - Zetty::

Hi, this is Zetty. I hope you enjoy my daughter's podcast. Is that okay?

Episode Title - J Smiles::

Today's episode- Zetty keeps using the N word.

THE Episode::

Parenting Up family- I'm going to tell you where I went wrong. I trusted my momma. She had a moment of such clarity that I believed her. She said when you get a moment, no rush. I thought there was some validity to those words. Now, I didn't take two weeks, but I did go back in the kitchen and finish up what I was doing. Maybe somewhere between three and seven minutes. Let's just go with five minutes. I gallop up the steps, light as a feather. I'm sure there were cherubs above my head ,playing little angel music to the delight of my soul. I bounce into her room, Hey Zetty it's JG, what do you have to tell me? Zetty- huh, what do you mean baby? Mama you said that you have something to tell me. Zetty- huh, what do you mean baby? Zetty is like a parakeet, a broken record, record on scratch. If you're too young to know what that is, please do an internet search. I was carushed. Are you serious? You had such a coded thought. I wouldn't even pissed off that she truncated slash interrupted what I was doing. I was hurt that whatever formulated up inside her skull now had escaped me. What if it was important about a memory from the past. Something that finally came to her that she was supposed to tell me about my childhood, her childhood, my dad, her parents. Maybe some hidden treasure in Africa or Taiwan that I needed to go find. Hell I don't know. The Hope Diamond, maybe were related to the Dalai Lama. You know what I'm saying? She said it was important of course, like any good caregiver daughter who happens to also be Roman Catholic. I beat myself up. Boom! I thought my delay, that three to the seven minute five minute delay. Dammit JG now you will never know what she was trying to tell you. It was important enough for her to come out of her room and call your name multiple times. But here you go finishing up the email, the social media post, drinking coffee, whatever it was that absolutely could wait considering your Alzheimer's mama had an epiphany, girl really? After licking my wounds, probably having a little sip of something for adult people,I thought okay, JG first time for everything. Now you know better if Zettyy says no rush when you get a moment that means listen immediately. That's Alzheimer's speak for right now, make Zetty talk I bet you all can guess what happened, yep you guessed it never again to this day has Zetty said JG no rush but when you get a minute dot, dot, dot. Because I'm sitting on ready waiting on that time. Never has happened. The moments come in different forms. Like we're sitting on the couch watching TV, which means a game show she'll looks over at me JG, mama has something to ask you. And I want you all to hear how strong and confident my voice sounds that's just how she sounds, eyes piercing at me and then she's crossing me like she's the lawyer and I'm the witness on a stand in a court of law on some big movie. I mean super focused. I'm like yes. Mama was wondering did you finish what you were supposed to finish? Yes. This is Zetty, because it's so important that you. That I what mama? That you, you um then she starts sigh and her eyes start to change from confident and focused to fluctuating and nervous. And then I dig in what mama that I what? That I, am I sure that I finished grocery shopping, paying the bills, hugging you. I'm just throwing out, anything paying our taxes, not sleeping with married men, what? And she puts her head down like nevermind and she starts flipping pages in the magazine. No mama not nevermind, not nevermind. Don't give up what ,what, what were you trying to say? Ouchies, the first time that he hit me with nevermind after I saw her struggling to tell me something that was important to her, I don't know what it was. But all of my insides broke into fragments of pieces longing so deeply for her to finish. Because it was so rare that she even tried to share an original thought, ya know what I'm saying? Once your LO passes through those initial stages of Alzheimer's, it becomes few and far between where they are actually proactive in a conversation. And that's the stage where these things started happening with Zetty. I was so starved for her to lob a conversation at me. When this happened, I was like, what? I won the lottery. Whatever she's about to say, I'm here for it and in the middle, it just faded away, like fog when the sun comes up at dawn except it wasn't beautiful. One evening, I was in my bedroom, Zetty's caregiver was downstairs in the kitchen Zetty walks out of her room into my bedroom. She did not knock, ah hits, never having a gentleman over okay Not in my room, at least. Anyway, that's another whole podcast. Zetty just opens the door, JG Mamo needs to talk to you. Can I talk to you for a minute? Yes. Notice, she did not say when you get a moment, no rush, nope. JG mama has something to talk to you about. Okay, mama. Now it's very important. Okay, go ahead mama, I got all the time in the world. Did you hear from, now that bit of silence that you heard was me, shutting up, hoping that if I don't interrupt her and try to help her the way I did the other time, throwing out words and phrases and concepts of like, I'm gonna just be quiet. Let her finish. Did you hear from crickets? Shiznits, this is not working. Yes, Mama. And she started looking around getting fidgety, like pulling on her fingers and rubbing her hands. Now I say did I hear from who mama? Did you hear from? She started sighing, oh, Lord, help me Lord, help me, Jesus. Now she's asking for the Lord and for Jesus and whoever else she might have been talking to under her breath, because I wasn't really up on her. I was like nnooo, this is me talking to her thoughts- no, don't go away. Don't leave. What the hell. If you're going to come to her enough to make her leave her bedroom, walk to my bedroom, open the door and call for a mother daughter emergency meeting then I'm gonna need you little stank ass thought to hang around enough for the baby girl to get it out. It was gone. She said nevermind I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Then she turned to walk away and leave out of my room all dejected like she did something wrong. So now I gotta quit doing what I'm doing. I jump up to hug her and I am so sad. I don't have the information she wanted to share and she knows that she lost it, you know what I mean? To me, it is very different, when my mother has zero recollection, I've at least convinced myself that in those situations, there's no pain associated