Irritated and rushed, Debby bursts into the room of Mrs. Abbyton. Mrs. Abbyton has dementia and is still asleep, but as a result of Debby’s noise and her coldness, Mrs. Abbyton startles awake.
In the dimly-lit room, Mrs. Abbyton sees someone approaching her fast. Mrs. Abbyton’s amygdale switches on and yells “Danger! Danger!”.
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The flight mode is on, but since Mrs. Abbyton cannot run away, she shouts “Leave me alone! Go away!”. But Debby is late and behind schedule and wants to hurry up. She takes Mrs. Abbyton by the arm and tries to get her out of bed.
Now the fight mode has been activated: Mrs. Abbyton hits Debby! Furious, Debby leaves the room, slamming the door behind her.
During lunch, Debby tells her colleagues they need to watch out for Mrs. Abbyton, because she is violent. From now on, Debby’s colleagues approach Mrs. Abbyton with caution and anxiety.
Mrs. Abbyton senses the new attitude of the nursing staff (her empathy increases) and she does not respond well to it. She shows less cooperation and there are more violent incidents.
Within six months, Mrs. Abbyton does not speak anymore and she spends entire days in bed.
But Mrs. Abbyton is not violent. Mrs. Abbyton cannot help that her understanding and thinking do not function very well. She cannot help her amygdala taking over. She never asked for her dementia.
The cause of Mrs. Abbyton’s violence is Debby’s bad mood. Debby should have thought of this before she entered Mrs. Abbyton’s room:
– Mrs. Abbyton has dementia
– Her empathetic feelings are strong
– Her understanding and thinking functions poorly
– Therefore, I must be careful not to activate Miss Abbyton’s amygdala
A different start of the day
Debby stands in front of Mrs. Abbyton’s room. She is aware of her irritation and frustration caused by the fight with her boyfriend. With these emotions she cannot go in, she knows.
She takes a deep breath from her nose to her stomach, breathes out through her mouth and repeats this three times.
Now, with her emotions more in check, she gently knocks on the door and with a smile on her face slowly enters the room, softly saying, “Good morning, Mrs. Abbyton, it’s Debby”.
While Debby opens the curtains and prepares things in the bathroom, she hums a popular tune from Mrs. Abbyton’s childhood days. Slowly, Mrs. Abbyton awakens, she recognizes the song and it brings back memories.
Softly she starts singing the song and senses Debby’s smile from the heart, she feels good and safe.
Debby reaches out her hands and automatically Mrs. Abbyton takes them. While they both sing and hum together, the morning ritual begins without problem and runs virtually automatically in perfect harmony.
While she is being dressed, Mrs. Abbyton asks if her son has already gone to school. Debby does not say, “Your son is already married and has children of his own,” neither does she lie by saying her son has just gone to school.
Instead, Debby asks, “Is he doing well in school?”. Instantly, Mrs. Abbyton starts talking about how her son is doing in school.
Still discussing school stories, they walk to the living room together, where Debby begins folding napkins and, without asking, gives Mrs. Abbyton a pile of napkins.
Normally, Miss Abbyton does not dare to do things, as she knows, deep down inside, she makes mistakes and does things wrong. But now she starts, nearly automatically, folding the napkins, since she senses that Debby does not mind her making mistakes.
What a liberating feeling to be allowed to do things without feeling the pressure to do well and without the fear of making mistakes.
What a wonderful feeling to be needed again. After a lifetime of working and caring for her husband and children, Mrs. Abbyton has missed that feeling.
What a wonderful girl this is, she must introduce her to her son. So instead of ending up not speaking and spending entire days in bed, Mrs. Abbyton helps the nursing staff and is one of the happymakers in the house.