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The Hitchcock Mystery



One has choices when a loved one has Dementia. Some people just say “they are crazy” and throw up their hands in dismay. Others (like me), know that they are not crazy, but confused. It is like the connect-the-dots game, where the numbers have been put in the wrong places and the picture comes out scrambled. Not all the time… but sometimes. One barely knows where to start when a loved one is stressed, frightened and rambling. This often happens when they awaken from a distressing dream and cannot come into the present in order to separate themselves from the fears which they were experiencing when asleep.

It was our aide’s day off today and she arranged for a substitute care-giver to cover her 24 hours away. We like this one. She is very willing to accommodate and is happy to communicate with Hubby no matter what the time, day or night.

It was 7 AM and I was ensconced under my fluffy pink blanket that gives me so much pleasure. I heard the booming sound of Hubby’s voice, pulled the covers over my head and waited to see if it would go away. It did not. It rarely does. When the volume escalates, I know full-well that my presence is required. A “fill-in” aide can become upset if Hubby cannot calm down.

“They changed the decks! Don’t pay them!” he kept repeating.

“They cheated…what will I do?” he pleaded.

I will take care of it… don’t worry. I stroked his head to try to calm him down.

“They switched the Hitchcocks!”

He kept repeating this phrase. Our aide had been telling him that she did not know what he was talking about. That was a big mistake. Never admit that we are that dumb! Hubby then looks down on us and gets angry.

“Don’t pay them!” He commands.

No problem, I will not give them anything.

I console him that all is not lost and ask the aide if she remembered to give Hubby his calming medication the moment he woke up. The medication takes about an hour to relax him, and we were thirty minutes “in…and counting.”

Hubby knows that if I say I will not pay someone who cheated him, that I can be trusted. My word is my bond. Especially at moments like these! I kept stroking his head gently and at a propitious moment asked if he would mind if I went back to sleep.

Later in the day, the aide asked me “What are Hitchcocks”? On the one hand, it really did not matter, but I was curious too. I went to Mr. Google and put in Hitchcock decks, then Hitchcock playing cards, and low and behold there is such a thing. It is only reasonable to assume, not that Hubby pulled a word out of the air, but that he pulled it out of his past. His past is much further away than mine, as he is twenty years older. He is forty years older than the aide who is from the Philippines, so his frame of reference would be absolutely beyond the periphery of her knowledge.

A quick bit of research revealed that Alfred Hitchcock was born in 1899 in London. That was 28 years before Hubby. By the time my husband would have been playing cards for real money Hitchcock would have been a tremendous success and the pride of the United Kingdom.

Shock of shocks, there actually are Hitchcock playing cards! They are a real deck which one can use to play any normal card game. Each card has a photograph from one of the more than fifty feature films of that Hitchcock created as either director, producer or screenwriter.

After both Hubby and I went back to sleep and reunited hours later, refreshed, I asked Hubby if he knew what “Hitchcock cards” are. He looked at me like I had just stepped out of a spaceship, no clue what the “hell” I was talking about. FYI: I did try to change the world “hell” to “heck” but it looked ridiculous. This is my diary… I can use any word I want!

It is a good day. we are both well rested, and I have discovered that there is still much to be learned from Hubby if I pay very close attention!

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Barbara Diamond is a journalist living in Jerusalem, Israel. She has been a political activist on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people for over fifty years, having participated in political and humanitarian missions to Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, China, and Europe to meet with world leaders on matters of concern. She has written over 100 articles for the Jerusalem Post and on her blog at The Times of Israel, hosted an English radio talk show in Jerusalem and continues mentoring others to pass on the torch of responsibility. You can reach her at [email protected] and visit her site at