My grandma Josephine attends a weekly dance class where she gets to interact with other people who have neurodegenerative disorders. I was hoping she’d make friends with her classmates, but she says none of them are as nice to talk to as her new friend Glyphie — a friend no one else had ever seen. Many people with Alzheimer’s have hallucinations, so at first we all thought it was part of her condition.
“Grandma, where did you meet Glyphie?” I asked.
“She appeared in my living room one night,” she said.
“Can I meet Glyphie? Where is she now?”
She looked around the room, put her nose to the air, and closed her eyes. “She’s in here somewhere. Hiding, I think. Doesn’t really want to meet new people, dear. She’s shy.”
“All right. If she ever comes around, let me know. I’d like to introduce myself.” I gave Grandma a hug and told her I’d be back the next day.
Dad was convinced that Grandma was losing complete touch with reality. So he decided to move her into a home with other seniors. He hoped that if she socialized more, maybe the Glyphie thing would blow over.
Grandma felt betrayed and was upset about having to move. But fortunately, the Glyphie delusions stopped, at least for a while.
A month later, I got a call from Kentavius Sherwood, the manager of the nursing home. “We have a problem. Josephine has incited chaos among the residents.”
“My grandma? Are you sure?”
“Yes. The residents don’t want to participate in any planned activities. They stay in their messy rooms. They refuse assistance. I’m certain many of them have stopped bathing. Their rooms all have the same strange odor about them.”
“It’s a horrendous cheesy smell. Please, can you come in and talk to Josephine?”
So I drove over there. The whole place did smell weird. Grandma’s room was dark. There were small mounds of clothing and things all over the place.
“Grandma, why is your room like this?”