A Bacon Story

" Bacon" by  cookbookman17,     via Flickr, Creative Commons

"Bacon" by cookbookman17, via Flickr, Creative Commons

Contributed by Jim Duchene. He and his wife are caregivers for his 95-year-old father. It's not right to argue with a person far enough along in the disease to be losing his grip on reality (or to argue seriously with anyone suffering from Alzheimer's—at any point), but Jim's father isn't there yet, apparently, and can still go along with the banter. Visit Jim's blog to read more of his caregiving stories.
 My Dad eats like a king. Yesterday morning, I watched as my wife served him his five-star breakfast. She served me next. "What's this?" I asked her. She didn’t exactly serve me cottage cheese and lettuce, but it was close.

"Talk to your doctor if you have a complaint," she told me. She treats me like a king, too, but in a different way. A way that includes less food....

"This bacon you served me isn’t any good," Dad said, as he chomped away. His distaste for the bacon hadn't slowed his consumption of it. "And it's getting stuck in my teeth." He picked up one of the strips between his thumb and forefinger. It was crisped to perfection. He inspected it like he was some kind of food scientist. "It's not the same."
"The same as what?" I asked.
"The same as before."
"Before what?"
"Before!" he said, his hands flying all around. "Before! The one you used to buy before." I was just giving him a hard time. My wife knew that, but she still arched an eyebrow in my direction.
"It's the same bacon," she tried telling my father.
"No, it's not."
"Yes, it is. It's the same brand, the same cut, the same everything."
"It’s not."
"Dad," she said, "it's the same bacon you've been eating for the last five years." I wanted to add for free but decided against it. I don't know why, but it's always the people who pay the least who complain the most.

“I don’t think so,” Dad said. “It doesn't taste as good, and besides, it's TOUGH. You must have bought the cheapest bacon you could find." My wife is usually very patient with my father, but he has given her halo quite a workout these last few years. She opened the kitchen trashcan and pulled out the packaging the bacon came in. She showed it to my father.
"See?" she told him. "It's the same bacon you ate yesterday."
"Just because you're showing me this wrapper doesn't mean this is the bacon I'm eating. You could have served the good bacon to your husband, and given me the cheap kind." He pointed to my plate, which was bereft of bacon.

"Dad," she pled, "it's the same bacon. Why would I lie to you?" My Dad's eyes started to bulge. They do that when he's at a loss for something to say. He looked from my wife, to me, and back to my wife.
"Are you calling my wife a liar, Dad?" I asked him, giving my wife a wink.
"Ahh... hmm..." He let out a long sigh. "Well, I don't like it," he said, finally. "Don't serve it to me anymore."

"Okay," my wife said, giving in. What would I have done? I would have gone out and bought the cheapest bacon I could find. But not my wife. She's a saint. She must have felt guilty because later that day she bought my father the best, most expensive sausage my money could buy. If Donald Trump eats sausage, this is the kind of sausage Donald Trump eats. The next morning my wife made my father a breakfast sandwich just the way he likes and served it to him using our finest china and fanciest silverware. It was a breakfast sandwich Wolfgang Puck could only dream of making.

"Sausage?" my father griped between bites. "Why didn't you use the bacon you gave me yesterday? It was pretty good." My wife looked at me, but I was already leaving the kitchen. Very quietly.