After recently reading an article written by Carol Larkin on the Alzheimer Reading Room website, I learned about Alzheimer patients and tunnel vision. She suggested making a narrow circle out of your thumb and forefinger, holding it up to your eye and taking a few steps. It was quite an enlightening exercise.
Then I got to thinking about Jerry. When I walk into the room he always pops up and walks toward me. Obviously, he recognizes me. But the tunnel vision thing explains a lot. As Jerry comes closer, his eyes direct straight ahead on his eye level. Since he is 6’4”, that means his gaze goes right past me to the back of the room. I usually place my hands on his cheeks and direct his eyes down to my eyes hoping to connect. Sometimes we connect, sometimes we don’t.
Then I got to thinking! You know I do that a lot! THINK! If I am right in his face...think of coming really close and looking into the end of a tunnel.....HE PROBABLY ONLY SEES MY EYEBALL! Eee gads! “Who’s eyeball is in my tunnel?” he must be asking. That’s also why he doesn’t see me when I’m sitting next to him and he’s staring straight ahead. There is no peripheral vision. It’s all making sense! Because if I get up and move about 4 feet out in front of him....he sees me. AND on a good day.....he knows me.
That explains why he doesn’t put a paint brush to paper on a table. He doesn’t see the paper. He doesn’t look down. He looks eye level. This is why he doesn’t maneuver steps well...especially steps that go DOWN. He doesn’t see the step! AND why he reacts to people as we walk down the hall from a distance....he sees them! But once he gets close and they react back...he doesn’t see them.
This is just too good to be true! I feel like I’ve struck gold! I’m so giddy that I’m jumping up and down. Oh...my knee...ouch!