with her lack of memory. Zetty what day is it? Tuesday, it might be Saturday, but if she blurts out Tuesday, with joy, I'm not going to tell her she was wrong. We move on about today, but with what I'm describing in this episode, she understands that it's slipping through her fingertips and now I'm watching it. It's a double freakin knife going through my heart and my brain. One of the absolute worst occasions was when I was out of town. I was actually out of the country and Zetty called me. I was so elated. I'm actually getting a little giggly with butterflies in my stomach right now, recounting it because I knew she was calling me. How did you know it was her J smiles and not actually a caregiver or a friend calling for Zetty? Haha, I'm so happy you asked. Zetty had a GPS watch, a gizmo smartwatch, which allowed her to say call Jay and it called my cell phone. I have described this watch before in previous episodes, the device was created for children so that their guardians could keep track of them without them having a cell phone. It was extraordinarily useful for Zetty from early Alzheimer's through mid to early advanced. If early advanced, is a technical term, I hope you all understand what I mean by that. It was saved in my phone as mama gizmo which was a separate reference because in the movie Gremlins, Gizmo was a character from back in the 1980s and there was a way I would laugh and play with her that she would call me gizmo So that was another reason why I harken back to actually put that in the name, I digress. So when it popped up, I was like, ah, Zetty's calling me literally on her own because that's her watching and her phone and boom, boom, boom, let's do this thing. I pick up my cell phone, hey mama. JG its mama. Totally loved that. I loved when she said JG it's mama. You know why? Because that's what she said before she had Alzheimer's. Because remember this, for the lion's share of my life, we didn't have caller ID and we didn't have cell phones or none of that. And I was living all over the world sometimes renting a room out of a stranger's house or what have you. And my mother would have to say, JG it's mama or J It's mama because you know, anybody could be calling me. I was like, Whoa, she's in there, we about to do this thing. JG it's mama. Okay. I'm so sorry. I hope I'm not bothering you, but I really need to talk to you. Yes. I have something to tell you and it's, it's, it's, it's important. And I need you to do something and I I tried to do it myself, but I couldn't get everything finished and I'm sorry I couldn't get it finished baby but I need you to finish it and then we'll be okay. Is that okay? Yes mama of course yeah what are you? Yes please tell me. I need you to finish umm, I need you to finish umm, JG oh Lord help me god help me I need. Baby I'm sorry, nevermind, nevermind JG. Parenting Up family I could have thrown up because I couldn't even hug her. That time is burned into my soul because I couldn't even touch her to let her spirit feel my spirit that it's okay. I see you. I feel you, were connected. Your words don't matter. It was brutal. Trying to find the words on my end that may calm her down while also suppressing my disappointment and not hearing the rest of her story. Again, it was so rare, or these moments to occur, where Zetty struck out with this attempt to create and craft and cook up something for me. A task ,a thought, a fact, a memory or request, any of it was welcome to my ears. I despise nevermind. Nevermind is the N word for Alzheimer's. When I was a caregiver newbie, I was so confused and so fragile Icontemplated- huh Zetty decided not to tell me. Maybe nevermind is I no longer want JG to know. This bit of information is too heavy, is too personal, is too intimate, it's too much for my child so I got to keep it to myself. My mother was extraordinarily protective of me. There were things that happened in her first marriage, things that happened between Zetty and my daddy, Jocko that she just would not tell me. Jocko would tell me, her parents would tell me, her friends would tell me. And even when I asked her about it, years later, she would say I didn't want to worry with that, your job was to be a child. My mom didn't even want me to hear her fighting with my daddy or hear her fussing and crying with any boyfriend she ever had. Or hear her stressed out about work or money issues. Not really, really stressed like she didn't mind if I knew the value of $1 and that I needed to save and that I shouldn't go spending money because it was going to stress out the family budget. But that notion of exposing me to grown folk issuees, nah she went for that. It was so natural for me to default into okay mama is choosing to pack some things away for herself and not for me. But y'all I was in denial, Zetty wasn't trying to stop in the middle. Her Alzheimer's was actually increasing, progressing, spreading just that quickly. That in the blink of an eye a very definitive point could elude he. For me these kinds of things, the neverminds I have not been able to get used to it. It is not any easier. It does not hurt any less. It's a paper cut and none of the paper cuts have healed. As many years as I've been doing this ,a all in 10 toes down caregiver for Zetty and each and every effing time, I'm like, ah this sucks. Because I don't know what was on the other end of nevermind. What was behind the other door? Was it a pot of gold or a pile of shit? If byshit I mean, like an imaginary story was Zetty about to make up something like hey, it's a purple dinosaur outside, which would have just been funny in a dementia related nursery rhyme? I'll never know. I find myself grabbing at her fleeting thoughts, like it's a matter of national security. Oh oh mama catch it like a lightning bug, trying to make the bugstill light up, but it's a lost cause. I remind myself damn, what must it feel like to he on the inside grappling with losing her memory. Then I pretty much settle down and get ready for the next moment because that's what we do. We are caregivers and we give care. Since I don't know what she would have told me. I choose to error on the side of levity. i'm like huh, she probably would have said something like she just saw my daddy and he was about to drop off a steak sandwich. Or JG I forgot my purse at the store last night go pick it up. You know something very humorous, that doesn't matter that she forgot to tell me. Those intangible emotional paper cuts. Boom, battle through them! Okay, Parenting up family battle through them. Don't let them hold you down. Don't wallow in them. Feel them for a few minutes and let it go.


