Alzheimer's Bingo

Alzheimer's Bingo

While visiting Mom today I decided to join the other Alzheimer’s residents for a game of Bingo. It went something like this:

Bingo Caller: B9.

Gertrude: Did you say D9?

Other players start frantically looking for D9 on their cards.

Mabel: No, she said B9.

Gertrude: (sounding garbled): What???

Mabel: (Shouting) B9! B9!

Bingo Caller: Gertie, did you put your hearing aids in your mouth again?

Gertrude (still garbled): Huh??

Bingo Caller: Spit them out, please.

Mabel: Shit them out? That could take days!

Bingo Caller: sigh...

Mom: What are we doing?

Me: Playing Bingo.

Amy, the aide, sticks her hand out and Gertie obediently spits out the hearing aids. Amy dries them with a towel and puts them back in Gertie’s ears.

All the ladies look around in confusion wondering what is holding up the game.

Bingo Caller: Ok, next number is N43.

Mabel points at Margaret's card, rolls her eyes and announces in a superior tone: You missed one! Put a jelly bean on N45!

Margaret: (looking around) What? Where’s the smelly teen?

Mabel: I said jelly bean!

Bingo Caller: We haven't called N45.

Mabel (looking deflated): Oh.

Mom: What are we doing?

Me: Playing Bingo.

Mom: I have to go to the bathroom.

Me: You just went 15 minutes ago. Are you sure you need to go?

Mom: Yes.

I take mom to the bathroom. She sits on the toilet for a full five minutes, the sound of crickets chirping in the background.

Mom: I think I'm done.

We return to the Bingo table where we discover we have only missed one number.

Mom: What are we doing?

Me: Playing bingo.

An excruciating 40 minutes pass by while more numbers are called and confusion escalates.

Finally (Hallelujah!) Mom has a Bingo.

Me: You have a "Bingo".

Mom: What?

Me: Say Bingo.

Mom: What do I say?

Me: Bingo.

Mom: I should say Bingo?

Bingo Caller: Do you have a Bingo, Flo?

Mom (looking at me): Do I have a Bingo?

Me: Yes.

Mom: I have to go to the bathroom.


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