To the Editor:
We recently attended the performance of “Mamma Mia!” at Stage Coach Players Theater in DeKalb. As season ticket holders, we have enjoyed productions at the theater for years. This performance was excellent! The entire production continues a strong reputation of quality performances at the theater.
Throughout an enjoyable experience at the theater, we appreciated the accommodations at the theater for older adults who deal with various physical challenges. My wife, Marge, is dealing with advancing stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Her cognitive skills are impaired. She has experienced aphasia, difficulty in using verbal communication. Aides and nurses are continually amazed at the nonverbal communication between us. After 54 years of marriage, we have perfected (as do many couples) nonverbal techniques of communicating. We are currently residents at Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center and use a transfer wheelchair to transport Marge to and from the theater and other community events.
Having used the convenience of the remote start feature on our car, I assisted Marge in getting into the passenger’s seat. While doing so, I mistakenly placed the key fob in the center console of the car. As I moved to the rear of the vehicle to open the hatch, I realized the car locked itself with Marge seated in the passenger seat. This is where the nonverbal challenges begin. After several attempts to get Marge to realize our predicament, I gave up trying to instruct her in unlocking the car door.
I then proceeded to call the nonemergency number for DeKalb police to ask assistance in gaining access to our car. Dispatch was most helpful in dispatching officer Elise Dusek, assisted by officer Trevor Burdick, to the scene. After several attempts, the officers were able to retrieve the key fob from the vehicle. All ended with us comfortably on our way home; a little later than planned, but none the worse.
This incident gave me reflection on the many resources we enjoy in this community, which make it a good quality of life for seniors who are coping with many life changes. We feel blessed to have the many adaptations to accommodate unforeseen challenges we face. Interim Police Chief John Petragallo can be very proud of the talent we have in the men and women who are at the ready to assist residents in such predicaments.
John and Marge Rey