Do you have a comment about today's episode? Is there a topic that I've never covered that you want me to handle in a future episode? Cool, text a purple heart two plus +1-404-737-1449. Of course I'm gonna put that in the show notes.


The Snuggle Up- Number 1,watching your LO lose their train of thought. Lose the words in the middle of a sentence is very difficult. Take a deep breath, do all you can to avoid finishing the sentence for them. Give them a chance to find the word themselves.If they can't finish the sentence or the thought, consider saying it's okay or I understand rather than actually complete completing the thought for them. Because you don't know what they're trying to say, so throwing a word in there could create more confusion and be more frustrating for your LO. Number 2, If your ello has a cue, word like nevermind, which indicates that they feel defeated, and have quit trying to explain an internal thoughts or feelings, do your best not to let them see your disappointment. I don't really know what your best is, but try. Try not to cry or get eager or anxious or walk out of the room or raise your voice just stay even, it's not easy but try. Number 3,While it's probably not a great idea, to live every day and every moment expecting clear thoughts from your LO, be prepared for them to happen from time to time. And when they do, I strongly encourage you to respond in as natural a manner as possible. Respond to them the same way you would an individual who does not have Alzheimer's. If your LO feels as though you're making such a huge deal, and treating it like a miracle or high from heaven, and all of the universe, it could be overwhelming and it could feel disingenuous, even though they may not be able to articulate it. Give it all you can to not have them feel too much. Give it all you can for them to still feel as whole and as mature and as adult like as possible.


We keep the parenting of caregiving content coming on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. As well go to www.jsmilescomedy.com and sign up for parenting up newsletters. That's it for now. Thank you for listening. Please subscribe for continuous caregiving tips, tricks, trends. and truth. Pretty pretty please with sugar on top! Share and review it too! I'm a comedian, Alzheimer's is heavy, but we ain't gotta be.