Dementia has its own code or language, and you have to learn to decipher it, or you are always in the dark about what's going on. Of course, I'd likely be clueless anyway because it's so difficult to learn.
This is a typical dementia-speak exchange that occurred at a Chinese restaurant.
Me: Mom, what would you like for dinner?
Mom: Nothing. I'm not hungry.
Me: Well, why don't you order a little something anyway, because maybe you'll be hungry when the food comes.
Mom: No, I'm not hungry.
The food arrives.
Me: Mom, would you like some of this?
Mom: No, I'm not hungry. I don't want anything.
Mom: Why can't I have something to eat? We're at dinner.
Me: What would you like to ear?
Me: Just rice?
Me: That's boring. Why don't you at least order chow mein or something?
Mom: No. I know what I want. I want rice.
I order rice. The rice arrives. Mom takes a bite.
Mom to my husband: Would you like some rice?
Husband: Oh, no thanks, I have walnut shrimp.
Mom to me: Want some rice?
Me: No, thanks, I have beef chow fun.
Mom to my son, getting upset: Do you want my rice?
Me: Mom, don't you want your rice?
Mom: No, I want what you're eating. Why can't I have good food for dinner? Why will you only buy me rice?
Total fail. No communication occurred until it was almost too late, and I don't want Adult Protective Services to have to come translate for me.
Now I know that "My teeth hurt" means she wants to go to the dentist for a cleaning, "This is for the baby" means she wants to barter some item she got for my granddaughter for something else she wants, and "I want to go for a drive" means I am spending my day taking her shopping.
I wonder if someday my mastery of this new language will qualify me for service with the CIA.