Sandy Turner: Does anyone know what day it is?

The Examiner
Sandy Turner

I couldn’t remember what day it was. It happens more often when there’s a holiday and I get off-kilter from the daily routine. The harder I tried to sort it out, the more confused I got, and then paranoia set in.

I convinced myself dementia was looming ahead. Once I had it all figured out, while making a cup of coffee, as I was about to put dish soap in my drink, instead of powdered creamer, I really started freaking out as my mind clouded over. This round of confusion was more than likely from hyperventilating as the countdown to Christmas is anything but merry, according to the media.

As I learned more about dementia, I understood Dad’s need for repetitious daily tasks, which seemed to help calm him down. At one point, I nicknamed him Edward Scissorhands as he loved to sit and cut empty boxes into small square pieces. He claimed it was for the trash man, because he said they’d charge more if the trash bag was bulky.

I can’t take the credit for discovering Dad’s obsession with cutting up trash, although the signs were there. Over the course of several months he had scoured the house looking for scissors and every day there would be another pair lined up on the table.

At one point, there were 10 pairs of scissors, in every size and shape imaginable. He even found a pair of mom’s pinking shears, although it only took a couple boxes for him to figure out they were too hard to use, even though the squares did look fancy.

He didn’t get to have scissors in the nursing home, but they kept him busy with folding laundry, which was also one of his favorites, when it comes to busy-work. He’d often ask me how on earth we’d be going through so many towels, when it’s just the two of us, while we sat at the dining room table in the nursing home. I loved the days he could focus enough to tell me he missed me, even though by the time we moved him into a nursing home, most times he didn’t have a clue who I was.

Continuing with trying to get a cup of coffee, I opened the drawer for a spoon, and saw four pairs of scissors, all neatly lined up. I immediately looked at the trash to make sure the empty boxes I had just put in there weren’t cut up. They were still intact, although I considered cutting them to pieces, as maybe Dad was on to something when it comes to clearing the mind.

Even though I’m busier than ever with my work, I feel the need to do something mindless, and nowadays it’s nearly impossible to turn on the radio or TV without being slammed with negativity.

Gather up your Amazon boxes people, sharpen your scissors and get ready, as the thought police want to convince us the holiday season will be dark and dreary.

I need another cup of coffee.

– Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at